There are moments that stick with me, often I refer to them when I feel my strength has run dry. I was not raised very religious, I don’t align with any particular religion but my mother always taught me that there had to be something or someone that I could release my feelings too. To remember that I was not meant to walk around with the weight of the world on my shoulders for I am human and do human things. I often think the narrow tube that black wimmin have thrown their way is that they cannot be soft, that we are so super human that we we don’t show emotions, that we are somehow “built differently” to endure human suffering different that our racial opposites. To be soft, to say no, are radical slipping out of a black woman’s mouth. More recently, as we step into this post-Obama era I think it is important that black womyn get in touch with this softness, this sweetness, to revive rituals/personal religion and to continue to radicalize self-care.
This past weekend I watched one of my favorite movies, The Secret Life of the Bees*, it is all centered around these black woman, who had very radical ideas of what womynhood looks like, as well as black motherhood. They run a family business, they sell honey. The honey company is called Black Madonna Honey and features a black Mary holding a black child. It what makes the honey distinguishable. Later we see what their version of church is, a small group of black womyn, surrounding a wood carving of a black woman, holding her fist up. This is one of the moments I wait for, one of the moments I can’t wait to see. It brings me to tears, because as someone who’s never quite believed in anything, this speaks to clearly to me, tears immediately fall from my eyes and I feel a security in my being that radiates from my soul that allows to stop playing the game of what I’ve been conditioned to think of myself. I have to, close my eyes and simply listen to the story of Madonna, a madonna that looks like me, that speaks like me. That protects me. Here, in this world, my body is constantly under critique, it’s always too hard, too angry, too “terrifying”. When the room is still and I can remove my armor, I cry. I weep, to be able to find strength in what is perceived as a black body finally breaking, as weakness. It is a cathartic personal revolution that allows me to feel, for second what freedom could actually taste like. Ironically, as queen latifah speaks about this madonna rising from the sea, salty tears flow and curve themselves around my lips…giving birth to that black madonna in me, bringing her to life one more time. As latifah tells me her story, she reminds that if I ever grow weak all I have to do is touch her heart. I can’t help but imagine my mother, my grandmother and of all of my friends. I think of how we’ve played this part for each other, how we emerged from the very waters that tried to kill us, the very waters we killed ourselves in and have instead embedded love. The ability to see hurt and know to comfort.
Now, I know there is far more to womynhood, black womynhood in particular. Much more, this is not to negate it, but it is to liberate the moments where we are not alright, when we can’t admit it to ourselves out of an irrational fear or lack of know how, because this might be uncharted territory. Or maybe i am alone in this endeavor, but as someone who often feels unworthy, to know that there are people, who love me in moments when not only I cannot love myself but when I can not stand myself, it fills me with something godly, something so black womanly I cannot help but burst. A very good friend of mine told me, as I sat and cried in front of her, that you have to be able to look around and see the people that love you. Because they do, and like that black Madonna all you have to do is touch their hearts. Touch her heart. The black womyn is god has not meant so much to me as it does at the beginning of this new year. So much so I am encouraged to strip myself bear and allow her love to transform me, and everything I have thought of myself, everything we have thought of ourselves. My heart is here for touching, if you ever need it.
I’m not really sure where this was going and I can’t quite wrap it up as I normally do, but there is pride in being able to display emotions, to put our issues elsewhere, to touch her heart. Black womyn at literally every step have been my saving grace, personally and historically. I have been shown strength, courage. If we got even an ounce of what we we’re worth this world, this unhealthy world, wouldn’t know what to do with itself. Building marching, standing meditating,praying, laughing hell, VOTING… and showing up.
There are so many versions of us, there are so many of us and it’s rooted in what real strength is. What real resistance and resilience look like is not this fabricated idea of a “superhuman” or “super-woman” but it’s the ability to speak your truth at every step and more importantly that ability to put the weight of the world or sadness, somewhere else. Where is can be handled and rectified as we refuel ourselves to show-up time and time again. Where you can give yourself credit to cry, to laugh, to be surround a superhuman love.
Soft & beautifully tender.
Things will get more lighten hearted I promise. 🙂
Loving and rising,Asa
* book written by Sue Monk Kidd