By Michelle Dawn Mooney, SJNtv
“When I feel my energy is off or I’m feeling drained or just so much is going on, I need to get to the beach. That’s where I ground myself and I’m at my most happiest place being there.”
E. E. Cummings said, “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me) it’s always our self we find in the sea.” It’s a notion of lost and found known all too well by Lyntaga Smith.
“Everything was like happening at once. What am I going to do?,” Lyntaga thought. “Why is all this happening at the same time?’”
Lyntaga’s season of loss started with Hurricane Sandy. After extensive repairs her home was raised and she was forced into temporary housing for two years.
“It was frustrating, but at the same time I just kept telling myself that it could be worse and there’s people who had it worse than me.”
But things did take a turn for the worse. There were issues with construction and her health, when a virus led to a brief bout with Bell’s Palsy. Then another blow. The Burberry store where she worked for nearly a decade abruptly closed its doors.
“So, it was very disappointing and sad and frustrating and all of these emotions…the same time of my store closing. I’m still not in my home, although I had a place to live… a beautiful apartment in the inlet close to the beach which I loved, but it still wasn’t my house.”
Through it all, Lyntaga found peace in pieces … of sea glass.
“I’ve had people tell me like they’ve never seen a black sea glasses before, and I’m like … ‘Ok, you see one now.”
Lyntaga’s love affair with sea glass started 13 years ago, but it wasn’t until a friend suggested she turn her growing collection into jewelry, that it became a business. Now she just needed a name.
“I used to make body scrubs also and I had just done a scrub and my skin I thought was literally glowing and I was like, ‘Oh my God my skin!” I thought how can I incorporate the sea glass with my body scrub and then the name literally had just come to me … Sea Me Glow. “
Lyntaga’s designs have become a customer favorite with area shops and vendors, but she wants Sea Me Glow to be more than what meets the eye.
“I really want people to not just glow from my jewelry and body scrub, I want them to glow from the inside out…to just like take in all of the love and all of the good things around us. “
That love that Lyntaga has found in her support system has overshadowed the setbacks, which sees as lessons to become even stronger as she powers through.
“It’s bigger than me. I have so many people that look up to me and tell me regularly how much I inspire them and how proud they are of me. That’s like my drive.”
A drive to succeed to honor the community she loves and the city she has always called home.
“I just feel like Sea Me Glow is my purpose. I feel like you know I have to rep my city in a positive light and Atlantic City should be on the map for one of the best places to sea glass.
But when it comes to finding the perfect spot, well you may be on your own.
“I get a little territorial when I see somebody new glassing. Who is that? Where did she come from? There are some secret spots that I will never tell, but we can all share.”
So if you see Lyntaga out and about in Atlantic City, be sure to say hello. You might recognize her by her jewelry, or it may just be her glow.
This story was produced as part of Stories of Atlantic City, a collaborative project focused on telling restorative, untold stories about the city and its people. The project was produced in partnership with Free Press, the Center for Cooperative Media at Montclair State University, ivoh (Images of Voices and Hope), Stockton University, Authentic City Partners and ThisIsAC co-founder Evan Sanchez, Grace & Glory Yoga and The Leadership Studio co-founder Alexandra Nunzi, Press of Atlantic City, Route 40, SJNtv and Breaking AC.
Stories of Atlantic City is funded with a grant from the NJ Community News and Information Fund at the Community Foundation of New Jersey, a partnership of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. To read other stories produced as part of the project, visit www.storiesofac.com.