My 8-year-old self healed me last night

I saw the gleam in her eyes first. She was short, but her slender appearance made her seem taller. Her dark chocolate skin shone and the sun’s rays bounced off the glistening fine hairs on her arms. She was me. And I watched her with curiosity. At first, I didn’t realize it. It was the familiarity of her smile, her spirit, that drew me in.

I did not realize I was in a dream, alternate universe-even. And at the moment I recognized the little girl I was staring at, I thought I had surely died, and all my selves were coming together…

She spoke first. “I know you. You used to always visit my dreams. Did you come from New York?”

Then I remembered how I had always believed I would move to New York. Live in Manhattan. Make a lot of money. Live in a high rise with floor to ceiling windows with panoramic views of the city. I’d have three boyfriends. Wow. Had I failed in life? “No-no,” I stuttered, focusing back to the little girl. “You know me?” I looked at her questionably as I cautiously approached her.

“Yes.” She said, decidedly.

I looked around and passersby without faces hurried to their unknown destinations. Traffic ensued busily as normal. But the space between us was incredibly still.

 

As I studied my young subject with a deepening curiosity, it all came back.

 

I don’t remember being so confident at that age. I gasped at her-grief-stricken, and awed at the same time. I studied her smiling face, and tears welled up my eyes. My nostrils burned and flared for air, and my palms sweated.

 

My heart galloped, and my voice lost its musical notes to what seemed like its final sigh of epiphany. Of course! This is precisely the time before I was molested. This is the Me before my innocence was ripped from me-when I was trusting, shining and lovely. This was the brilliant little girl all the teachers loved. This was the one who dreamed of being a mermaid, a TV anchor, and Supreme Court Judge. This was the one who fantasized about feeding all the hungry children in the world, and find some kind of ecological way to end famine and drought.

 

“Ah,” Little Me said with a wisdom that mismatched her size, “I see you remember.” She walked up to me, and gently took my hand. Her gaze and sweet smile never leaving my face. She said, “I’m glad you remember. And I’m just here to remind you to let it go. It’s okay. All that has happened to us, has made you who you are. You are okay.”

Then, she guided me down the street of our familiar neighborhood, and continued talking, “I remember you” she said again. “You were so helpful. You would visit me in my dreams. And tell me to be strong. You told me that I would get through it. That I would be fine. You told me that, He may touch our physical body, but we are spirit. And He couldn’t touch that. Don’t you remember?”

The tears streamed down my face incessantly. I listened to Little Me in silence. We walked.

As she talked, I remembered Me-that Grace Jones-strong-Black-woman-with-the-Mohawk, look-alike, who would come talk with me in my dreams, give me strength each night that I had silently cried myself to sleep.

I stopped and turned to her, “I do remember,” I said quietly. “Wow. I do.” And I hugged myself so tightly.

Then, Oya, Yemeya and Oshun formed a ring around us. Their light was blinding, but I their warmth and love permeated my being. Captured by their pervasive light, we were absorbed by it, transforming into it, and pulsing in the love of light which now blanketed us, fusing us into one, turning us in the fire, that I now recognized as the sun. We had become the sun.

The light of peace. The light of love. The light of the Sun.

And like that, I was peace.

I was love.

I was the Sun.

I was whole again.

 

Real Girlfriends: Is that even possible?

Is it possible to have real girlfriends in 2010’s?

I find that as I grow older, I seek to cultivate and maintain female relationships. I think it is healthy for women to have supportive relationships.

I did not always think this way-that we should trust female relationships. I always thought those to be superficial at best, and spaces of gossip and contention at worst. I blame my not-so-trusting mom for raising my sister and I to not fully trust women.

So, up until about 15 years ago, with this debilitating belief that women could not be trusted , I maintained that I didn’t need female friends-at least not new ones. With the “No new friends” motto firmly tucked under my armpit, I sought to maintain ones of old…old elementary school friends. But even those relationships expired without so much as a bounce of thunder. These friendships melted into a lifeless mold, running and burning its course as if destiny herself guided it forth, without so much of a fuss or effort. We grew apart. We love each other, but we’re no longer the same people. Our beliefs had changed, our priorities had changed. And with each life event, our lifestyles had also changed. Over the course of the years, our once lively, contagious and respectively dependent relationships came to an uneventful end.

I didn’t realize that those relationships were over. Partly because they were over without notice.

I was in the throws of motherhood. I had overcome post-partum depression. I was pouring my energy into teaching my three baby girls all I knew. At the same time, I had this unrelenting thirst for knowledge because I wanted to have something of substance to give them. Their learning became my tasks of learning, and seeking to acquire more to give. An empty vessel has but that to give.

Because I understood what I lacked in my life, what my man could not give me, I had a newfound connection to how women approached life. I understood, firsthand, how inadequate a Black woman could feel due to lack. And “lack” is beyond monetary needs. But lack of support, friendship, confidence, education, resourcefulness, grounding, power, spiritual contentedness. And I wondered where it was, and how I would go about acquiring it. How could I share it with other women, to help stop their tears? The tears which could not be explained, except through the understanding that we women were lacking something.

But what I found, was that through my creative work, I healed. Then, I unintentionally developed relationships. I never saw myself as a gregarious member of the community. But I was suddenly attractive to women. As I became more comfortable in my skin, I inadvertently  acquired friends-no, sisters. I couldn’t control the care I felt for their growth and  well-being. I understood my mom and sister more. I understood my global sisters more. I became a womanist.

A womanist is one who supports other women. She loves women and is there, as a sister, to celebrate and lament victories and disappointments.

Men should encourage this. But some don’t. 

Women who keep friends are healthier. Granted, we should all mind the company we keep. And not all company is good company. However, I remain determined in the belief that there are good people-women, out there. And together, we’re happier; we accomplish great things while we enjoy life. As pillars of society, we can make our world better, not just for our children, but for each other, our people.  As  Audre Lorde says, “Black women sharing close ties with each other, politically or emotionally, are not the enemies of Black men.”

That is the general thought, isn’t it? That Black women congregating means it is to the detriment of Black men?

I believe the contrary. Real Black women support Black men.  The war on Black families can be healed through the cultivation of real girlfriends-sisters, that is. That’s community. That’s our village. Together, we build nations.

A real girlfriend is a mother, a sister, a counselor, a doctor, a spiritual healer, a work-out buddy, a motivator, a cheerleader, a shoulder to cry on, a baby-sitter, an advice giver, a critic, and confidant. A real girlfriend is you. Be a real girlfriend! Then, you won’t have to ask if it’s even possible to have real girlfriends in the 2010’s.

Just my thoughts.