And the Journey begins...

I’ve been going back and forth as to what this first post should be about.  Should I make it about social justice stuff, or art stuff, or black stuff, or marriage stuff, or crazy ass three year old child who won’t let me just pee in peace stuff, friendship stuff, or 2020 can kicks rocks stuff?  I guess a good place to start is the stuff that’s led to Free Maiden.  We’ll get into the aforementioned stuff later.  Right now, allow me to introduce myself.

My name is Rashana and I thrive on deep conversations and RomComs (I contain multitudes).  For the past year, I’ve been living in New Haven, CT with my husband, John and my incredibly energetic (code for crazytown) son, Eli.   I just turned 40 and I feel like I’ve lived a few lives.  I was a star high school basketball player out of West Philadelphia, played Division 1 basketball for Penn State, and was even drafted by the WNBA.  However, these knees and my total exhaustion were like, “Girl, go sit down somewhere!...Immediately.”  I went back to Philly to figure out life after basketball.  Surprisingly, that road only led to more basketball.  I became an assistant college women’s basketball coach in Philadelphia, Chicago, and then Trenton, NJ for a total of seven years. I was also a high school head coach for three years.  During that time, I became a personal trainer and boot camp instructor, then an Assistant Admissions Director, then I earned a Masters Degree in Urban Studies and Youth Development.  I then used that degree to secure a position as Vice Principal at my former high school in West Philly.  I know! Awesome, right!? Well, it was...until my husband got offered a job in Richmond, VA.

I put in my resignation for the job I just celebrated getting (that was a pretty awkward week on Facebook), and we moved on down to Richmond.  I had no friends, no job, no idea why people stood so close to you (Philly people need their space)!  I applied to jobs and volunteered where I could, waiting for someone to be dazzled by my smile, charm, and passion for youth.  They were not. In the meantime, I took classes at the Visual Arts Center.  I had to try and make friends somewhere. And I had always loved creating.  But as many do, I relegated it to the “hobby” part of my life.   One of the classes I took was “Metalsmithing for Beginners.”  It was all over after that first class.  I wanted to make jewelry!!  And sell it!!  And that’s how this journey began.  I was a defeated woman, just trying to find a hobby in the middle of rejection, loneliness, and depression.  Jewelry saved my Spirit.  Creating does that for me.  It’s my prayer and my purpose.   

This is only a part of who I am.  There are so many twists, turns, and triumphs that deserve their own post, but I think this is a good place to start.  There may not be order in terms of what I write about,  but there will always be intention.  My hope is that I can share life, losses, and laughs with you while offering the best of what these hands can create.  Welcome to Free Maiden!


Written by Rashana Miller