Evolution

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photography // Coco Dandridge
creative direction // Kiah McBride

 
 

IN HIGH SCHOOL THEY CALLED ME A HOE.

My body count wasn’t high, my self-esteem was just low. I sacrificed position for temporary pleasure, my reputation tarnished as my heart got colder, and my light grew dimmer.

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I was looking for something to satisfy parts of me that were awakened too soon to understand, and too immature to protect. New girl, new city. I fell for pretty smiles, cool demeanors and intellect, and as boys tend to do they took advantage of that shit. Many shouted lies in public then whispered sweet words in private. They begged for a taste of what they thought others would get, and wanted to appear cool at my expense. Silly rabbits, I never could respect little boys who lied on their dicks.

Chatty patties that never stood a chance played their position between friends. Mask off, mask on—they smiled in my face then wondered why I covered up when they came around. I knew they would go back and slander my name for their own gain; I’ve never respected boys who were thirsty for fame. 

I sipped a little too much, and moved a little too reckless, leaving a path of self-destruction then attempted to pick up the pieces when another didn’t master discretion. Zane books taught me the art of sex, but failed to educate me on the consequences. 

Had I waited until college I would’ve been deemed free—sexually liberated. Instead, I found myself gasping for air, the weight of poor decisions crushing me. My lungs collapsed, I could hardly breathe. So many nights were spent drowning in my own tears.

I needed a change.

And being one who never showed weakness, I picked myself up, and strutted out of there with my held my head high. To where? I didn’t know. But I knew I had to move towards something greater than who I would become if I were to settle for less than who I was destined to be.

IN COLLEGE THEY CALLED ME A BITCH.

I never thought that I was better than the next, I just looked in the mirror and didn’t like who I was, so I began to transform into the woman I would one day be. I skipped spending the night in random dorm rooms and found fulfillment in focusing on my career and diving deeper into my inner being. Still, there was a part of me I couldn’t completely suppress. I still craved the attention of another. So I teased a little. I knew what they liked.

But something changed in me. In their eyes I read what they wanted. Our tongues danced over L-words but I quickly realized we weren’t speaking the same language. So I left many blue, or better yet, I ignored them altogether. I wanted something deeper, something more. Not something that would fade from memory over time. And the more I recognized my worth, the more they began feeling some type of way. Bitch.

And then I found love. First in him, then in Him. He would be the last one to penetrate the depths of me, and HE would remind me who I really was. That bitch.

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NOW THEY CALL ME A QUEEN.

The road to redemption began with accountability. A lot of people talk about wanting to be the best—to master self-love—but few are willing to work for it.  But I scratched, I clawed, I dug deep and found the roots of my pain. I stopped pointing fingers and started to ask myself the hard questions. The ones that were just a little too uncomfortable; the ones that most avoid. To become who I am I had to let go of the fantasy of who I wanted to be. I embraced the dark parts and in the shadows I transformed—so quietly, so subtly, every piece of me challenged, shifted, molded. Shaped.

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Handcrafted by the Creator, I began to take note of every crack and crevice. Perfection.

Every blemish, every flaw. Perfection.

Every slick word and raw emotion. Perfection.

The mastery of them all? Elevation. 

I tucked away naïveté and self-doubt. Doubled up my portion of self worth. Insecurities were no longer security blankets, nor were they shackles chaining me to the former me.

I set aside promiscuity and temporary pleasures. Becoming a woman taught me that you can be saved and sexually free, but timing is key and discipline is everything. For now I’m savoring myself, because I’d rather save the best for whoever is last. Mature palette’s only, I know my taste is acquired, not fit for everybody. I’m no longer a box to check or a prize to be won. I am beyond the confinement of labels. 

And the journey has allowed me to be unapologetically me. I’m able to walk in my truth without taking away from any part of me. I still sensually whine my hips. I’m all rhythm, no blues. I’m the melody, an unforgettable lyric. A story waiting to be told. Purpose personified. Prophesy fulfilled. Yet the chapters are still being written. I’m still unfolding. I’m still becoming. The divine feminine.

Or simply, divine. 

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