From where is she to find her strength?
She who is black, female, African, educated, enlightened, talented, critical and awakened. Where is she to find the courage to stand against and above systems of oppression both here in America and back home in Africa? Where is she to find space to breathe and to be human? When will she be allowed to live? Just to live. How can she have agency - and not be subject and bound to the struggles in which she finds herself so frequently entangled? Can she enjoy a manicure on one day and be sitting on a panel of Africana intellectuals the next? Can she to towering above UN dignitaries on one day as she gives her speech on maternal health in Southern Africa and be cowering in a shade by a river with rural women in Turkana the next?
She finds her strength in truth.
She has come to understand the potency of racial relations in the US. She has cried for her unborn black son after witnessing the Freddie Gray riots in Baltimore, the senseless shooting of Treyvon Martin and the other 368 young, unarmed black men that the US state has killed since the beginning of the year. She has come to understand the potency of tribalism and terrorism in her home country Kenya. She has cried for the 147 students who were murdered by Al-Shabaab for seeking a brighter future and for thousands of citizens who have died in ethnically-charged violence.
She finds strength in calculated defiance.
She looks history straight in the face. She returns the gaze. She is alert to those who might seek to reduce her existence: to fetishize her into a simplified caricature that they can manipulate. She acknowledges the injustices that have been committed against her body. She knows whom history has been written to glorify. But she has taken the scales off her eyes and now she writes her own story.
She knows that the two pieces that she stands against capture bits of the torturous but ultimately victorious trajectory that has brought her to where she is today. She knows too that Mary-the-mother-of-Jesus was not White. She knows too that some of her closest friends have revoked the Good News of Jesus Christ. They say that they will not align themselves with a White Supremacist Politik that rid their people of their livelihood and culture. She knows that a confrontation with history leads many to take divergent radical paths.
She finds strength in growth.
She knows that she has a lot to learn about the powers that run the world. She knows that she must maneuver the razor-sharp contours of racism, colourism, sexism, tribalism and radicalism. She is steadfast in her vision. She is present. She cries when she's had too much. She knows she is human. But she never gives up. She never stops trying. She never stops creating. She never stops writing.
She finds strength in her journey.
She's found her voice. She's found the tune to which she can dance and she's playing it herself. She takes on new territory. She is a self-portraitist, a photographer, a film director, an artist, a musician, an actress, a blogger. She works with the tools that she has at hand. Whatever those may be. Every gift that she has she puts to use. Hers will be a beautiful existence. An existence that leaves a mark upon humanity. She will not be silenced. She cannot be silenced.
Her voice is a fragrance.
Her words are sugar and salt with a dash of pepper.
So go forth. Shine. Beam. Radiate. This world remains for your taking.
A yellow daffodil has burst out of a rock and begun to bloom.