Tag Archives: self-esteem

Black Joy

Living in a small, white racist town has really made me contain my joy. Anytime, I leave my house–it’s usually with a screw face as I encounter beat up jeeps with Confederation flags and creepy white men staring at me in dark shades with fatigue-print caps on. Wherever I go, people stare. I’m not from ’round here. But guess what? I’m here and I’m about to reclaim my ability to express the natural emotion of happiness and joy.

I experience joy when I see (and especially if I get to meet) other Black people in my town, or wherever I happen to be. A  nod of acknowledgment or a “good morning” can set a sista on a brightened journey. No lie. I love when I feel my hair is doing all the talking for me when my lips are too fed up. Unapologetic, KINKY coily hair is beautiful ART.  I feel this so confidently that I feel joyous even in a mediocre hairdo. I experience joy when I maintain class, grace, humility, patience in any situation. I feel my best self emerging and growing. This brings me joy. It brings me joy to walk with a group of Black children, one of them usually being my own. It brings me joy to see my son being himself–wild, coily hair out proud and everything!

It brings me joy to exclusively date Black men and have nothing but loyalty, respect and openness with them. It brings me  joy to be treated like a queen by a Black man–privately and publicly. It brings me joy to view, touch and caress melanated skin. This is almost like therapy! It brings me joy to catch a joke in Patois from my grandma, or to piss the neighbours off when I’m burning my browning before I cook stew or curry (it’s not my fault I use…flavour). It also brings me joy to share a plate of curry with my neighbours, and show them that yes–Black people do care about recycling and putting out the right decorations at the right time of the year. *roll of eyes*

I’ve lost my ability to conceal my joy because I’m expected to be a caricature of suffering and hostility. I find myself grinning, beaming and letting the excitement enter my voice wherever I am. I’m able to let the light shine in my eyes when I’m truly appeased, laugh at myself at the ice rink or the store and stand with my head and my uniquely beautiful coily hair tall. If you want a disgruntled, angry Black female–that isn’t going to be me. I’ve got too much joy because every day I wake up feeling blessed! I’m not going to let someone decide there is no space for happy, carefree Black people. I’m coming for that space, and it’s going to be a magical space. 3

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Identity

  Yesterday we celebrated African Liberation Day by making it the day we started Mothusi’s locs. His locs mean many things, they are about liberation. It is about resisting White, capitalistic patriarchal domination and upholding a love and self-acceptance of the African identity. An identity we are currently working on, both of us. We are surrounded by the dominant culture and see what we don’t want to become. So creating what we do want to become is a conscious effort. I am not forcing anything on my son. Self-realization and consciousness-raising comes when the time is right. It doesn’t matter if he has locs and an African name or a Black Lives Matter T-shirt, it is about what is going on within. Once again, it is that internal dialogue and self-direction.

We become what we want to be, by consistently being what we want to become each day – Richard G. Scott
 

  Internal confidence is the root of changing our self-perception. It does not matter what the dominant culture thinks or how they perceive you. As a liberated, conscious Afrikan you must not be externally directed;  and instead, you must be guided by your intuition, your morals and your values. It is not easy when the dominant culture ridicules, abhors and demonizes anything that is Black in order to create a blind reliance and allegiance to what they decide is socially acceptable. This was never meant to include our African history and culture, our unique hair and beautiful melanin-rich skin or include us, as a people, whole. Therefore, we must look to internal clues to guide us away from what represses us, from what tries to obscure the visualization and creation of the liberated Black self, and we must realize this identity.

    When I step outside with my hair wrapped in a crown, I am met with darkened scowls and hostility. If my hair is in a bun or a neat ponytail, I am subjected to conditional love and acceptance, on their terms. No, thank you. I will continue to resist and continue to find the true identity of the liberated Afrikan woman. It may make you uncomfortable, but, that is your problem, not mine. JAH blessings.

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