Coming back from London was much harder than I thought it would be. Going into the trip, I was not only looking forward to it as a much-needed vacation, but as the fulfillment of a dream I’d had since I was about 12 years old: to go to London and do any and everything Harry Potter-related that I could. Now I could use this post to go on about all that Harry Potter has meant to me in the sixteen years since I first picked up the Sorcerer’s Stone, but I’ve done that before and will probably do it again. Instead, I want to talk about something I wasn’t completely expecting to get out of this trip: a glimpse of the future.
Not many people know this but Black Girls Nerd Out is not just a hobby for Robyn and I. While we initially started this site for fun and community, we quickly began to see the ways we could turn this into a real space for development and change. Our London trip had many goals on different levels, the first being to feed our Potter obsession and the next to begin the further development of ourselves as a brand. We don’t often get much time in our regular lives to present ourselves as representatives of our site because we have other obligations, namely other jobs. While we’ve been quietly laying the groundwork for what we see BGNO being in the future, we’ve also had to carry on with our own lives, going to work, paying bills, and trying to nerd out on the side. It can be frustrating at times, and I can tell you that as someone who has consistently had to miss numbers of cons because of conflicting work schedules.
Being in London was a wonderful experience of course because we got to breathe in the literal magic of Harry Potter, complete with a self-guided walking tour, the Warner Bros. Studio Tour, an exhibit of the graphic art of the movies, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. But it was also wonderful because I got a glimpse of exactly what I want to do and who I want to be in the future. All this time it’s been an abstract reality, something I’ve known I was working towards but could never quite see because of all the things I had to handle right in front of me. While I was in London on vacation, I also got to work specifically on BGNO stuff, tweeting about our experience, giving reviews of the things we did, and having conversations with people.
It felt wonderful doing the things I’ve always wanted to do, but coming back home and knowing that I have to go back to the life I have now has made me both sad and motivated. I know that the path that I’m on in my professional life is one that will lead me to where I want to go, but I’m also impatient to start on my actual dream now. And I am, but it’s going slowly and all I want is to go back to the feeling I had in London when I turned the corner and saw the Diagon Alley set, or when Robyn and I kept going back to the House of MinaLima looking at the exhibit and talking to the staff, or the moment Noma Dumezweni (Hermione in Cursed Child) took our business card and seemed genuinely surprised and excited to receive it.
At the same time, it was clear that there is a real need for representation in the spaces I love. Robyn and I rarely saw other black people during our trip and we even ended up having a conversation with one person about why we are specifically addressing the fact that we are black women in our work. While the conversation was, obviously, in some ways uncomfortable, it also reaffirmed my own dreams and goals. While being a nerd is a huge part of our identities, Robyn and I are primarily here to create spaces for more black girls to be able to do what they want to do. Being in London and experiencing all that I experienced – the good and the bad – was all for that. It gave me a concrete vision to hold onto while I’m back at work, dealing with the every day.
In those moments I was able to see exactly what I want to do and now it’s up to me to deal with the nitty-gritty, the details and professional development that will actually get me there. There is a lot of work to be done between now and when I get to create my own business and do nerd shit with my friends, but I’m willing to do the work and can’t wait to reap the rewards.