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Back in the fall of 2019 I went over to Gigi, my best friend, house to take pictures. She and her husband have an amazing back yard that backs up to the woods. It is a great natural back drop with gorgeous towering trees. The fall had brought some of the leaves to the ground giving the grass some added color. Gigi was the creative director of the shoot and was giving out directions for different ideas for pictures. I went with it because that is not my strong area and it is definitely hers. We walked around the back yard for an hour or so, getting a variety of back drops and poses for the pictures. We finished up all the photos and walked up to her deck. We were joking around with some pictures and I had an idea for a picture. I wanted a picture of Gigi and I fist bumping. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do with that picture, however I felt it was going to be very powerful.

When I got all the pictures back after they were edited, the fist bump picture was the first one I looked for. I was very excited about it and was wanting to post it right away, but something told me to hold off. Something told me it wasn’t the right time. Something told me that it was going to serve a bigger purpose in the future. So I listened and waited. Yesterday as I was searching for another picture from that same day, I came across the fist bump picture. And I knew now was exactly the time to share.

If you have read my book, or have had any sort of conversation with me, you know that Gigi and I have been best friends since 1997. We went to junior college together and we both ended up at the University of Arkansas after. Our friendship has always been about family. When we were in school, hundreds of miles away from either of our families, we were each other’s family. Her family was in the Washington, D.C. area while mine was in North Carolina. She was a standout track athlete at the university and would have team functions where family was invited. I was her +1. When I graduated and left Arkansas we kept our friendship going. Keep in mind this was way before cell phones had any time minutes and long distance was free, let alone text messaging and social media. If you wanted to communicate with someone, it had to be an effort. It was genuine. It was because you cared about that person. Throughout the years since, we have always supported each other. I was the maid of honor in her wedding. I was there when she competed at the Olympic Trials. She even came to little ole Nacogdoches, Texas to come see me coach.

Yesterday when I looked at the picture, it spoke to me more than it had the first time I laid my eyes on it. I am not usually one for symbolism and reading really deep into a picture or anything like that. I’m not one for the grey area, I like it black and white, simple and to the point. However, this picture is more than that. To me it is showing two people together. Not just two people, but one black and one not. Yes, there is color in this picture. You cannot be blind to it. It is beautiful. It is bold. It is showing that even though we may bump heads, which she and I do on occasions, we are still coming together to meet in the middle.

I have always believed that good communication would solve 98% of the world’s problems. That means talking AND listening. For hundreds of years the black community has been trying to tell the white community, but it was falling on deaf ears. Finally, FINALLY, it seems that people are starting to listen. This is only the beginning. There is a lot of work to be done. I plan to be a part of the solution. I’m not sure where you will be, but you can bet you will find me right next to her, giving her that fist bump.

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