The Year of Realization

“This year, we were women, not brides or trinkets, not an off-brand gender, Instruct your babies. Remind them that the year has passed to be docile or small. Some of us said for the first time that we were women, took this oath of solidarity seriously. Some of us bore children and some of us did not, and none of us questioned whether that made us real or appropriate or true.”
Chinaka Hodge

collage

2016 was the year that I stopped referring to myself as a girl.

This was the year that I realized the harm that I was doing by always apologizing.
I’m sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry.
Taking the blame, taking the responsibility, never taking the credit. This was the year I followed the trail of this behavior back to its root and started pulling that beast out of the dirt of my psyche.

This was the year I realized that I was enough. That I no longer defined myself by who loved me or did not love me. This was the year I stopped bending to get people to love me. This was the year that I decided to love who I love as they are and demand the same in return.

This was the year that I watched my own daughter silently clean up the mess of her brothers, my sons. This was the year we made them clean up their own mess.

2016 was the year that I realized that some people prefer me and my sisters to be flat, correctable characters in their perverse narrative. That they still blame us for eating that apple. This was the year I realized the lengths that these people will go to in order to protect their fragile narrative.

To those people I offer this warning: this was the year of realization.
To myself, to my sisters and brothers, to our daughters and sons, I offer this promise:
this was the year of realization.

“Tell her the truth, how you lived in spite of crooked odds. Tell her you were brave, and always, always in the company of courage, mostly the days when you just had yourself. Tell her she was born as you were, as your mothers before, and the sisters beside them, in the age of legends, like always.”
C. Hodge

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