I AM

I AM…

The Universe passing through the life of a Black Woman; Her experience living inside Black skin. In the South, when an afro and roaming the Black neighborhood was the thing to do.

My life dived onto the neighborhood, to the corner store and down the street. Parties in basements, music blaring load, stealing kisses behind the cellar door.

Moved out of the projects into a brick home on a street lined with trees. The river flowed in our back yard. Picked up balls golfers hit on Shawnee Golf Course, sold them as golfers passed by.

Shawnee Park housed WLOU Summer Jams. A city tradition each summer that feed our community love. At sixteen, family life started to take a back seat to friends and hanging out.

Bused to a school across town with white girls. First time I had been out my neighborhood. The girls acted just like me. I do not know what the fuss was about. I felt like an outsider sitting in Geometry. The other black girl soon disappeared leaving me to fend for myself.

High school life became a living tragedy. I left in the middle of eleventh grade because the mother wanted me away from Frank. Came back my senior year, to the same school. Then suddenly, the counselor pulled me aside as my belly started to rise. She told me about a school for unwed mothers and off I departed. I graduated with my class but was not being invited to any parties. My little baby and Frank were the ones who greeted me.

The Branch’s, a modern day Family Clan became my new family after my parents split up. I was in the hospital twice, in a span of two years because of physical and mental abuse from Frank. My father’s second wife, Gloria saw me through the break-up when the physical and mental abuse was too much to bear.

Soon I started college looking for a better life. I found a love for learning, Philosophy and Psychology. It taught me amazing things.  I began this quest to absorb everything, as much as my brain could hold. I left formal education and self-education and the library became my new best friends.

I did not have a voice; I could not find the words to speak. I stuffed my emotions down deep and continued to live my life until it too was too much to bear. I gave up teaching, what I loved most, walked away from marriage to a man I thought I would always love and my faith practice of fifteen years.

I felt betrayed and cut off from society so all I could do was write. I wrote myself a new life, I wrote a past and future too. I wrote about sorrow, joy and happiness.  I wrote about the invisibility of being Black in America.

My life inverted in 2001, like a perfect storm. Words streamed out and I wrote poetry. First, was the downpour then slowly a stream when I learned of expertise?

Writing liberated the woman in me and healed my broken heart. I have come to realize. I am not this body, not this gender either, but the Universe in a drop of water. A small voice that became loud when realized it is the power of Love. I am on a mission to build a Culture of Healing that restores the minds and bodies of Black Girls.

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