Greenwood Soul Mates — Roishina Henderson
What is “soul?” For us, soul is that special something each person brings to their community, forming a colorful tapestry of stories, talents, cultural experiences and more. Greenwood’s tapestry is composed of dozens of unique individuals who are why the city is the epitome of its mantra – “Heart & Soul of the Delta”. Their rich stories and deep connections to the region’s food, music, and history make us who we are as a town and a wonderful place to visit. These are Greenwood’s “Soul Mates”.
Today’s Soul Mate is Roishina Henderson, a writer and editor from Greenwood. Roishina published three novels in 2023 alone and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
The term “homecoming” is deeply understood and holds profound significance for Roishina Henderson. After spending 29 years away from our city, mainly in Atlanta, Roishina recently returned to her hometown of Greenwood. Motivated to “get away from it all” and focus on her passion for writing, she decided it was time to return, yet her affection for Greenwood has anchored her in its embrace.
Home is always good if you have the luxury to come back to it. Home is where I’ve been able to focus on what I’ve wanted to write for my whole life.
At first, what Roishina found most fulfilling about returning to Greenwood was simply having the opportunity to live out her dream of becoming a prolific writer.
I’ve had this dream since I was nine years old. I would spend a lot of time at my Grandma’s house writing short stories. To me, I’m living my purpose, living my dream.
However, she found that the longer she stayed in Greenwood, the more memories of her childhood came flooding back. These memories inspired her to write a series of weekly blog posts on her website, all about growing up in Greenwood. In this series, she recounts her first loves, growing up in church and how the city has changed for the better since she’s been gone, ultimately feeling that her childhood here helped shape her into the person she is today.
Going out jogging literally jogged my memories. I walk the trail at Rail Spike Park a few times a week. I start in my neighborhood, get on that trail, and sometimes I just keep going for miles. When I do, I can see parts of my neighborhood and downtown, and my childhood memories start returning to me. I wasn’t outdoorsy when I lived in Atlanta, but now, back in Greenwood, I am.
To Roishina, “soul” means someone’s authentic self, which she has found thanks to her decision to reclaim Greenwood as her home. For others looking to find that same feeling, she encourages them to take a trip to Greenwood themselves, as it’s a place that “feels like home no matter where you come from.”
The weather here is perfect. The summers are never too hot, and the winters are never too cold – it’s always pleasant. Same goes for the people, who are all so friendly. A week or two after moving back here, a woman approached me at a grocery store and we had a full-blown conversation like we’d known each other our whole lives: I still don’t know who she is! But that’s just the beauty of being in a small Southern town – the accents, the art, the food, the music – with the people here, it just feels like home.
Those same people are what Roishina describes as the “soul” of Greenwood. Her mom and dad have dedicated their lives to enhancing the future of Greenwood and its people through their work at various libraries and the Greenwood Mentoring Group, respectively. She believes passionate individuals like them can be found throughout the city.
It’s the people, it’s the Southern accents, it’s the blues, it’s the Southern cooking, it’s the landscapes. I lived in Atlanta for 18 years, Georgia is full of hills, and coming back to the Delta, I’ve found so much beauty in the flatlands, in being able to see everything around you. In the early morning and evening, you can see the sun rising and setting for miles and miles. It’s gorgeous.
This is why, if Roishina could describe Greenwood in one word, it would be “comfort.”
That’s what I immediately felt when I moved back on that first day – September 3, 2022 – as soon as I got out of my car and heard blues music blaring throughout the neighborhood, I found that comfort, and so far, I’ve never looked back.