I once had a situation tell me I walked too hard. (For those of you who are unfamiliar, the term “situation” refers to an non-committed, ambiguous -ship of some type) I specifically remember him telling me I “sounded like an elephant” as I moved around the second floor of his sparsely decorated, frat house meets mancave of a condo. Interestingly enough, he never complained about the way I would strut in heels, nor my poise when commanding a room. But with my shoes & bra off, my scarf on, my mask off, cape off & guard down, I... was too heavy.
He was right.
The load I carry is heavy.
The weight upon my shoulders is heavy.
My heart is heavy. Very heavy at times.
The power of my light is heavy.
My energy is heavy.
My juju is heavy.
My love is heavy.
My divine femininity is way. too. heavy...
I am a woman. A Black woman. I am a college educated, cisgendered millennial navigating a system (ALL The Systems) designed to reinforce my oppression while constantly battling antiquated and minimizing social constructs. Day in and day out, I’m bombarded with messages intended to curate, dictate, prescribe, and measure the projection and demonstration of MY female identity. Not just publicly, but even within the confines of our intimate relationships women are met with pressure to remain “kept, pallatible & appropriate.”
You got so heavy on me...
October always seems to bring major changes for me. Each year when this dimepiece rolls around, she brings in tote utter cosmic confusion which shakes this methodical, process-driven Virgo to her core. This time around, the cosmos have conspired for me to loose my resistance and instead enter into the season with a healthy spirit of curiosity. Translation: trust nothing, question everything, Erika. Nestled in The Year of WTF, I have centered my questioning around the one thing that typically comes last on the list of priorities: My Needs. (Yes, as a proper noun...because they are important AF!) I am allowing the gravitational pull of my inner, unfiltered voice to pave the way for all defense testimonies and cross examination.
You use to be so light and free
You use to smile just looking at me.
One day this week I drive 2 ½ hours to the middle of nowhere Tennessee, facilitated a 4 ½ hour training solo and in heels, then drove 3 hours back home, in a storm, rushing to a board meeting. Typically this would be a sure recipe for zombie Erika. Translation: I’ll be there (because responsibility is one of my StrengthsFinder), but I have zero capacity left to “be on,” thus I’ll skate by on the remnants of my Black Girl Magic autopilot and see this thang through. Instead, I entered, barefoot and bra off, into a space bustling with the baby giggles, toddler kisses, sistergirl affirmations, grace and advocacy all to the cadence of Kendrick Lamar in the background. The truth is, my bra doesn’t make me more of a professional, and my heels don’t dictate my credibility. Children remind us that this fight, our fight for creating lives worth living, is also about modeling those healthy, affirming practices we secretly wish someone had modeled for us as children. And the chorus of feminine voices married with the deep rhythm of masculine melodies beckons my spirit to shed the philosophies, ideologies, and constructs never intended to carry my load.
May we all find and protect those spaces especially created to bear our weight AND the weight we bear.
And the heaviness that lives in us all.