The first time I ever visited Atlanta was back in 1998. I rode along on the drive from New Orleans with some dude I spent far too long dating to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with his mother in Decatur. I still recall the brilliance of the Fall colors along the 75. I likened the rolling terrain of this southern city to the emerald hills I loved in the San Francisco Bay Area. That trip, we only saw his mom’s house and The friggin’ Varsity. I was, obviously, underwhelmed. I made a promise then that I’d be back to experience the City of Atlanta on my own terms one day.
Eleven years later, I made Atlanta my home…but even that experience was again through the lens of another. Though both places are amazing, there’s only so many times a person can eat at Surin of Thailand or Friday at MJQ. I smashed the lens on those glasses last year.
Admittedly when my Atlanta-based marriage ended, I was scared. I was no longer a slim, trim carefree college co-ed; I was a new mother who’d spent the last three years of her adult life birthing babies, staring at a computer screen, collecting body fat and turning more and more into a hermit. Coming out of 2018, I hardly recognized myself. But in February of 2019, though I was unsure of what the future would hold as a single mom, I remembered who TF I was—as well as the promise I’d made to explore this City in a Forest on my own terms. And I got excited, Y’all. Hence, I took full advantage of the unique pleasures of co-parenting and foraged out into the great wild that is Atlanta. Here’s what I learned:
ATLANTA IS AWESOME.
Admittedly, living in this center of Black excellence, civil rights history and southern culture can be challenging at times because (very much like the rest of the U.S.) Atlanta has had a lot of difficulty shaking its slavery roots. BUT…
Every day I spend in Atlanta as #Boysmomma, solo-rolling, freedom-fighting, resto-hopping, art-loving, concert-going, booty-shaking, roller-skating, trail-hiking, history-addicted, my Black is Beautiful Nikki, I am reminded of why Atlanta is synonymous with BLACK. Seriously, Y’all. It’s like living in a never-ending family reunion complete with all the best music to line dance to; all the best soul food to both bring on and kick the ITIS; and all the OGs to sit and chat with about how far we’ve come and how far we still need to go.
So this Black History Month, I want to talk about the past, present and future of Black culture, development and power right here in Atlanta, Georgia. And I’ll sprinkle in a little personal flavor too…because honestly, I’m now Atlanta and Atlanta is now me.
So tune in tomorrow for the first post. One.