Our future firewood
save the stories please
Our future firewood
save the stories please
We have experienced another year of alterations that cinched the seams of us all. Making us more creative as we have looked inward, allowing us to touch the sensitive parts of ourselves that we buried under work. Making us work harder to be shown as irreplaceable and durable. Our worth tossed between the inevitable revelation that we must still take care of ourselves and others, financially, emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
1) No one needs another TOP 3-5 list
Listening to the needs and wants of others helps you push product, whether the product is you or your ideas. But many folks, these days, aren’t seeking that type of click-bait. They need more than a list, a list of which you’ve devised based on self-help ideas gathered in most common places. Without strategies that help people apply these ideas and skills you suggest, your posting becomes a reminder of deficits. It is advice without advising.
Point your audience in the direction of what you intend to share with them. Names and links that allow individuals to take a deeper dive into the subject you are illuminating. In the medium of writing or research, this would be included in footnotes or endnotes. This is how you support your reliability speaking on a topic. Even this caters to the speaker’s position but it also reassures and supports the audience.
I know we want to present ourselves a particular way to the wider audience we can reach and possibly be exactly that which they want reflected back to them. Is that really you? I mean, go ahead and be a cardboard cutout and wave at the public with an ever-present grin. That’s less work than being a cog or an automaton. Which is definitely more work than being a bot. So be yourself. If that allows you to be real and raw with others, honest in a way that frees anyone from the binds of what suppresses us, then that is good work.
When ignorance arises to attack that good work, it’s not a sign to stop. It is not welcomed; to find that opposition to our best selves be given power to silence us. Question our intentions for the betterment of everyone. If that work isn’t good enough for others, it must be good enough for you. Assure yourself of what you share and why you share so when it is called into question you are ready for that conversation or confrontation; even if that confrontation is with the Self.
The highs and lows of the last 2 years are palpable. Partnerships broken and made whole. Lives lost to the very same mortal toils as before the before. The distance between family, friends and the ideas they ponder. Getting back to normal has not happened. Believing “normal” is what we need is a reminder that some of us would prefer a blindfold. Live as we always did, some of us willfully ignorant, others vying for a liberation found on the other side of pristine glass.
4) Do something for you
Read more books. Question. Be kind. Be honest with yourself. Rest. Let the inevitable guilt go. Enter each day as if it is a new year. Don’t commit to a daily routine that makes you feel beholden. Praying, eating, sleeping, exercising, and drinking water can happen when you need them to, especially when you may need more prayer and water than you think.
I wish you good fortune today and tomorrow. May your dreams be realized, may you realize your true dreams.
Cicely Tyson, featured in the cast photo far left, flatters in every light. She has passed on (1924-2021). The day of the Full Moon. A great power.
I’m sure a film historian or artist biographer could write something much more profound about Miss Tyson. But I’m going to tell you this. She acted in films that made you proud to be Black or a woman or poor or struggling. None of these things are strictly tragic roles. She uplifted what was heavy. She took her light and made you look at what’s dark.
The above photo is from the series The Women of Brewster Place based on the book by Gloria Naylor. It highlights the lives of the women living in a tenement home. They are all Black archetypes, “representation” before I knew what it was or that I needed it. It premiered in 1989. Even as a child I saw myself reflected in the pain of these people on the margins. Trying to survive with their dignity in tact. Demanding dignity no matter the lifestyle.
Thank you Miss Tyson, for all the work you’ve done. In gratitude for the legacy you leave behind. In honor of the life of a Black girl born in 1924.