Today is the shared birthday of three women who inspire me in all parts of my life- my parenting, my studies, my activism, my art, my sexuality, my feminism and my belief in radical love: Yoko Ono, Toni Morrison and Audre Lorde. This post is dedicated to these three brilliant brave women.
So you become a mother. Maybe a young mother. Maybe not. Maybe having children in your early 20’s isn’t anything to write home about. It’s just what your people do. And you have a man. A man in your life who comes home to you every night and you’re still young enough to think that seeing someone everyday is all that really matters in regards to love. And you have these children and you love them more than anything else you’ve ever seen or even imagined seeing. The love for your children creates a foundation inside you that maybe you didn’t know you didn’t have. And suddenly the world around you becomes so shockingly not good enough. The man in your life is too quick to anger, too sulky, too demanding of your affection. The education nobody thought you needed feels as necessary as the clean air your babies deserve to breathe. You look around for the same expression of discontent and need and want and curiosity on the faces of someone, anyone, you meet during your daily routine of child rearing. But you don’t see them. 22 hours a day you spend at home. Who are you going to see?
So, you pick up used books. Maybe many. You buy used CD’s. Maybe spoken word and poetry. And suddenly there they are.
Fierce, brilliant, wordsmiths. Women. Mothers. Artists. Activists. Scholars.
There they are. And now you are not alone.
“Each time we don’t say what we wanna say, we’re dying.” – Yoko Ono
And now your fire has a name. And now you have elders. Mothers who think dangerously.
“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” ― Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
You now know yourself as a dangerous thinker. And everything has to change. Begin by breathing.
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” ― Audre Lorde
Breathing in a room full of strangers. Stretching muscles forgotten. Stretching feelings gone dormant. Every breath brings you closer.
Each breath in, “I am here.” Each breath out, “And it fucking matters.”
You read. You listen. You breathe. You read and listen and breathe. And you leave.
To follow your elders.