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  • Writer's pictureAzé

Starting at the Beginning:Sunkissed Child as a Note on the Beauty and Necessity of Returning to Self

Updated: Jun 27, 2023

Sunkissed Child: Poetry in Black Life is an homage to, a celebration, and an encouragement of your survival. Not only the survival of your physical body, but also the survival of your inner child and, inherently, your black radical imagination. The life we are all striving to achieve – one of ease, joy, fulfillment, abundance, prosperity, and success– is dependent on both the validation of your inner child’s knowledge, needs and creative pursuits and interests, and the integration of them into who you are now. And this integration, this survival of your inner child, happens when you go back to the beginning.

Who were you before you were told who to be? What fascinated you? What made you bubble with excitement? What made you want to grow up quicker so that you could fully dive into it without the restraints your childhood may have imposed you? Who were you as a child? Who were you at the beginning?

It’s easy to forget who you are. You grow up and experience pain, heartbreak and traumatic events; you develop mental health struggles and try your best to cope with them, along with meeting the demands of your everyday life. Which includes everything from texting that person back to figuring out how you’re going to support yourself because you’re getting kicked out and school is just too much and you’re grieving the loss of someone or something and your physical health needs attention.

They tell you your only way out is to be like everyone else. Get into the same money-making schemes as everyone else; listen to the same music (that’s how you increase engagement); have the same aesthetic (how’s anyone gonna like your stuff?); to dress alike; to look alike; to have the same views about everything. It’s easy! And that’s why it’s dangerous. The first reason is because this unspoken rhetoric entraps you in a rat race that makes you think that when you don’t go viral, and you’re not rich, and you’re still struggling to make ends meet, even when you’re checking all the boxes, that there is something wrong with you and that you need to run faster on your wheel, and not something wrong with why you felt the need to assimilate to survive in the first place.

And the second reason is because it kills your imagination and starves and invalidates your inner child who is the key to unlocking the fulfilling, joyous, abundant, prosperous, exciting life you have been striving for all along. It makes you forget them, that person that is you unadulterated, pure and full of all the knowledge they need to create the life that will bring them, and inherently you, fulfillment, comfort, and ease. Start with them, you at the beginning. There is no way forward toward this life of your dreams without consulting and validating who started it all. Because there is no you without them. And the world needs you, in your entirety.

The world needs you in all your blackness. In all your beauty. In all your abstract ideas. In all your abstract ways. In all your kindness. In all your childlike wonderment. In all your heartbreak. In all your courage. In all your queerness. In all your grief. In all your excitement. In all your creativity. In all your pain. In all of what makes you who you are.

And the only way to express this authentic version of yourself and to experience and create the life you are striving to live, you need to return home to yourself. To return back to your inner child and validate them. That child who knew there was a great, big world out there, full of possibilities. Who knew that as soon as they had the chance, they would give this life, and give this world, all they got. And who knew that in doing so, they would change it for the better in some way, even if it was just for one person. Even if that person was only them. This child needs to live and survive, your very own thriving and surviving depends on it!

This is what Sierra captures so eloquently in her book. She takes us through her own journey of returning back home to herself, and showcases both the beauty and mess of the journey back. It’s beautiful because you remember just how good it feels to be excited about life again: to connect with others, learn new things, share your ideas and shine your light brightly. And it’s messy because you are simultaneously reminded of why you felt you had to let these parts of you die in the first place. The silver lining is, you have the knowledge you need to let your inner-child know they’re safe now. They’re loved now. They’re understood now. They can be free.

Sunkissed Child reminds us Black Womxn to remember who we were at the beginning. That same child with that crooked smile, dark skin, and big, big dreams and hopes for themselves and the world around them still exists. And they, that child that is you, deserves to be loved, and nurtured and appreciated for existing in a world that does nothing but try to tear them down and erase them. And that child does not only deserve to partake in the amazing life you are building for yourself, but completes it. They make it whole. Make it fulfilling. Make it feel like home. Because home is not a destination, it is a knowing. And that knowing is within you. It is you.

Sunkissed Child: Poetry in Black Life tells us to start at the beginning and find what you’ve been searching for all along. You’ll be surprised at what reopens in your conscious mind and how this reopening, this rediscovery of yourself, changes your life for the better in all ways.

Shop Sunkissed Child: Poetry in Black Life here.



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