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  • R. Black Doula Chronicles


I'm in a space of trying to heal. "Trying" is the key word in that statement because mostly it feels like an uphill battle. Part of my healing is understanding my identity. I wanted to know where I come from, who's shoulders I stand on, and what community I am carrying along the way. I knew this journey was limitless and would feel frustrating, but now I am just fucking angry. Angry about the stories of my ancestors. I am a BLACK WOMAN. That means something and when I get lumped into a category of woman of color, it feels like a strange place. I see that only certain women within this category is glorified and vilified. They are heard and respected. They may get only a smidgen of what my dark, complicated complexion may experience. It is not about comparison but about experience. I knew I didn't like framing myself or my sisters as POC/WOC. I was darkening and minimizing their experiences as women, as melanin, as true shades. Our existence is beyond their complexion. It is more that the crown on head, the truth of our spirit, and all that is suppose to be right coming from our lips. It is more than the curve in our hips, the ideas that we share and is stolen from us. It is more than pop culture, family gatherings, un-interrupted episodes of Shonda days. I wanted to find a word that made sense. I wanted to get to a place of corrected people when they spoke of us. You do not get to lump us together AND other us in the same sentence. My experiences are separate, more trivial as well as the experience of black trans and non-binary. I remember sitting in a room listening to the experiences of queer, black trans and non-binary community members. I was struct and stood like a statue for 3 hours. I felt honored to be allowed to hear their stories live and in color. Their truth and realness you cannot get from the pages of a book. I spent my life thinking I knew everything and that moment snatch the air right from that thought. So what are my options if I don't want to identity as a POC/WOC?

I expressed to a friend this vary thought. She too identifies as a WOC. I spoke of my frustrations of how I felt they weaponized that word and mis-spoke of our humanity. It felt threatening when they stood on our names and requested reasoning for us in the space. That is how I took it and it angered me. I recently was connected to Audrey Lorde and Toni Morrison Cade and immediately fell in love. I'm such a fan I carry around their work in my book bag, ready to pull it out in front of a crowd. My friend had told me of BIPOC (Black, Indigenious, and People of Color). I kept repeating it and writing it down so that it stuck. I kept the word and put it in my back pocket to review for later. I don't know what I was waiting for. Maybe it didn't seem glamorous enough for me. Another acronym I though,t and what a shame we have to keep using them as way (or reminder) that we are here. That it is okay to take up space.