Sunday, April 11, 2010

Between here and eternity

Why do I make lists instead of getting up and doing things? I can think myself into inaction like no one else I know. I went by a good friend's blog today just to see if she had posted anything in the last year - and wonders - she had. And it reminded me of the conversation we have been having all of our adult lives. How do we make our way in the world? What do we do when our ambition and passion meet our children and commitments? How do we get it all done when there are only 24 hours in every day and we can no longer function with less than 7 hours sleep? I spend a great deal of my time running on fumes. And it does not produce my best work - but something gets done. And I have resigned myself to the fact that I cannot have everything I want when I want it. But I still want it.

I am not a feminist. And I don't know if there is a word for what I am. I.AM.SO.DISAPPOINTED.IN.FEMINISM. And I am disappointed in the women who continue to tout it's purpose and strength without acknowledging that it is built by women of privilege. Privilege of opportunity, possibly money but definitely skin color. I am not a feminist. If feels as though there was never a place for me in their number. And so I went, like all conscious-college-educated-black-women to Alice Walker. Womanist. That's what I am. It's the 90's and I am feeling my political and sexual power. I am a womanist. I identify with the woman of me while simultaneously acknowledging that my gender is socially constructed; and that the personal is political. I coalesce with white women but don't get too close because they can't really understand what I am going through. But then I grow up and have kids. And I am not angry with every man in my cypher so I choose to be married and build a family. And I am not disgusted with my biology rather marvel at what my body has the fortitude and ancient knowledge to do - completely unassisted. So what am I now?
I engage in the "mommy wars" and breastfeed my babies in public and I boycott every chain store and company that makes life harder for us mothers, even going as far as not buying ANYTHING made in China. That sucked.

Now I am here. Almost 40. In the process of a divorce. Unemployed and raising three children. What am I now? Well, according to the census, because I am the head of the household, black and female and a mother - I am a statistic.

In the black community it is considered the ultimate insult to call somebody out of their name. And lately I have been thinking about what it is I want to be called. Who am I? I know, that sounds like the beginning of some really bad beat poem from the 60's. But I am not going anywhere to find myself. I am just reflecting on the fact that I am quite possibly all of those things. And none of them at the same time. And I am trying to figure out how to be in the world. How to present myself in the world. I am writing lists and journal entries all in an effort to figure out who to present on a daily basis. And wondering what would happen if I just got up and let the day happen. If I did some things that made me happy, and some things that need to get done and a few things I hate doing but are my responsibility. Then go to bed and get up and do it all over again. When I was little I always thought I was destined for greatness. And as I aged and made my choices and greatness did not appear, I began to get disappointed in myself. Not able to see the brilliance in the choices I had made and the people I had helped. Not valuing the little things. Always searching, always making lists. There is greatness in every step we take. And we can have it all - and when we look back at our lives just before our exit we will see each of those moments. Why wait for that day?

My sista-friend Minkgirl had this to say:
I am saying a prayer for myself and for all the other super-charged women I know that we can balance not just work and family, but joy and despair. There is much that is overwhelming, distracting, disturbing, and downright depressing about the lives we are living. And there is much that is joyful, beautiful, sweet, hopeful, and hysterically funny.


No comments: