As a wife, mother, a full time RN I seldom have time to watch a tv show that I really enjoy. I have been taking back my free time by kicking my daughters off the couch, yelling for my husband to join me, and searching for shows that I will enjoy. One of my favorites is "Finding your Roots" with Henry Louis Gates Jr on PBS. The last episode detailed the lineage of a lawyer and she said something that struck me. She stated that people of color, particularly Black people, have endured many obstacles. She pointed out that even within families, the stories of how we faced those obstacles are seldom told; that we endure, overcome, and move right along.
My logic implored me to think of examples of Black people who have become legends of our past and I reconcile that these people, such as Maya Angelou, Billy Holiday, and countless others, grew above the shame of their personal experience to share the reality of Black life with us. My right brain moved to my writing. As a poet, I have the ability to mix words and send messages that are inferred, rather than explicitly stating the truth. And now I am at a point where I must decide am I ready yet?
My book of poetry touches on my life as a Black woman. From being assaulted and humiliated, to discovering the difference between true love and infatuation. There have been times, when pushed, that I have written down the exact truth without mincing words. These pieces are only shared with family and are often the cause of turmoil as they bring out traumatic memories that some have chosen to forget. As a writer, is it my responsibility to tell the truth and if I did would it really matter?
I think of my research into the personal life of my icon, Maya Angelou. She was not ashamed to say that she and her mother did not see eye to eye. She was not conflicted over sharing the time she spent working in the sex industry. Did she have the resolve to share that part of herself or did she have the responsibility? I tell my children that I write because I hope that one day, a black girl will read a poem and breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that she is not alone in her experience. So often, family secrets are shared and then silence is imposed with the knowledge, to preserve the "family name". I am at the point where I must negotiate what I have to lose by sharing intimate details with strangers. I am not playing victim and it is not my intent to manipulate audiences gain notoriety. It is my intent to live by example; to show other black women that our experiences deserve to be normalized. Sharing our pain with our progress is essential. We have been made into icons for our strength to the determent of our mental health. Imagine how iconic it would be for our struggle to be made as public as our strength.
I have a B.A. in Political Science, an A.D. in Nursing and a keen interest in writing about the whole person