What I'm Talkin' Bout
Womanhood. Parenting. Location Independence. Aha Moments. Acquiescence. Spiritual Entrepreneurship. Touch-feely Shit.
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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.
Wanted to nudge you over to Everyday Feminism to talk with me about ways to put more focus on self-expression in your own life. It’s a video called “3 Ways to Honor Self-Expression On and Offline”, and it’s a great way to add some “how” to your “why”
Radical Self-Expression Summit was the biggest risk I’ve ever taken in my career. I put a lot on the line, as did my family, to bring this vision to life. I’ll be sharing more about the work, and the events behind it, over at the summit’s main page. For now though, let’s rap for a bit. Click the video below to watch, then let me know what comes up for you. Thanks!
I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Maya Angelou speak almost a decade ago, as of today. Her warmth and wisdom heavily influenced my radical self-expression practice, and so today, I share what she told me, and honor her willingness to consistently risk expression. Her message was simple: Say thank you, and then say no…
Sometimes, the simplest sentence can have the most profound impact. For example,
“You Deserve to Be Happy.” or “What You Seek Is Seeking You.”
or, in the case of the video at the end of this post…”Share Your Story.”
I feel like there are always 50 reasons why we should be quiet, and not enough reasons we should share how we feel. In this era of dumb ass reality shows and vine videos that leave permanent evidence of a human’s ability to make the worst possible choice, we can still use technology to create communities that heal.
If we’ve been around each other for a while, you’ve probably heard me reference Inner Little Girl as an incredibly useful source of self-inquiry and potential healing. She’s been coming up a lot lately—in the form of various mermaids at that—and I thought I might talk a little bit more about her here, on this blog. What follows is an excerpt from Radical Self-Expression Manifesto that offers a deeper view of Inner Little Girl, and her …make that our…other spiritual aspects.
After I write this post, I’ll be heading to my daughters’ closet to pick out their clothes for tomorrow’s unschooling adventure–a trip to The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) to see Tchaikovsky Discovers America, part of ASO’s “Concerts for Young People” series. Both my girls are music lovers, and one (Marley) is learning to play bass guitar, while the other (Sage) is digging violin. I’ve got a great guest post by Leila Viss on behalf of www.JoyTunes.com. I gladly gave her space on my blog because I think this post offers great supporting insights on the relevance of music and music exploration as a resource for nurturing self-expression in our little ones.
If you’re blessed enough to have a mother figure like that in your life, whether you grew in her womb, or in her daughter’s womb, or whether she and you share no biological ties, but enjoy a deep spiritual connection, you know how much that means to your life. I’ve got a Mother’s Day offer just for those of us who have benefited from the listening ear, the honest discussion, the love, and the compassion of mother figures in our lives.
I know you’ve either personally experienced or witnessed the friend-parent. The parent who is doing their best to manage their child’s feelings while they do what they feel they need to do as parents. They want their children to be happy, and that desire even extends into wanting their children to be happy with they choices they (as parents) are making for their children. I don’t think that works. I’m open to talk about it (via comments or direct email), but so far, I think that’s more about a parent’s fear than a child’s wellbeing.
I believe that we live in a “Culture of Passivity,” where having a voice and standing up for yourself is looked down upon, and sometimes even punished. Vanishing face-to-face conflicts requiring direct communication is one of the main components of this shift today, although it’s been happening for longer than social media and the world wide web has been in existence.
I write in order to access myself, and to understand myself. I always have. When I write, my innate voice gets to quell the noise and speak to and through me. It’s so freakin’ dope to have this skill and this desire to use written word as my key to…all of it. Writing is freedom. No doubt, writing is more than what I do, it is how I do, and how I be.
Jay-Z will reference the importance of developing and trusting one’s own voice, particularly in the face of turmoil and less-than-ideal environments. He designed the life he wanted, and in this video, he is sharing, using a humble wisdom and comforting wit, reminds us why we must risk expression if we want to live well and be excellent. Tell ‘em, Hov!
Whether you find humor in this or not, you will find truth. And truth-telling often leads to dialogue, which is the genesis of healing. We can’t heal what we won’t speak on, right?
“Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have.” James Baldwin, Radical Self-Expressionist
Action, not inspiration, is how we find and explore ourselves. We can read great books, study great women, applaud great men, and cry at the memories of those who found their voices, and in some cases lost their lives to share what inspired them to action. But until we take it to heart; until we are willing to test our own wings,…