I recently read Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. I had always heard people talking about Audre Lorde, but I just never got round to picking up any of her material until now. It was quite the education; I loved it and would happily recommend anyone pick up her material. It’s not as dense as reading Toni Morrison (in that I was not checking the meaning of every tenth word) but just as sharp and piercing in her arguments.
The emerging theme from the book is how do we get free / past the chains imposed because of our race, class, gender, or sexual orientation? Which remains a valid question today despite some of her writings being over 40 years old. Yes, there have been slight shifts, but I will be honest that as I read some of her arguments, it also felt like little had also changed.
Her work definitely confirms that racism is the ultimate distraction.
Having said that, some of her writing and thoughts made me very uncomfortable especially when I applied my true north, which is the Bible and so I wasn’t fully proselytised, but it was quite informative and challenged or refined some of my thinking.
From the specific essay titled Poetry is not a Luxury I loved the idea of poetry as giving language to experiences that are unique in a living way not the sterile way that forefathers previously considered. Her later work also talks of the low barriers to entry to writing poetry compared to say a novel that requires time, space and income while everyone can write a poem, perhaps not me, but certainly most people can.
The essay Man Child: A Black Lesbian Feminist’s Responseblew my mind and particularly this quote on page 74:
The strongest lesson I can teach my son is the same lesson I teach my daughter: how to be who he wishes to be for himself. And the best way I can do this is to be who I am and hope that he will learn from this not how to be me, which is not possible, but how to be himself.
Another essay that spoke to me and I felt so deeply that I read it over days and not in one sitting was Eye to Eye: Black Women, Hatred and Anger. I love how she charts the anger that women feel – the source and how it plays out across various scenarios. Having done that so well, a part of me could understand why but I also struggled to understand why Black women then turn on each other, we don’t turn that anger outwards but at each other. Throughout the chapter, you certainly feel the anger, but it is so contained and well explained. She also talks of someone grieving the death of her mother and how sad she was that no one would see and love her as her mother did – her mother felt her, saw her, and loved her in her entirety. In one breath I felt my mom’s love and hoped that my daughter always the knows the same of me. Finally, from page 66, I loved this quote:
Mothering ourselves means learning how to be both kind and demanding in the teeth of failure as well as in the face of success, and not misnaming either.
I also loved the essay, The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.
And I’ll testify of the battles You’ve won How You were my portion when there wasn’t enough (That’s right) And I’ll testify of the seas that we’ve crossed The waters You parted, the waves that I’ve walked
I am having a tough week and this song has been challenging and speaking to me. Hope you are blessed through it.
In this season of late nights and quiet early mornings, of little cries and fussy babies I am learning three truths about God and really reflecting on that.
God the Creator. Throughout the pregnancy I have seen how God creates little beautiful people and the level of care and His great attention to detail. His ways make sense and when you read the Science behind it all, you cannot help but worship Him deeper and love Him even more.
God the Provider.Isaiah 49:15 talks about how just as mother will never forget the child she is breastfeeding so also God will never forget us and will always show us compassion because He has engraved us on the palms of His hands. God knows all the details of our lives and He sees to all our needs from the small to the large. He is our Source and Sustainor.
God is Love. I love my daughter and it sometimes overwhelms me just how much the little lady has captivated us and then I think that God loves me even more than that. That He loved me so much that He sent His only begotten Son to die for me. Oh how He loves us!!
What does God mean to you as we approach this Easter season?
I recently went through an exercise to define my top values in life and it made me very reflective because values are something you never think of until someone crosses it then you realise, woah! something is off here.
My faith in God is something that I feel very strongly about and hope that people realise when they meet me. It guides my decisions, my reactions and my feelings through life. I believe in One God, the Father the Almighty, One God in Three Persons, He died and rose again and will return. That God, even when things in life go against this thinking, my prayer is I stand in my belief in God.
Family is very important to me. Loyalty to family, love for family. Enjoying your family. My sisters are truly God’s best gift to me and if we weren’t related, I would still want to know. My folks are the bomb.com. I always say that I would pay good money to live with them for a month some where. With the Mr, the idea is to make our home a home so we both have this enabling and loving environment where we both return to and just want to dwell in and enjoy each other. As you get older and refine your circle of friends, you ostensibly end up with friends that are like family and it is important to cherish those as well and invest in them. Friendship is important.
Serving God and fellow man is another thing of importance to me. If I do not give back to those that are less fortunate, if I am not moved by the plight of those less fortunate than me, then what I have is not worth it. Serving in Church is an expression of my faith and that must be done but I also still delight in that.
Working hard and being my best given my constraints is important. I love to set goals and work towards them and that feeling of meeting them and sometimes even exceeding expectations is so refreshing. I am not so concerned about being the first or the best, but being my best is good enough.
How I work hard is by being resilient. I take stock of the failure or the setbacks and then moving forward. I care about meeting my goals and not giving up when things are tough or not going as well as I expected.
Stability and Freedom that often comes from being educated or being financially stable. Also, from having family or friends do what they say they will, when they will do it. It helps clarify life and make things much simpler for you to really perform at that optimum level. As a worker, I also find that I like the autonomy to make my own decisions and work at my own pace as opposed to being micro-managed.
Fun and Play because you need to refresh, slow down and enjoy the successes otherwise they are useful and you do not perform at your optimum. For me this looks like reading books, listening to music, hanging with friends and family, journaling, watching telly or traveling.
What are your top values? What defines you and makes you unique?
This year’s study of BSF begun with the book of Joshua and I am in awe of God and His faithfulness to His Word and His Character. God never lies and He can be depended on always as we see in these three remarkable verses above. I can trust God with my present and future cares, wishes and thoughts. He can be trusted.
I have also learnt about obedience through Joshua’s response to God’s commands. He was swift in His obedience and He always trusted that God would come through for him and the Israelites. How was he so sure? Because he abided in God’s word and spent time in prayer such that he knew what to ask, how to trust and how to obey. I want that, don’t you?
7 “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left,that you may be successful wherever you go.
8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7-9)
True success is found in meditating on the Word of God and in carefully obeying His precepts. I will be honest and say that this is not how I often think of success but my prayer is that for the days to come, this is how I would view it and by the grace of God attempt to live my life out like this.