OK, ladies. I have to be honest, I have started and trashed this blog five times. It's not that I didn't know what I wanted to say, but I wanted to make sure I said it in just the right way. I wanted it to be perfect. Then I decided, part of what stresses us is, we think that we have to be perfect all the time. So, I decided I'm going to do my best and speak from the heart, and that will be more than enough… so here goes.
Welcome to Our Truths!!! We are thrilled you are here!
(*insert sigh of relief because the first paragraph is done!)
So here's the part that I struggle to put into words: Our Truths is for every Black woman who:
...has ever walked into a room and been the "only."
...has been the unofficial representative for the entire population of Black women, AND THEN gets criticized for stating her truth.
...had an idea stolen, and had to watch someone else pass it off as their own.
...has been called angry, loud, intimidating, or emotional, too independent, too dependent, unattractive, too dark, or too light.
...has been told they have bad hair, or that they shouldn't wear weaves.
...has been told they need to get married and/or have babies.
At the same time, Our Truths is also for every Black woman who is working, striving, achieving, graduating, getting hired, getting promoted, buying a home, saving, traveling, loving herself, loving her tribe, starting a business, raising a family, and/or living life on her own terms.
Long story short… it's for all of us.
That answers the "who," and the website tells you the "what" (what we are, what we do, etc.), but I want you to hear the "why." More importantly, you need to know MY why.
Five years ago, starting this organization was not on my radar. I was focused on working, taking care of my family, enjoying my friends, etc. Then, for the first time, I saw myself as vulnerable. Don't get me wrong, I was acutely aware of the challenges of living in this world as an American Black woman. Still, I also accepted the norm that many of us accept, I thought I could just "figure it out," as I went along. I don't want to say I was arrogant, but I had what I would call an unnatural self-confidence that led me to believe I had superpowers. I thought I possessed the ability to take care of everything and everyone, no matter what. I bought into the Superwoman narrative hook, line, and sinker. Then something happened. I went on vacation.
I know, I know. You were expecting something different there, but that is precisely what happened. But it wasn't just any vacation. I went on my first all-girls trip. I've always had a close circle of friends, but that circle has always been very diverse and very much co-ed. I must admit, when my friend originally suggested that eight women go on this trip, I thought, "That's a lot of estrogen at one time!" But knowing how great all these ladies were and how much fun we always had, I decided to try it. Our first "Black Girls' Magic Weekend", and what happened while we were there, was nothing short of magical. I spent four days and three nights with some of the smartest, funniest, kindest, most supportive women. We laughed, cried, planned, and connected. We strategized and relaxed, and left feeling ready to take on the world, with a strong support system in place. I had no idea how powerful that weekend would be. I didn't know how much I needed that, and I doubt they knew how much that experience meant to me.
I've often bragged about how blessed I am to have the absolute best friends in the world, but that weekend I realized how their support and love made me better. I also realized how much it meant to be able to start a conversation in the middle! I didn’t have to give the back story of why being called "angry" bothered me, or why being complimented on my "speaking ability" annoyed me. Being understood made a huge difference, and I wanted everyone to feel that. Little did I know, the seed for Our Truths was planted that weekend. As I think back, I realize I have been blessed with an enormous level of support and love throughout my life, and it is my prayer that Our Truths will pass that blessing on to each of you. We will add to your circle and hopefully give you the same feeling I had that weekend. This is MY why!
Last but certainly not least, I must mention some of the amazing women who have made me who I am, and pushed me to be more than I ever thought I could be! This is dedicated to: Stephanie, Brendalyn, Nia, Christiana, Piia, Kinika, Kimberly (creator of our Black Girls' Magic Weekend), Mary, Monica, Arion, Camille, Shavonne, Shetal, Laini, Suzanne, Samantha, Ursula, LaTisha, Donna, Tonya, Jaquessa, Megan, LaRae, Brandi, Michelle, Ebony, Tracey, Kenisha, and LoLita. Special shout-out to Julian, Marcus, Reggie, Al, George, Brandon and Kenneth, who put up with a lot of our shenanigans and love us no matter what!
This organization is my thank you to all of them and my gift to all of you! Let’s work together to make our lives what we want them to be!
Author and Our Truths founder, Christy Pruitt-Haynes combined her 20 years of leadership in organizations including The Memphis Grizzlies, MTV Networks and Infiniti with an education in Human Resources and Organizational Development to create Christy Pruitt-Haynes Consulting and change the professional landscape for women and people of color while helping organizations achieve excellence. This TEDx talk giving executive, wife, mother, aunt, daughter, sister and friend loves travel, laughing uncontrollably and losing herself in great music.
Theme song: I was here by Beyoncé
Proudest moments: The birth of my daughter Christiana, niece Nia and organization Our Truths