Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wishful Thinking: Reflection and (Re)Vision

My body has spoken. One of the best words of advice I have recently received was from a fellow blogger hermana, Sudy, who said, "your body never lies." This is probably the most honest blog entry I've written in a long time.

Lately I've been insulated by the "go, go, go" motion of daily living. My body is tired, unmotivated, and unwilling to invest energy in situations I have in the past been able to sustain. I've only recently stopped to think, reflect, and scratch the surface of this ongoing depression. My mind took me to the one place I've been scared to go: What if the goal I've set for myself is not conducive to my role in inciting the change I want to incite? As a go-getter, strong willed (read: stubborn), goal oriented individual I was frightened by this prospect. Often times though, our bodies will take us to places our minds will not allow us to wander.

So I entertained this possibility. I had to reexamine my vision and its clarity. I had to reevaluate the course I was on. I had to rethink what epistemology I was working with. How much of my theoretical framework is male-centered? Has my vision been co-opted? An even worse fear came upon this reflection: Have I been unknowingly functioning through a framework that negates me and others like me (i.e. woc, queer, survivors of sexual and domestic violence, etc)?

Lex calls these silenced spaces. After talking to Lex, another blog hermana, I was surprised to find that someone else understood so clearly what I was experiencing. Ashley, another hermana I know from the world of educational institutions has experienced the exact same process of self examination. I am so blessed to share words with these amazing women.

Some of the questions I've begun to consider are:
How much do schooling institutions limit the way I want to reach my community? What was my vision before I became inspired to work in schools? What is my vision now, after working my way into that goal? How have others worked to inspire that goal and is this a vision that I truly encompass? Is this truly my vision? How effective is this vision in addressing and working through the issues that are important to me and those in my community? Do schools offer the authentic spaces for healing, decolonization, and self/community -actualization? Am I most productive in spaces of actualization vs. infiltration? Which one, if not both, or is there some other framework that is more conducive to epistemologies that reflect experiences like my own as a queer woman of color and a survivor? What DOES a queer/woman of color/survivor epistemological framework look like???

As part of trying to explore these questions, I decided to start by using a tool I've come across (sort of serendipitously on several occasions) through others' blogs. Its called a wishful thinking list. I sighted it first in Lex's blog and then mendi lewis obadike's website. I'm using it as a tool to clarify for myself what my experience is, what my vision is, and what my community is. This list is dedicated to my mother, myself, and other survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The number of items, 39, represents the number of years my mother has survived an abusive marriage with my father. The list is a work in progress and I could probably make other lists dedicated to other groups. This particular group or issue is one that stands in the forefront of my experience right now. It is the issue my body is working through, and the one my mother is working through in everything she does. Its a public issue that tends to get only personal attention:

1) People are attracted what you say before what you wear.
2) Your lovers respect you out of love and admiration.
3) When looking for work, building friendships, or making love, there is equal balance in power on all sides.
4) When you speak, your accent always enhances the profundity of your words.
5) At all learning institutions, teachers and instructors are aware of your presence and the learning needs of others like yourself.
6) Others do not see you as up for game as you walk to the corner store and any man that comes to close proximity is not a threat.
7) If you feel that the fire has burnt out, your lover will not manipulate you into staying.
8) Your body is unscarred and holds memories of only love.
9) Your heart is unscarred and unafraid to love.
10) You control who has access to your body.
11) Your lovers remind you that they are blown away by your keen insight and intelligence.
12) Male leaders in your community are genuine, consistent, and acknowledge your skills as necessary assets to your community.
13) The female leaders in your community are plentiful and draw from their experiences as women; they are a reflection of you.
14) Financial difficulties have never been a factor in deciding whether to bear children or not.
15) You feel alive, healthy, and strong in your body, all the time, everywhere.
16) What, how, and where you worship has never incited fear or violence.
17) All human touch you experience from others will come out of love.
18) You are calm, comfortable, sociable, and happy around others you don’t know.
19) No one will try to isolate you from the people you love.
20) You know where you came from, what your name is, and where you want to go.
21) You have memories of your father guiding and loving you with words of encouragement, inspiration, wisdom, and love.
22) Your cultural practices are valued by those different than you.
23) There is no dominant culture; the only thing dominant is diversity and love.
24) Nobody takes you for granted.
25) Your children are safe wherever they are, whomever they are with, and whatever they are doing.
26) Any country you choose to travel to acknowledges the strength, value, and inner-beauty of all women.
27) You can acquire clothing and other goods without wondering if other women and children were abused in the process of its creation.
28) When you speak, others listen.
29) Every opportunity for intellectual, physical, and spiritual growth is available to you just when you need it.
30) When others use your name in conversation, you are assured that they refer to your greatness and talent.
31) When you dream, you smile in your sleep.
32) When I smell your scent in a piece of garment, I am reminded of memories of you as always happy, free, and loved.
33) Your children admire your strength.
34) There is always time to pursue what your heart desires.
35) You know what your heart desires.
36) Your stories are considered anecdotes for wisdom.
37) You consume food without guilt.
38) Every tear your have shed has been out of joy.
39) Every moment you spend alone is done with self-love and out of choice.

Much like BFP's 40 Days of Contemplation I've decided to embark on a journey to define my epistemological framework by reading works by other radical women of color, queer woc, and works by woc on survival. Audre Lorde, Sandra Cisneros, Andrea Smith, Patricia Collins, and Anzaldua are among those in my list. If you could recommend any please share. Also, if you've got a list to share of your own, please link it here, as I am continually inspired by others who are exploring their visions as well.


lex said...

Ashe! Ashe-o! Sis this is beautiful. I am so honored to have anything to do with the miracles that happen when your body speaks.

You are such a blessing to this world, to your familia and to yourself (in reverse order perhaps).

Let me know if you want me to post any version or part of this on www.wishesfulfilled.blogspot.com...

and blessings on your journey of reading. I am writing right now about what theory of survival Audre Lorde developed through her poetry and teaching and I look forward in staying in conversation with you about that.

Aligned with you in love and the open energy of transformed connection.

Tigera Consciente said...

Yes please repost,
and yes please share,
and thank you :)

Anonymous said...

I just happened to see your blog and I was impressed by your knowledge and thougts. You are so intellectual and I really like that and I enjoy reading everything you post. There is nothing like an smart women. Keep up the excellent work.

bfp said...

girl, i love this. I read it, and I breathed for the first time today.

thank you for sharing--for uncurling my mind a bit--and baby, i looooove that pic at the end. i love it.

pomegranate queen said...

"your body never lies" - this is something i've come to learn, the hard way. thank you thank you thank you for this post. for being so honest. this was so inspiring for me, especially at this particular point in my life. and with the latest entries i've been posting. there's so much life in this post. so much fight. so much breath.

much love.

Anonymous said...

when my daughter dreams, she still smiles in her sleep. i hope along with your other wishes that she lives in a world where can she still have dreams that create spontaneous smiles. thanks for your list. my body has been feeling crappy today. and as i listen to it, i realize that i criticize myself way too much in relation to the life choices that i have made and how socially acceptable they are. thank you for reminding me to thank the universe that we can love ourselves.

afrobuddhess said...

tc, you are my inspiration...

What does it look like? It looks like this blog, your thoughts, your voice, our endless and brain pumping (and thumping seriously, me head hurts, in a good way, after we exchange) gchat dialogue.

I am hoping to break into this bloggin biz, on a serious level after I get settled. I even took my blog down so that I can refocus and adjust to where I am right now, but know that I am still reading/thinking, and am right next to you questioning and creating.