When I was in the 1st or 2nd grade we took a class trip to Glenwood Springs. For a kid there’s nothing cooler than being on an overnight trip with all of your school friends. Really the only thing that tops a class trip is a pool party; which we had. Being one of two Black kids in my class, my pool preparation experience was different than my peers. My mom gave me “the talk” before I was able to join my friends in the pool. “You better NOT get your hair wet,” she sternly instructed. She’d recently styled my hair, and water would cause it to revert to its naturally curly state.
What a conundrum for a 7-year-old! I just wanted to have fun with my friends, fit in, and feel normal. How ironic that I was told by the person I most desired to please, that the way God created me prevented me from freely engaging and sharing in my class pool party.
As I sat on the edge of the pool watching my friends laughing, splashing, and playing; I chose freedom and didn’t care about the repercussions. I jumped in the pool, splashed, and laughed, freely enjoying every moment. My enjoyment was abruptly interrupted by my mother angrily yelling for me to get out of the pool. As I got out of the water I felt my hair rising, curls were flopping on my face, and I knew my mother was pissed. She grabbed my arm and rushed me back to our hotel room, yelling about how she would have to make me look presentable again. I felt angry, embarrassed, confused, and defiant.
In that moment I embraced the feeling of defiance as liberation, and I liked it. The notion that the curly hair that grew from my scalp could be the cause of calamity was a senseless concept to me. Natural hair, and all the magic it holds couldn’t possibly be the barrier to my freedom. While my mom blow dried, oiled, parted, and braided my hair; I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t let anything be a barrier to how I choose to experience life. I vowed to purpose the unique and beautiful way God created me towards living a free, full, and abundant life.
My swimming pool memory isn’t uncommon to many Black Women. At some point in our existence we’ve felt shackled by the beautiful and unique way God created us. We’ve been told that our divine creation isn’t good enough, is cause for calamity, and we’ve been reprimanded to be ‘more presentable’ by someone else’s definition.
We are scrutinized by each other, and the world for being too much, yet not enough. While paying the psychological tax of carrying the load, picking up the pieces, and being the glue. We balance exceedingly prodigious expectations, while being paid .61 on the $1, simultaneously innovating at Jetsonian proportions. Suffocating in blame culture, often an army of one battling injustice, and inequity, we build the table, and still must demand a seat. We hold it together, looking flawless through the ache, while we mourn the assassination of our husbands and sons. Pioneering the reimagination of Black Womanhood for our daughters, we are the 1st in many boxing rings, and are never afraid of the fight.
Yet as we swim in an ocean of #BlackGirlMagic curated by the hands of God, we stutter step our jump into the swimming pool. Often because embracing our inner divine holds power we feel remorseful about possessing. This sense of remorse is not unimaginable given the complex and evolving history of the exploitation of Black Women. We’re held responsible for building efficacy in black men, producing and raising model children, fabricating peaceful and beautiful homes, shattering the glass ceiling, carrying the movement, setting the pace, keeping the momentum, cleaning up the chaos, and schlepping the torch. We selflessly do it, and just when it feels like there’s no more to give, we squeeze just a little more out in response to a request for us to save the day again.
Our skinfolk knock our success, auditing our blackness, our avenues of achievement, the medium in which we make our mark, our complexion, and the outfit we wore when we shifted the earth. From WAP, to Black is King, to the historical 2020 Vice Presidential pick the scrutiny is relentless. Our own people have missed that we are vigorously rejecting their warning to stay out of the pool. Black Women are jumping in the deep end, “unbought and unbossed.” We are unapologetically waging a revolution, reclaiming our time, choosing to boldly live in abundance and freedom.
Black Women will catalyze a tsunami of necessary change, innovation, achievement, spirituality, and reclamation of self and sister love. We are tapped into our divine ability to manifest and create anything. Beloved Black Women, jump into the swimming pool! When you hear someone yell for you to get out, splash, laugh, and play, freely enjoying every moment.
Damn I Love Black Women.