I cannot believe it’s been 7 years since the release of my first project, Prevail: Poems on Life, Love, and Politics. It’s arrival marked one of the brightest and darkest periods of my life.
Two weeks prior to its release, I found myself jobless. A total WTF moment that sent me reeling… Spiraling down. I was singing a tune that was akin to the jazz standard “Good Morning Heartache,” except in this case it was “Good Morning / Good Afternoon / Good Night Depression, Anxiety, Shame, Low Self-Esteem, and Lack of Confidence.” It took awhile to grow through it. While I didn’t realize it immediately, it proved to be a blessing in disguise.
This reality check gave me the chance to do things I always wanted to do. Publish my work. Write, write, and write some more. Perform. Connect and work with other artists, creatives, and organizations committed to the arts and social justice. Complete my MBA. I did what I had to do. About a year or so later, the landscape had changed. My outlook was much brighter.
Life is a trip. At times, you may feel ill equipped for the journey. You may even hate certain portions of the journey. But it’s necessary. It lays the foundation for what’s too come. As I say, “No matter what happens in life, we must PREVAIL!“ Much love and gratitude to all who’ve been there with me and continue to support me throughout this journey. You are true blessings!
My partner and I got up early this morning so we could get to our polling station before it opened (at 6 AM). It was very good thinking on our part considering how long the line was, even at 5:50 AM. But seeing the line of people this early was a beaming sign. It meant people were not going to be swayed in any way. They were going to let their voices be heard. The cold—even with the temperature below freezing—was no deterrent either. That’s because the cause was/is worth it.
The cause is worth it because my ancestors fought too long and too hard for all of us to be able to vote. They knew the power of the voice and that we’d only falter if we remained silent. They recognized the importance of the collective…and that if we all had the chance to vote that we could collectively change our world for the better. My ancestors died so that we could we could be free and live in a world where equality and justice reign supreme. Therefore I don’t take any of it vain.
I also don’t take it lightly the (ongoing) issue of voter suppression and oppression throughout this country. There’s too much at stake for any of us to be cast aside or denied our right to exercise our political voice. And after being in a long line of voters today and seeing the long lines of people voting early in days prior, I know that this right—this precious right—is something we all (should) hold dear. As someone said exiting the polling station this morning, “You’ve got to show up in order to show out.” And I’m so pleased, so happy, so grateful that people across this country have/are doing just that.
Never think that you don’t matter or that you don’t count. Because you do. If you feel you aren’t being represented well or at all, you have the right to voice your concerns and act accordingly. If we fail to act or we don’t exercise our rights, then we’re giving in. We’re signing off and are just as accountable as the parties in office. Or as many will say—if we don’t vote, we don’t have a voice. Remember, you and your voice are worth more than they’ll ever admit. Why else do you think they up the ante on tactics to scare us away from the polls (especially during Presidential Elections)?
I don’t care what scare tactics they use. I wouldn’t care if it was subzero or 100+ degrees outside this morning. If I had to stand in line all day today to vote, I would do it. I recognize the power of my voice and power of my vote. And I’m glad to see that so many of my fellow Americans do too.
I want to vote and work for a way of life that honors the feminine; a way that acknowledges the theft of the wisdom female and dark Mother leadership might have provided our spaceship all along. I am not thinking of a talking head kind of gal: happy to be mixing it up with the baddest bad boys on the planet her eyes a slit her mouth a zipper. No, I am speaking of true regime change. Where women rise to take their place en masse at the helm of earth’s frail and failing ship… ~ Alice Walker, “Democratic Womanism,” 2012
During an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now, writer and activist Alice Walker recited her poem “Democratic Womanism,” written in honor of the late Kenyan Nobel Peace Prize laureate Wangari Maathai.” In this poem, she challenges us to rethink the current practices of our leadership and to question the effectiveness of a political system that has only let its people down, and has led to the further destruction of life and the well-being of the planet. “Democratic Womanism” encourages us to look towards the wisdom of women, as they have have so expertly led, managed, and taken care of all aspects life and the planet. By doing so, we ultimately have a chance to change the course of life and our world.
What does Walker’s “Democratic Womanism” mean to you? What is its relevance in relation to the 2012 election?
People say to write about what you know… I’m here to tell you, no one wants to read that, ’cause you don’t know anything… So write about something you don’t know. And don’t be scared, ever. ~ Toni Morrison, USA Today
We find comfort in writing about the things we are most comfortable with—those things we find most familiar. While there’s nothing wrong with it, one has to wonder—where’s the challenge? Where’s the risk? In the long term, what’s the growth potential for you as a writer? What will the audience truly learn or gain from you in the process?
It’s so easy to get caught up into the formulas for writing, especially if they’ve brought you a fair amount of success. It’s safer that way, isn’t it? But as creative individuals—we thrive when we’re challenged. We thrive when we’re put to the test. We thrive when we let go of our inhibitions, take on the unknown, and, without over-thinking, simply create that which fuels our souls.
You learn more about yourself, others, and the world when you step outside of the realm you call home. Get unsafe. Move beyond the known. Embrace the unknown. Be inspired by the unknown. There’s no telling what magnificence may come about.