Looking Back

Looking Back

Grandma Lilly

Poem: Salt by Nayyirah Waheed


Had I knew how to express myself, I would’ve written this ten years ago. Over time, it gets easier to ignore the past and go on forgetting as life becomes more complex and the past more cloudy. For the better part of these last few years, I’ve only been partially myself as a larger part of me is left “seeking.” 

Family, there’s no one story I can put into words that will offer solace or eradication for our time apart. You see, I’ve walked out of this place of darkness long ago. Not because I didn’t love you all or not because I’d forgotten— but because I was trying to fill holes. Holes of loss, defeat, and disappointment for all of our imperfections. 

If you feel I’ve been distant, this is why: 

I have one full journal that I filled for over 365 days with longing tears and beautiful prose, that which never brought my aunt Missy back. I know, she was your mom, your sister, your aunt, your friend but for me, she was my person. I was 16 years old and she was 50. There was nothing in me that didn’t feel I had lost the biggest part of my heart after her fatal car crash. 

“If I part, my heart will live through you. If I part my art will live through you.  

Ma and Missy - Memories

Aunt Missy (left,) and Jewels (right.)

Since, I have not met a single soul that set a room ablaze the way you were able to. Even in my young age, I recognized the power of beauty and adornment through you. I wanted to be you, and I watched you as you did everything in your power to escape reality: alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, all of it too dull to numb your fire. You were not my mom, therefore not responsible for me.

With an undeniable presence that my shy intentions could never re-enact— I knew no other way to memorialize Missy than to channel her style. As I lost control in my grief, I gained control in my self-expression. She used to paint, and create jewelry, and laugh and love, and lived bigger than the world was ready. Lost too soon, but her inspiration of fearlessness and adornment brings me here today. 

In a mistaken turn of events, her edges helped shape my perfections. I started studying art, moved to New York, graduated from 2 prestigious art schools, traveled, worked in my field and made great friends. I’ve lost so many amazing family members since. All, gone too soon with their legacies in the hands of the younger generation. 

Family Jewels

The birth of my new brand speaks to the love that I never quite know how to express for my beautiful family and the gathering of my material possessions as memories for every walk I’ve walked and have been unable to share with my loved ones. The ones that are still there, still living in the loss and seeking hope. The ones I haven’t had a chance to reach back to because I was lost myself. This is for all of you. 

As I have set to charter these new waters, my spirit keeps telling me that every rose has its thorns. A stark and disruptive contrast to one another. That’s my been my natural path and now it will be my vision. For a while, I’ve been loving the journey yet misusing the guide. I’ve hidden from my past and dug myself a deeper hole as such. 

Adore // Adorn will identify the ancestral and historical references that ignite in my creative realm. It will ignite a representation of the strong, fearless, feminine nature that raised me from my single mother. My obstacles are an opportunity for innovation. Please enjoy my new accessories line. Straight from the heart, no filter. 

"These places of possibility within ourselves are dark because they are ancient and hidden; they have survived and grown strong through darkness. Within these deep places, each one of us holds an incredible reserve of creativity and power, of unexamined and unrecorded emotion and feeling. The woman's place of power within each of us is neither white nor surface; it is dark, it is ancient, and it is deep. And where that language does not yet exist, it is our poetry which helps to fashion it."

 - Audre Lourde