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I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.

18 Feb

80 years ago today Audre Lorde was born.

AL

This morning I saw this picture on Facebook and while I knew I had read the quote before it did not really resonant with me.

This afternoon as I was walking my dog the quote came back to me, “I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.”  All I could think was that I was afraid of everything. When I got back to the house and climbed in bed for nap (something I rarely have time for), I noticed one of my business cards on the floor. On the back was printed: “I am deliberate and afraid of nothing”. I thought to myself, had I really forgotten that quote? A few months ago the quote meant enough to me, to be printed on my business cards. I felt that quote and believed it for my life. Now just a few months later I barely recognize those words. Truth is I am barely recognizing myself.

Today I am grateful. I am grateful for the spirit and the light that is Audre Lorde. This fierce Black lesbian feminist warrior poet, who left a body of work and a legacy that, teaches us how to survive. To survive in spaces where we were never meant to. To define ourselves. To speak. To survive. How to deal with fear. How to use anger. The erotic.  That teaches us the power of freeing ourselves and others. On days like today when fear surrounds my body I am grateful for Audre Lorde. On mornings like last Sunday when I finally ended a silence that has crippled me since I was 16, despite my fears I spoke my truth…on mornings like those I grateful for Audre Lorde. I am indebted to my ancestors, those fierce Black women who came before and just by surviving showed me I could.

As part of my interview for my new position, I had to teach a class. I used Audre Lorde’s “The transformation of silence into language and action,” that was a deliberate choice. I understood despite my fears, the ancestors were walking with me and guiding me. From my conversations with my new colleagues, I believe it was teaching that lesson, that got me the job.

Happy Birthday Audre, may your light always shine in the darkest of places. Ase.

A Litany for Survival by Audre Lorde

For those of us who live at the shoreline

standing upon the constant edges of decision

crucial and alone

for those of us who cannot indulge

the passing dreams of choice

who love in doorways coming and going

in the hours between dawns

looking inward and outward

at once before and after

seeking a now that can breed

futures

like bread in our children’s mouths

so their dreams will not reflect

the death of ours

***

 For those of us

who were imprinted with fear

like a faint line in the center of our foreheads

learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk

for by this weapon

this illusion of some safety to be found

the heavy-footed hoped to silence us

For all of us

this instant and this triumph

We were never meant to survive.

***

And when the sun rises we are afraid

it might not remain

when the sun sets we are afraid

it might not rise in the morning

when our stomachs are full we are afraid

of indigestion

when our stomachs are empty we are afraid

we may never eat again

when we are loved we are afraid

love will vanish

when we are alone we are afraid

love will never return

and when we speak we are afraid

our words will not be heard

nor welcomed

but when we are silent

we are still afraid.

***

So it is better to speak

remembering

we were never meant to survive.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on February 18, 2014 in Academia, Holidays, politics

 

Tags: , , , , ,

One response to “I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.

  1. yrolliug

    February 26, 2014 at 3:47 am

    Funny I was just about to write about silence and I saw this. I still have that card too.

     

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