homecoming means that the Black body, the Black mind, the Black spirit, Blackness is free to be Black in all its forms, volumes, and sizes.
i stand among crowds of Black bodies gazing and people watching. my gaze is Black. i see Black bodies that are free and uninhibited. i see Black bodies breathing. i see Black souls at ease. i see Black spirits laughing. i see people who are filled with joy for the annual tradition of greeting and welcoming friends and family. in this sacred space Black bodies wear what they want how they want. they play whatever music they want how loud they want. they talk how they want as loud as they want. it is all good. in this space the Black body is beautiful, powerful, whole and complete. the Black body is not policed. (i dare you to try.)
i pray that this moment we call homecoming sustains the Black body and strengthens the Black body to survive these American streets. i pray the circle of love is enough to get the Black body through until the next time.
i wrote this brief reflection while at homecoming. i found myself tearing up while dancing. i quickly understood what was happening. this has happened before to me. in these sacred spaces i pause to pray and to thank God. i know that in these moments my people are breathing. my people’s blood pressure is down. my people are not worrying. my people are safe.
one love. one heart. let’s get together and feel alright. give thanks and praise to the Lord and i will feel alright.
i took my braids out last night. i look like myself again. for several weeks i have struggled with liking who i saw in the mirror. it was the hair. going from short curly hair to long braids was a drastic change for me. i love my curls. doing my hair is an essential part of me connecting with myself. i do not regret getting braids and might do it again just not right away. this experience reminds me of the void that occurs i believe when Black mothers no longer do their daughters hair. what happens to all that took place? where does it go? what fills that time and place?
doing my hair is a morning ritual. one that i enjoy. the common narrative out in these streets is that Black girls and women dread doing their hair because so much is involved and it takes too much time, but not me. the amount of time does not trouble me because i have never thought about the the length of time it takes me to do my hair versus those with non kinky and curly hair. i have always known that doing my hair/our hair is a labor of self care and self love. i have always known that doing my hair/our hair is a social venture. i dare not think that these curls will settle for a little bit of my time. they are not having it nor am i.
doing my hair gives me joy and it is one of things i can do well. i know when i am done that it will look good. somethings i have no control over but my hair i have a say so in. my mom and my grandmother were my original hair gurus. i never heard my mom complain about the ritual of shampooing, conditioning and styling my sister’s hair and mine’s. she did our hair everyday using a comb, brush, grease and a cup of water to dip the brush. i do not have stories of my mother pulling my hair too tight or unintentionally hurting me when she did my hair. my memories of hair time are the reasons i find joy and comfort in taking care of my hair.
later my step mom would become the woman who managed my hair care. she too never complained about the ritual of doing me and my sister’s hair. she shampooed and conditioned our hair every week. on special occasions she pressed our hair. i did not like the hot comb but did like the fancy big girl style that came with it. by middle of seventh grade i was in charge of styling my hair; she still shampooed and conditioned my hair until summer of eighth grade. initially, i did not notice that something was gone…something good was gone. something that i had known since the beginning of my life. sitting between my mothers’ legs having my scalp greased, tangles combed out and hair brushed into pony tails provided me and her time to talk and to be still. we just talked. she told me things about her life and when she was a little girl. she asked me questions about me and assured me that i would like the style she was giving me. Black mothers and daughters have held this sacred ritual for centuries. when our mothers release us to do our hair, we lose sacred bonding time. some mothers and daughters figure out ways to still have that type of time while some never get it back and thus become strangers to one another.
all that to say my recent four weeks of having braids and therefore not performing my daily and weekly hair rituals i missed me. something was missing…something sacred was gone. i was looking for me at every turn. i tell myself good things while doing my hair and talk to God. these things were not so during this four week period. i was off balance and out of sync. i kept looking for my familiar face. last week i started to think it may not be possible for me to make six weeks with braids because i missed my curls, missed and needed that time with myself. (i wanted to make six weeks because i paid a lot of money.) last night i took them braids out. OMG! it feels so good to touch my hair, to see me, and to have a sacred part of my morning ritual back. i am not saying no to braids but i am saying i love my hair time and rituals.
for nearly two years, i having been letting go of things a little at a time. then about a year ago i seriously started getting rid of clothes, shoes, papers and anything else that no longer fits the life i have now and the life i am coming into. yesterday, i trashed more than 20 seasonings that had long expired, leaving me with basically salt and pepper. today i cleared the walls in my bedroom. one of the walls in my bedroom served as my prayer wall for about two years. also, on that wall were three vision boards that were at least seven years old. fyi none of my vision boards manifested but 80 percent of my prayers were answered. i will take that. tomorrow i am getting rid of pots, pans and the two containers of xeroxed chapters, news articles and other xeroxed writings i compiled during grad school to write the thesis i never wrote.
twenty-one whole years ago, i departed Rutgers University wounded, depressed, and defeated. i swore for about five years i would write that thesis. i did not. any who, i am going to get rid of the remaining weight of not finishing 21 years ago. i am making room and creating space for me to continue to exist whole, complete, joyful and fierce. i am moving in my bold direction. the sense of urgency to not carry old things with me has become my intention every day. this vision i carry in me is coming to life. think me pregnant, if you will.
i do need my village to carry and birth this vision. please remind me that i am enough. remind me that faith holds the vision. remind me that God is for me. remind me that she who God calls God qualifies and who God qualifies God justifies. remind me that i have all that i need inside me. remind me to be bold and brave. remind me that God can do more than i can ask, think, or imagine. remind me that God is doing a new thing in me. remind me of my gifts, skills, scholarship, intellect, creativity, talents and blessings. remind me this is my joy and my purpose.
i hope there will a birthing ceremony and celebration…for real though.
i am getting rid of things and not be laboring the process trying to figure out where to take it or donate it. that in itself is freeing.
i have lived in this apartment for 12 years. at the ten year mark i knew it was time to purge.
i do not cook nearly as much as i once did. probably about seven years ago when my bestie moved to Rhode Island. (no hard feelings bestie.)
in a month’s time i purchased a laptop, SUV, and phone. i’m-a-take all of this needing to happen one right after the other as a HUGE & BIG sign of moving upward and onward. awoman!
for many than 30 years i have kept a journal. i journal for many reasons: to identify my feelings or thoughts around stuff, to prove and or to justify my thinking, to process stuff, to reflect, to have a record, and to let go.
my journal entries will tell you very little about politics or current events. i write for me and with great faith that God is listening. i write with no intention of publicly sharing or that one day when i am not here my pages will be shared.
sometimes what i share here will be from my journal and sometimes not, but all the time my truth. peace be unto you.