February of last year, I stood in front of a few hundred middle school girls and told them, “you are enough.” The school was pretty diverse, yet there were so many little black girls in that audience… dozens of little mirrors; I saw myself in every single one of them. I was and am them, and they are me.
When you are a kid of color, it's not often that you get to see real, up-close examples of possibility. When I was in high school, we had people of color come to talk to us… they were prisoners. And I remember asking one of them if he knew my uncle. *Sigh*
Mark and I got into the car, both of us crying from being so lit up with joy and purpose, and I said, “THAT is what I wanna do with my life.” A month or so later, we were in quarantine.
As the world continues to, um, burn? Behave like a petulant child? I think about my kids every single day. I call them “my kids” or “our kids” because the moment I decided to fight for them (and bring you all along with me) was the moment I took some responsibility for their well-being. Are they getting support at home? Do they have food? Are they outgrowing their clothes? Can their teachers foster their Black joy, excellence, creativity, and culture? Are they being trained to courageously use their voices and gifts, or are they too busy learning how to take a standardized test?
I’ll be honest- as far as my pregnancy goes, there are some things that no one will ever know except Mark. Our intimacy and privacy are both sacred and our superpower. But I can tell you one thing: last week I had a doctor try to strip me of my agency and intelligence in a thirteen- and- a- half- minute phone call.
The hour or so I spent with the middle school girls, I gave them my Top 10 Tips for Self- Love. I remember so clearly what one of them was because it’s something that I have struggled with for my entire life, specifically with my mother.
I said, show of hands, has anyone ever said this to you, “I know you better than you know yourself.” Hands shot up around the room. I said, me too. And I’m here to tell you that NOBODY knows you better than you know you.
I’m not insulting a medical professional. Rather, I am insulted that a medical professional would interrupt me, talk over me, not be able to give comprehensive answers to my questions, and then suggest a plan of action that is fundamentally misaligned with who I am and my current state of health (which includes my job as a fitness instructor).
Angry doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings. Rage! I felt rage. And also despair.
When will I be the authority over my own body?
When will women listen to and honor other women?
When will White women acknowledge the power dynamic and actively work to make it better?
When will we acknowledge that while some women run away from their bodies and detach from their truest selves, others lean in and operate as one whole being?
And finally… none of who I am or am not gives you the right to treat me with anything less than compassion and respect.
To you reading this right now, I am both the woman you see speaking up for injustice, while also being one of those little brown skinned faces on the bleachers that day waiting for permission and not wanting to stir the pot.
Let me tell you something-
STIR THE FUCKING POT.
And teach your daughters to do the same.
That is all.
P.S. If you’re wondering what happened and with whom and all the little details... you’ve missed the point. If and when you’re meant to know, I promise you will. Xo