This is my first blog post as a seriously committed womyn. I have begun blogs, websites, newsletters, even a newspaper but I never could commit to writing regularly because I couldn’t believe myself to be an artist who was bound by the virtue of artistry to do the damn thing I have come here to do without reservation, permission or acknowledgement.
But today I read something by James Baldwin in my Brain Pickings weekly newsletter that cemented me to the truth. I have suffered. I have survived. I have a voice. I must tell my story. Not for any reason other than I came here to do this. Just look at all these composition books, journal, brown paper bags, envelopes and Microsoft Word documents in my room, my office, Yemaya’s room, my husbands study because sometimes I walk through the house crying and clutching my writings like some deranged haint.
I am a double Leo and I tend toward the dramatic naturally. Just work with me. I am that vase and I suspect you are too. We are beautiful and wounded. We are warriors and cowards. We are deeply spiritual, talk to birds and have on occasion said, shit gotdammit this motherfucker is driving me crazy. But we are good as gold and filled with shine. Aren’t we?
So. I will write here to ease my soul, to tell my truth, to fight, to organize, to hold church, to lay down my life so that you may walk across it to higher ground. So what did James Baldwin say that got me all fired up? This.
- Well, one survives that, no matter how… You survive this and in some terrible way, which I suppose no one can ever describe, you are compelled, you are corralled, you are bullwhipped into dealing with whatever it is that hurt you. And what is crucial here is that if it hurt you, that is not what’s important. Everybody’s hurt. What is important, what corrals you, what bullwhips you, what drives you, torments you, is that you must find some way of using this to connect you with everyone else alive. This is all you have to do it with. You must understand that your pain is trivial except insofar as you can use it to connect with other people’s pain; and insofar as you can do that with your pain, you can be released from it, and then hopefully it works the other way around too; insofar as I can tell you what it is to suffer, perhaps I can help you to suffer less. Then, you make — oh, fifteen years later, several thousand drinks later, two or three divorces, God knows how many broken friendships and an exile of one kind or another — some kind of breakthrough, which is your first articulation of who you are: that is to say, your first articulation of who you suspect we all are….JAMES BALDWIN