Room. Something that I am learning from practicing yoga. Let it breathe. Let life breathe. Give it space. Give it room. No need to respond right away, it’s okay to give it time. And there are more moments available to us than we realize. In-between the projects that consume us there is a life that breathes. In one practice, the observation given was “What if all life is, is breath?” What if that is all life is? In and out, in and out, until the last breath is exhaled. If I pay attention to my breath, I pay attention to each moment that I am living, and life becomes a different sort of thing. It becomes much more than a “to do” list that occupies and cuts up the day; it becomes the number of breaths I am blessed to take each day; the seconds, minutes, hours, days that are given to us for us to experience the world, in whatever form that experience takes.
What does it mean to hear a woman speak? What does it sound like to the ears, and do her utterances have any content? Are they just consonants, vowels, words strung together in an attempt to convey a jumbled and incompetent message, or is there more to what she says than the sound her voice makes, often (though not always) a pitch or two high than her male counterparts?
Coming into spirituality the way I did changed the Christian myth that there is nothing we can do – we are totally powerless. I found out that when there was trouble, my people did not say “o.k., we can’t fight, we just have to let god handle it.” They went and made sacrifices, they evoked their gods and goddesses, they became possessed, and they went out there and fought. You learn to take power when there is a presence behind you.
Luisah Teish, This Bridge Called My Back, p. 217
See she’s telepathic/ Call it black girl magic/ Yeah she scares the government/De ja Vu a Tubman/ We go missing by the hundreds/ Ain’t nobody checkin’ for us ain’t nobody checkin’ for us/ The camera loves us Oscar doesn’t/ Ain’t nobody checkin’ for us ain’t nobody checkin’ for us/ They want us in the kitchen/ Kill our sons with lynchin’s/ We get loud about it/ Oh, now we’re the bitches/ Look at what they did to my sister/ Last century, last week… – Blk Girl Soldier – Jamila Woods
who told you anybody wants to hear from you, you ain’t nothing but a black woman. – hattie gossett
Who am I, a poor Chicanita from the sticks, to think I could write. – Gloria E. Anzaldúa
As first generation writers, we defy the myth that the colour of our skin prevents us from using the pen to create. hattie gossett’s piece, the introduction to her first book, is presented here in recognition of that act of defiance. But it is not enough to have our books published. We must actively engage in establishing the criteria and the standards by which our work can be viewed.
Gloria E. Anzaldúa, “Speaking in Tongues: The Third World Woman Writer,” This Bridge Called My Back, p. 181
THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED TO:
Dr. John Sharpe of London, who in 1957, a decade before physicians in England could legally perform an abortion for any reason other than the health of the woman, took the considerable risk of referring for an abortion a twenty-two-year-old American on her way to India.
Knowing only that she had broken an engagement at home to seek an unknown fate, he said, “You must promise me two things. First, you will not tell anyone my name. Second, you will do what you want to do with your life.”
Dear Dr. Sharpe, I believe you, who knew the law was unjust, would not mind if I say this so long after your death:
I’ve done the best I could with my life.
This book is for you.
Race is a concept of having to be twice as qualified, twice as good to go half as far. And I feel like at this point, in these economic times, it’s like being three times as good to go half as far.
Barbara Smith, This Bridge Called My Back, pp. 123 – 124