I hear many things about you. I hear about your fire. I hear about your fury in the face of injustice. I hear about your effervescence and every once-in-a-while, I bear witness to it myself.
The world is cruel. Especially to us. To us, Black, African loose-lipped women who refuse to stay silent where hatred abounds. To us, [change]Hungry Africans who reject under-cooked servings of the bare minimum, served often with a side-dish of neocolonial condescension. Condescension that asks us to beg and frowns when we make demands.
I have, before, felt dwarfed by the grandeur of the evil in the world. Why must I speak when oppression is so loud, its high-pitched voice clawing at the ears of power? What can I change when is so well-oiled and profitable? How do I speak to power when the cost of it is too heavy for my fickle bones to carry? If I am to weep about my pain, - about our pain- what good is it, when my weeping is often muffled by brash justifications? I have been angry many times, over the many ways that injustice abounds.
Lately, I have been angry about the toxicity that preys on womanhood. On women. On girls. On my mother, my sister, my aunts, on women I do not know but am intimately connected to, because of how shared our struggle is. As you know, Kaliba, the cycle goes as follows.
Once in a while, we unfurl our tongues. We loosen wound-up spirits and take deep breaths of air and we speak. We air our grievances, express our lament. But often, as I’m certain you know, those listening, with a committed quickness, ask for explanations, for evidence, for examples of how exactly it is that we are hurting. We gesture towards the pool of blood at our feet. Point to the wailings at a distance. Show them our open wounds. Lay bare our trauma.
Those listening, in turn make a case for their innocence. More preoccupied with clearing their names than with listening, than with compassion. We, in turn, must rehash the trauma- expose our wounds to the elements.
They do not understand. They do not understand that when we speak of our pain, we do not seek for it to be notarized or authenticated. We are not looking for our stories to be called into question. We are not looking for ‘buts’, or ‘maybes’ or 'not-all-of-uses' or ‘are you sures’. We are not asking for them to cosign the things that we parse through every day. We are saying these things because we are living these things.
This, Kaliba, is a note to tell you that you will settle somewhere. That you will grow at home within yourself. Somewhere on the lap of inspiration, arm rested on righteous rage, mind set on justice, heart rooted in decolonial love, your place will become clear to you. Your voice will rise up and be heard. Sit in the rage. Glare at the frustration. Your antagonism to oppression is not only justified- it is holy.
Let the anger fill your bones. Let your heart burst open with a passion for justice. Do not stifle your body's convulsions in the face of violence. It is natural for your heart to feel. So let it. And when it all becomes too much to carry, remember that it is alright to come apart. Oppression isn't natural. We are not meant to sit 'like ladies', cross-legged and square-shouldered in the face of it. We are not meant to breathe its air in and pretend it is not poisoning our blood.
Cry. Scream. Write. Dream. Hope. Weep. Scowl. Sing. Loosen your hips and dance. Feel. Fight. Fall. Fail. Face it all. Etch yourself onto life's terrain and leave evidence of your existence, and of those that came before you.
It is valid, just, and sacred that you are angry.