Our Places

I’ve sat down to write this more than once over the past couple of months. I recently stumbled upon Why You Need a Third Place (And How to Find One) by Jordan Harbinger. It was written almost one year ago (8/22/19), which was particularly interesting to consider given what the past five months have looked like. I found myself resonating with just about every single sentence. It also captured what kept coming up in so many conversations that I had been having, or had been hearing on many podcasts, during workshops / virtual events and reading in other more recent articles.

“Your first place is your home, a private and domestic space. Your second place is your work, a structured social experience and where you likely spend most of your time. Your third place is somewhere you can connect with others, share your thoughts and dreams, and have fun.” – Jordan Harbinger

Earlier this year, for a lot of people, the first, second and most likely their third place merged into one overnight.

“No matter how much you love your job or your home life, you need a place to get away from work and you need somewhere other than your home to hang out. And if you work from home or have babies or young children, a third place can be the only thing that gets you out of the house.” – Jordan Harbinger

I’ve worked from home since I moved to Rhode Island in November 2016. Which meant I was used to having my first and second place have the same setting. There’s a number of pros and cons to working from home, but one things for certain, I always struggled with turning it off.

After having Braylon in March 2018, I had no choice to at least get a little better at this. Almost two and half years later, I think I’m getting there 🙂 Before March 2018, whether my third place was heading to the Pure Barre studio to either take or teach class or connecting with a friend over food and drinks at a favorite restaurant it was a bit easier to make this a priority.

In addition to not being great at turning off work, I wasn’t very good at asking for help or taking time for myself. Ironically, right around the time I felt like I was getting better at this, quarantine began. Wait, no! I’ve already been in quarantine. Kidding. Sort of.

In October 2010, I moved to Charleston, SC where I knew no one. Obviously, that’s a normal thing to do, and had moved to Charlotte, NC five years before without knowing anyone. That had felt a little less scary (at least that’s what I am telling myself now) since it was for college and meeting new people felt more natural and a part of the experience.

A few months after moving there, I discovered Daniel Island Hip Hop, and fell in love after my first class. It not only provided me with all the mental and physical benefits of exercise, but it was SO fun and the people there were beyond amazing.

I dug up some old Facebook messages that I had with the founder, and then started realizing how intense I’ve been over the years when I’ve found things that I like. Whether it was a restaurant, fitness class or a product, I have no problem telling a person or a company how much I love it even if I sound borderline obsessed.

One message in particular stood out to me. It was June 5, 2011 – one week after losing my sister.

“I just wanted to thank you for thinking of me. This has definitely been one very long and difficult week. I am still in Rhode Island and will eventually be heading back to Charlotte with my parents before returning to Charleston. I also want you to know how much you and your class have made an impact on my life. Moving to Charleston in October was a very sporadic decision and definitely one that I do not regret. However, with my job, almost every waking hour was devoted to that. Finding DIHH truly brought so much joy into my life. The energy of the class, from you and everyone else is so inspiring and uplifting. Growing up, dance was one of the biggest parts of my life. In part of my sister’s Eulogy that I wrote, I eluded to the fact of when she quit both dance and piano lessons because she would rather make up her own dances and write her own songs — that was just like my sister to be set on paving her own way and not having to conform to someone else’s ideas. I told my sister so much about DIHH and she was so excited to come to a class with me when she was going to be able to visit me. I plan on creating a scholarship in her name and hopefully, in the future, other programs that will allow children and teens to have more opportunities for music and art programs because that remains my passion and was one of hers as well. With all of this being said, I just want to thank you once again for inspiring so many people and providing a release from this crazy hectic world and allowing people to express themselves while bettering themselves both mentally and physically. I hope to stay living in Charleston – right now, I am just taking one day at a time and seeing what happens.”

Returning to Charleston, and getting back to class, was just as important, if not more important, than going to therapy. While I did that for a bit, and found that very helpful, for whatever reason that I don’t fully recall, eventually stopped going.

Thousands of fitness and wellness spaces have closed temporarily, indefinitely or permanently over the past few months. Many other “third spaces” whether a restaurant, bar, cafe, park or church, even if open, are operating much different and are still at risk of not surviving.

Support your local small businesses as much as you can.

I read an article in National Geographic this morning that said, “COVID-19 shutdowns have pounded Black-owned businesses particularly hard. Research at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that 41 percent of Black-owned businesses—some 440,000 enterprises—have been shuttered by COVID-19, compared to just 17 percent of white-owned businesses.”

In another article, COVID-19’s effect on minority-owned small businesses in the United States:

“The COVID-19 crisis is affecting small businesses across the board. The 1.1 million minority-owned small businesses with employees in America are an essential job source, employing more than 8.7 million workers and annually generating more than $1 trillion in economic output. Women own nearly 300,000 of them, employing 2.4 million workers.

The crisis could disproportionately affect minority-owned small businesses for two critical reasons: they tend to face underlying issues that make it harder to run and scale successfully, and they are more likely to be concentrated in the industries most immediately affected by the pandemic.”

As much as I can, I’ve been trying to use as much time as I can to educate myself, become a better person and have a positive impact on the lives of others. I understand my privilege and want to use it in the best way possible. I also know that if I don’t make the time to take care of myself, that I am not setting myself up to be able to do this.

Last month, the top 5 global concerns were Coronavirus, Unemployment, Poverty & Social Inequality, Financial/Political Corruption and Crime & Violence. On any given day, I open my computer or an app on my phone to be overwhelmed by everything that is going on. I see so many people being too quick to react, jumping to conclusions and not being open to change. On the contrary, I’ve seen people come together, rise to the occasion and use their voice in truly inspiring ways.

Phew. This is all over the place. But, when is it not? Guess that’s just how my brain works especially when I have a 2 year old crawling on me and playing with his new dinosaur to car transformer from his Great Granny.

Today would be a great day to consider doing one of the following (in no particular order):

  • Sign up for The Ally Nudge with Dr. Akilah Cadet. “For one month, this program will help you continue doing the work to be an ally to the Black community, all via text.” It starts tomorrow, 8/16, and if you miss signing up before tomorrow, not to worry, it will just start the following Sunday! Dr. Cadet provides resources and information on the language of anti-racism, diversity in the workplace, racism in education, voter suppression, talking BLM with non-supporters, COVID disparities, forms of protest and how to empower future generations.
  • July 30th was End Human Trafficking Day. Save the Children has an informative, and heartbreaking post here.
  • Support your local (or not local) small businesses if you want to see them on the other side.
  • Recommend something to me! I’m always ALWAYS open to try new things, be introduced to new ideas, tune into a podcast, support a cause… you name it!
  • Take some time for you, especially if you haven’t in a while.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s