What I'm Talkin' Bout
Womanhood. Blackness. Parenting. Location Independence. Pain. Acquiescence. Spiritual Entrepreneurship. Touchy-feely Shit.
Are you familiar with the term, Ma’at? It’s the name of the Egyptian Goddess who represented truth, order, and balance. Ma’at is also used as a philosophy that carries the same energy as the Goddess. So, one can practice living Ma’at by seeking harmony among all aspects of life.
The term, for me, holds particular significance in my experiences with motherhood, as I believe in harmony over balance, when it comes to work-life flow. For me, the practice of living Ma’at helps me prioritize the role of curiosity in motherhood
I feel that I get better at understanding my daughters when I stop assuming that I know, and start getting curious about what might be. I know it probably sounds more sensible to say that we have to know what our children need, but I caution you against that.
Aamut delivered The Unschooling Entrepreneur’s Guide to Life & Learning to the Afinana community as part of an education workshop series, and emailed me with some questions from her tribe. I’ve responded to her questions (and then some) in this format, and I hope it makes it easier for you engage, explore, and encourage yourself through some untethering and unmuting of your own.
As I matured into adulthood, I would sit quiet in conversations at work or even among my friends afraid to express myself because I might say the “wrong” thing. I was well into my 20’s before I understood that having an opinion did not mean I had to agree with everyone else — that it was ok for me to publicly say “I disagree” though I didn’t do it very often at that time. I disagreed inside.
I share these things not because I believe everyone should unschool, but because I believe everyone should know about this option for themselves and their children. I get that it’s not for everyone, but information offers access to the power of informed decision-making, and that is definitely for everyone.
I’ve been working on a series of essays about the mothers, sisters, and other loved ones of Black boys like Michael Brown, John Crawford, Travyon Martin, Darius Simmons, and girls like Renisha McBride. While I heal from the inside, I feel rage for their Mamas. Women whose journeys toward healing broken may be miles in the making. Let me start with me, and then work my way toward doing what I can for them. And for us.
So, if the one thing I never wanted to do was now being done, what was the point of moving on? How could I not stop and ask myself what to do next? I had to slow everything to a halt. Let myself fall. But I didn’t expect to not be able to get up. I stayed fallen. Broken actually. And I almost stopped trusting my footing. The dreams I had held on my head …
i feel value in looking past the moment these days, because should I stay (t)here—I will die. i will pack my bags, blow out my candles, roll up my mats, tie my locs back, and let my dreams die. should i stay in the moment, the bit of me that still sees the possibility of happiness will drown…
I think Matthew is a brilliant young man, but his perspective on what it means to thrive in America is a lid-on philosophy to which I am vehemently opposed. If we took the stance that certain things are only for certain people, I shudder to think of all the ways that women, immigrants, the elderly, poor people, and all other categories of traditionally marginalized groups would rise out of their situations and into fulfilling lives.
By avoiding the topics of body awareness and sexuality, we set our girls up to be ill-equipped to manage their emotions and to confidently express whatever they need to feel both comfortable around and respected by their peers.
>I posted this video on Google+ a while back, and it just came across my radar again today. Can I just say that Natalie Stewart (the Floacist) is such a lightbeam and a real example of radical self-expression in action. Take 15 minutes to breathe this in, and tell me you don’t want to just get off this computer and start risking expression in even bigger ways!
Vanessa was one of our brilliant honorees at Radical Self-Expression Summit. I love so many things about this woman whom my Literal Self barely knows. Among those many things are that she is incredibly familiar to my Spiritual Self, and that she has a strong tendency to appreciate magic, and to be magical herself are traits that top my reasons-to-love-her list.
I know most of you who read my blog are based in the U.S. and Canada, but if you have any friends or family in Jamaica, please share this with them. I’m sharing it with you because as I watched the video, I saw a woman who was risking expression by creating art that fit her unique needs and flow. I honor that, and part of how I turn honor into action is by sharing.
Confession: I have a favorite performance from Radical Self-Expression Summit. It’s my firstborn daughter, Marley. She performed a piece from my manifesto, and owned it in such a way that it elicited applause, reflections, and tears from the hands, eyes, and souls of our attendees. Kris and I are so very proud of her for reminding us how to risk expression!
Of course, you know it’s a radical act for black women to dare to accept their hair sans chemicals and efforts to straighten out our kinks. I LOVED being part of this energy, and I took the opportunity to share the message of Radical Self-Expression by way of my latest book. I read an excerpt from the Manifesto, and it felt so good to share that in front of a live crowd. Here’s the piece I shared, along with some photos from the event.
That’s the chorus in Inobe’s beautifully empowering jam, She’s Fly. She performed that song at Radical Self-Expression Summit, and it reached us. All of us; including my 6-year-old niece, Amayah. She asked Inobe for a copy of the CD for her mom, and she told me the next day that she was pretty sure “She’s Fly” was her new favorite song.
Natasha’s presence at Radical Self-Expression Summit offered me a visual and spiritual reminder to choose my joy over my perceived obstacles. Whether its loss of pigmentation, relationship woes, health issues, or the myriad other ways life can potentially pull us down into a funk, we always have the option to seek and celebrate being alive and living in purpose. Thank you, Natasha–I need that reminder from time to time.