–A letter to my sister/me
What is going on in the world today that we cannot take the time to speak to people? More specifically, what is going on with the majority of black women that when we see each other, we mutually do not speak to each other, but rather have a stare down episode? I am not talking about speaking to each other to forge a friendship, to network, to create a community, to exchange ideas, to talk about the weather, to talk about politics, to talk about health, but simply to speak. Why in the two minutes or twenty seconds of passing another fellow black woman on the street, in the grocery store, in the gym, in the beauty salon, or in the mall, do we avert our eyes, or turn our noses up in the air, or turn our heads away, or conveniently dawdle with our cell phone? How and why do we do that? What does it mean? Why do we think that it is okay? How in the world can it be healthy to see a fellow black sister, a mirror, and not speak to her and to not acknowledge who she is, if but for a brief moment? If but for a brief moment, our greeting can be an encouragement or even an escape from the nuisances and hardships of everyday life.
What is going on? What is going on that I cannot or will not speak to her? What is going on that she cannot or will not speak to me? Why have we been taught or conditioned to not acknowledge each other? Why have we been taught not to see each other? Why? Who does it hurt essentially? It hurts you! It hurts me! It hurts us. It hurts. Yes! It is okay to acknowledge hurt and pain. It does not take away from our strength, fortitude, perseverance, and tenacity as black women. Acknowledging something means we have identified that thing, and because we have then we can do something about it! When are we going to stop hurting ourselves?
By nature, women are nurturers. We carry life. Because we have been equipped to carry life, we need to yield it, speak it, and embody it! This madness has got to stop. When did this rift come in? Why are we feeding this rift that has caused and perpetuates a great divide? We need to bridge the gap. Bridge? Forget bridge. We are not on a separate island in bondage and categorized by our gender and race. We are in this together. We simply need to walk over the man-made, woman perpetuated, bridge– the one built to keep us apart–and join hands and, thus, forces to rectify, to fix, to address the brokenness in our lives, in our communities. We need to share our experiences and insights as modes of encouragement. We cannot do this alone.
Are we really allowing negative remnants of slavery to keep us mentally bound? Why not glean from the togetherness and unity that carried us from Africa, during slavery, and into the Civil Rights Movement and use what we glean to solidify our bonds? Why allow the rights we now enjoy separate us even further? We are “free,” but we should not let that freedom draw an even deeper wedge between us. We lose the essence of our ancestors and ourselves when we allow and do this. This rift is driving a further wedge in the human relationships that we were created to have and it pushes us deeper into ourselves, essentially killing our spiritual, emotional, and mental beings. Okay, we acknowledge the fact that as young girls, with an exception of those who played team sports and a few others, many of us were innately taught to be competitive and it could very well be this conditioning that informs our current decisions and interactions, but once we identify the source of an issue or the various sources and acknowledge the results of it, then we can intelligently or should I say sisterly move forward.
Women are made to have healthy and balanced relationships. My disposition should not be a reason for you to see me as competition and vice versa. I am a woman. You are a woman. We both are women, who have unique and sometimes connected purposes aligned with the greater good of society and the sooner we realize this the better off all of us will be individually and collectively. We are buying into the smokescreen of seeing each other as competition, as threats and how incredibly sad is that? While we are busy giving each other the eye, our communities are falling apart, our Senate seats are being filled, our positions on boards sit empty, our presence in executive sects is absent, our representation in meaningful aspects of life is void all because we are being distracted, because we are not forging healthy relationships, because we are buying into what the media says we need, because of who the media says we are. The because list can go on and on, but it is not even worth delving into because they are all excuses—excuses that create and sustain the barriers keeping us from moving forward and together, as sisters.
You ask me why? Why can I not speak to you? Why can I not say hello to you? I cannot because I do not love, accept, cherish and value me/myself/you. Seeing an image/reflection of me/myself/you magnifies the pain and lack of acceptance I feel within for whatever reason. Maybe because I have bought into the hype that in spite of my blackness I am better than the average or typical black woman because of what I look like, where I live, where I was educated. Maybe because in my twenty second assessment of me/myself/you, I have imposed my tainted angle of vision that has told me/myself/you what beauty is, what intelligence looks like, and what success is. But wait you are asking me/myself/yourself these questions, like I actually owe me/myself/you a response.
Who are you to me? And why should I speak to you? I am standing on my own two feet and encounter the same obstacles you do so what difference does it make if I speak or not? So what you are a black woman like me? I do not know me/myself/you. How can you begin to form in your mind that you know me?
–A letter to my sister answering why I cannot/do not speak to her
Denying or not acknowledging the presence of a person or a thing does not deny its existence nonetheless.
You are me. I am you. We are each other.
That's my twenty-nine cents. Blessings!