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Life, I Swear: Intimate Stories from Black Women on Identity, Healing, and Self-Trust

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Foreword by Elaine Welteroth

In this stunningly illustrated essay collection inspired by the popular podcast Life, I Swear, prominent Black women reflect on self-love and healing, sharing stories of the trials and tribulations they’ve faced and what has helped them confront pain, heal wounds, and find connection.

With essays by Eniafebiafe Isis Adewale • Lauren Ash • Gabrielle Williams • Lindsey Farrar • Nneke Julia • Elaine Welteroth • Meryanne Loum-Martin • Lili Lopez • Deun Ivory • Morgan Ashley • Dydine Umunyana • Adriana Parrish • Orixa Jones • Offeibea Obubah • Alex Elle • Kalkidan Gebreyohannes • Esther Boykin • Brooke Hall • Qimmah Saafir • Josefina H. Sanders • Julee Wilson • Shay Jiles • Danasia Fantastic

A mixture of poignant essays, gorgeous photography, and sophisticated design elements, Life, I Swear is a chronicle of transformation and growth by and for modern-day Black women. Some of today’s most influential Black female voices chronicle their private journeys, offering testimonies of living through pain and joy with raw honesty and unapologetic self-love.

In each episode of her podcast, Life, I Swear, emotive storyteller Chloe Dulce Louvouezo explores the nuances of our diverse experiences. In one-on-one interviews and personal prose, the podcast centers on personal stories that offer universal insights into topics relevant to modern women’s lives, from identity and family to trauma and motherhood, told through the lens of Black women. A catalyst for change, this revelatory book builds on the premise of the podcast by diving deeper into themes of mental health, identity and resilience. Life, I Swear is sure to spark lively, thought-provoking, and necessary conversations that encourage Black women to return home to themselves through self-examination and grace.

Life, I Swear features 100-125 full-color photographs throughout.

ISBN-13: 9780063072237

Media Type: Hardcover

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication Date: 11-02-2021

Pages: 192

Product Dimensions: 7.20(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.60(d)

Chloe Dulce Louvouezo is a Congolese American writer and advocate for women. As a storyteller, she supports creativity and belonging of underrepresented women and seeks to deepen understanding of and within communities. Rooted in global citizenship, Chloe's fifteen-year career in communications has advanced diverse and inclusive storytelling at domestic and global organizations addressing education, poverty, and mental health, most recently at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She serves on the Washington, DC, Mayor's Commission for Women and is the executive producer and host of the popular Life, I Swear podcast, through which she explores nuances and insights around identity, mental wellness, and healing, told through the lens of women from the Black diaspora. Chloe is also a founding board member of HURU, which creates sacred spaces for rest experiences that foster emotional wellbeing and wholeness.

Table of Contents

Foreword Elaine Welteroth 8

The Space We Deserve 10

Coming Home to Ourselves Chloe Dulce Louvouezo 16

Part I Sum of My Parts

Our Stories Affirm Us 20

Hues of Exposure Chloe Dulce Louvouezo 23

Some of Me Eniafebiafe Isis Adewale 28

The Sacred Return: On Answering the Ancestors' Call Lauren Ash 32

The Loveward Journey Gabrielle Williams 37

Legacy Building Lindsey Farrar 43

Between Worlds 47

Melded from Kin Chloe Dulce Louvouezo 48

Twice of Everything Nneka Julia 55

Beyond the In-Between Elaine Welteroth 58

Manifesting Through Aspiration Meryanne Loum-Martin 62

Saudade Lili Lopez 67

Part II Bear Witness

Still I Rise 74

A Pierced Memory Imagined Chloe Dulce Louvouezo 77

Healing Through Joy Deun Ivory 81

Raising My Inner Child Without Fear Morgan Ashley 86

Butterflies Sat Next to My Heart Dydine Umunyana 91

The Current of Adieu 94

Unhealed Wounds Chloe Dulce Louvouezo 96

New Beginnings Adriana Parrish 102

Her Cracked-Open Heart Is Never in Vain Orixa Jones 109

My Father's Smell Offeibea Obubah 113

Part III Peace it Together

If the Heart Could Talk 119

Love After Love Chloe Dulce Louvouezo 120

A Sacred Discovery Alexandra Elle 125

Triumph of a Broken Heart Kalkidan Gebreyohannes 129

Loving All the Pieces of My Heart Esther Boykin 133

Kin and Kindred Spirits Brooke Hall 137

Human Nature 142

Cradled by the Sun Chloe Dulce Louvouezo 144

Recollecting Me Qimmah Saafir 151

Unlearning Strength Josefina H. Sanders 154

Intentional Motherhood, Exceptional Realness Shay Jiles 159

Pivoting to Reinvention Danasia Fantastic 162

Go Forth and Be Dope Julee Wilson 167

Epilogue A Few Nights Under the Moonlight in Bahia Doriana Diaz 170

Afterword With Intention Chloe Dulce Louvouezo 173

Acknowledgments 176

Contributors 180

Photography Credits 192