I just realized the big difference between many of us:

I am furious, certainly frustrated, but I’m not afraid! Yes, this ish is frightening, but the US has NEVER been safe for me or mine. This land, this homeland that was once a place where my ancestors lived in relative civility, was not “America.” The nightmares of history aren’t ancient dusty memories. My childhood was peopled with family who had been enslaved, neighbors with tattooed arms, grandparents who told stories about parents returning from the Trail of Tears. I’ve had more encounters with racism (including being held for hours when trying to re-enter the US every freaking time I’ve traveled) than you’ve had pairs of shoes.
So none of this is new or surprising, nor did it happen overnight. This is what it’s always been, just now in your face, yet apparently still deniable for many. It stinks, and I’m really glad that people are protesting and organizing and resisting. It’s about time all you Rip Van Winkles woke up, and I hope you’ve got your crates of Social No Doze/Redbull/red pills handy and that those political alarm clocks are on on a timer so that you don’t drift back into that convenient and comfortable coma. We have grown old and tired in the struggle, waiting for the heat to get close enough to singe you into not only wakefulness, but the genuine solidarity that can only come when you really get what chronic oppression, equality, and justice mean, on the ground, not as merely as words or symbols, or intellectual agreements.
People keep talking about “love” to me, but by the way that they’re using the term, it’s like spitting at an inferno. True love grows. It develops over time and trials, errors (complete fuck ups, actually) and a whole lot of difficult, painful, monotonous encounters, confrontations, tears, deep listening, real talk, and maturity. It grows from the trust that can only develop over time and going through shit together and getting through it, like veterans of war.
So stay woke, friends. Stay sober, woke, and committed. You must do right because it IMG_4436is right, not just because it touches you and yours, and most certainly not just to win. I know we will, but we’d better have a clear vision of what that means, the costs, and our willingness to get there. This is life work, my friends, not a “moment.”
A luta continua
My FB page 7:59 AM

Daughters: It don’t have to be true to be real.

MomMozella Hatwood 12/31/06

I have just figured it out: for all women raised by southern women-Black, White, Native- it doesn’t matter- there’s a common denominator, a way of dealing and not dealing with stress that seems to be passed on from generation to generation. The thread of a very particular insanity flows through us although I’m unsure as to whether or not it’s in the blood, the bone, or the brain.

We seem all, in some way that’s not always obvious, to be playing to a “theme.” Yes, any good shrink will tell you that all humans are playing out certain archetypes and that the archetype has a story or stories and that in the course of our lives, we might play out several such stories, but there’s generally an overriding “type”that fits. Yet the southern version is a bit different. It’s more immediate and both less and more mysterious than the eternal struggle between the ego and the id. We write books and plays, choreograph and perform dances, skits, and dramas, on and off the stage. We sing, we decorate, we fashion our lives to support the theme we’ve been given and we pay homage, more consciously than most, to ancestors we may or may not venerate.

We “daughters of the dust” know better, and yet we still believe. That’s the essential difference and I cannot account for it other than to say that we’re taught by mothers-mouth to ear- who themselves excelled to varying degrees, in creatively draping the windows to suit the motifs  of their own lives. We are the best of good girls and we bring being bad to high art. We seem more often than not, to know who our audience is (the family, of course) and we seem to accept the boundaries on some level even when we dance on stages ten thousand miles away. We will dazzle and thrill you, charm the whiskers off a cat, go all “Bette Davis ” on you if need be, invoke the wrath in a glance, and we do all that we do wrapped in a cloak not of invincibility, but of right(eous)ness. We may be crippled and crazy and we may have made a complete mess of our lives and the lives of those around us, but in our hearts, we know that we do know what’s right and the proper order of things, and that if we can only “get ourselves straight/harness our resources/muster our strengths/ rest awhile/gather our wits/regroup/have a lie down/ a cup of tea-coffee-pick-me-up or just a finger of Jim Beam or a drop of whiskey or rye or a glass of sherry, nice ripe wine, grandmother’s ‘medicine’, a simple ‘cokecola’, or ‘that nice chamomile/peppermint/sassafras tea’, then We-the true women among women- can still somehow make it all work out!

I no longer care to delude myself that this is not true. It’s what we believe and it was passed onto us in some mysterious way, from our adored and benighted mothers, no matter what our relationship to them might be. There is great humor in this, often intended, frequently unamusing, and certainly not jokey.  I’m not sure how this works and why it’s different than the relationship that all other daughters have with their own crazy mothers, I just know that it is, and maybe that’s the only real point. My upbringing tells me so it must be true. Hah.