I’M BACK HOME!
Honestly, I never thought I would be returning to these pages. It’s been a long journey to get here, but I’m home again. I’ve been humming “I’m Coming Home” by Diddy and Dirty Money featuring Skylar Grey all week.
I’m going to attempt to give you the condensed version of said journey.
A little background on Ann Marie and writing
I’ve always been writing. It’s been a passion of mine since I was a kid. I read books voraciously, and I journaled like it was going out of style. As I got older, I wrote for school newspapers, record label newsletters and national magazines. I read Maya Angelou, bell hooks, Alice Walker, Sista Soulja, Eric Jerome Dickey, Terry McMillian, Word Up, Word Magazine, YSB, Vibe, Right On, Sister 2 Sister, Vinyl Magazine, Source Magazine, Essence, Ebony, XXL, Jet, Hype Hair, Honey (and I know I’m forgetting plenty more). My magazine subscription game was sick! I sopped them all up. So one day, I decided to try my hand at blogging.
While in NYC, I was an astute student during the day and a road warrior during the night. I attended events and networked almost from Monday to Friday. My Metrocard was on fire, and I sometimes arrived home with the sunrise.
I started in the ‘glory’ days when Blogger and LiveJournal were behemoths in the blogosphere. Later, I decided to take a class about marketing and blogging while attending NYU. My teacher was a writer at Time Magazine, a techie guy, spritely, and excited about what the internet had to offer. He challenged the class to create a blog on WordPress about something they loved. Or on a topic that we could use as a foundation and ultimately fly solo with.
That was so easy for me. I was already a published music and culture journalist, so I ran with that. Let me tell you that I’ve been sprinting ever since. While in NYC, I was an astute student during the day and a road warrior during the night. I attended events and networked almost from Monday to Friday. My Metrocard was on fire, and I sometimes arrived home with the sunrise. The number of artists I’ve met or interviewed along my journey is plenty—I smile remembering the ones I decorated my walls with as a kid or read about in between the pages of my favourite magazines, I was in awe of the writers who supported me and that I’ve looked up to from time and searched out their pieces in popular publications growing up, those who knew of me when I approached them to introduce myself (that still freaks me out to this day) or read my blog beforehand (you just never know who’s watching), the Black blogging communities and OGs that were forever linked and our crazy meetups (thanks to the original Twitter gang pre-Black Twitter), the number of opportunities that this little blog of mine has provided: hosting and moderating gigs, panel appearances, a radio show, brand sponsorship, podcast guest invites, event invites, writing opps, event creation—and then poof, it all went cold.
But I’m sure it’s not for the reasons you think.
Motherhood and healing
The Gods decided on making your girl a mama! I had my pride and joy, my little tornado Z. While the nine months carrying him were glorious, the healing was a rocky road. I almost lost my life to postpartum preeclampsia (remember, I wrote about a slice of my experience for Today’s Parent), had a few surgeries, struggled with postpartum depression, dealt with weight gain and had to get reacquainted with speaking and things making sense again because both my speech and thought process were altered. I am a writer at heart with a business focused on writing and editing. I was terrified and lived in the uncertainty of ‘what if’ for a very long time. I even stopped playing music in my house.
Everything went silent.
I remember stepping out for two things:
1) I was invited to a Black Panther premiere and snuck in quietly to see it.
2) And a little after that, I worked social media at an event for a dear friend, but I had to muster up a lot of energy for it.
I did try to return to blogging, but it just didn’t feel right. I actually felt overwhelmed. After that, I was done. I basically lost my zest for anything, simply because all of the energy that I did harbour was only enough to take care of myself and my son. There is so much more to share. I’m working on the book, I swear!
Here and now, I’m back where it all started
Fast forward to the present time and truly, I have to thank my ByBlacks.com fam for providing an opportunity for me to step forward into my light again. I had thought that my creative being was nowhere to be found. Now looking back, maybe I just needed the push to find myself again. Feels great to say that I’m back, it has a nice ring to it. It took almost six years, but I can now say that I finally feel close to the amc I used to know— but with a few tweaks and some grey hairs, of course.
I’ve been out for the past couple of years getting reacquainted with the scene, meeting people, and seeing many folks that I haven’t seen in years. And that’s just in Toronto (New York, I’m coming for you soon!). I was asked time and again, ‘Where have you been? When are you doing another podcast? Where is your top ten list? Will you start your blog or another again?’ The latter question kept on coming up via email, Facebook or when chatting with people. Yes, I’ve surely noticed a pattern. Trust me, I had no idea y’all were checking for me like that—and I thank you. So with all that said, here I am, back writing on these pages for you and no lie, for myself too.
I almost lost my life to postpartum preeclampsia, had a few surgeries, struggled with postpartum depression, and had to get reacquainted with speaking and things making sense again, because my speech and thought process were altered.
In this round, I’ll be writing about culture, movies, television, theatre, festivals, and music. You’ll also notice that I have a new event picks calendar where I will be sharing my favourite events around town. As always, it’s about the culture, for the culture, from my perspective. Listen. Like I stated in socials, I will not be posting every day because, in the illustrious words of THE Keke Palmer, “I’m a mutha.” But I do promise to get into some type of rhythm soon. Please bear with me. Also, I no longer have that 30-year-old stamina as I did in NYC (HA!), so you know the deal! But I look forward to sharing my adventures and thoughts with you as I go.
Thanks for coming along for the ride. I’m back home to stay. If you ever want to get in touch, you can do so here.
Let’s do this!
Until next time,