In keeping with the spirit of some of my Words of Wisdom posts (I enjoy profiling women writers), I’m sharing a few quotes from June Jordan.
Jordan touched on many of the same issues as discussed by Audre Lorde. I love that Jordan focused on telling her truth through poetry. When you think about it, truth-telling is difficult – or at very least uncomfortable – when you have weighty matters or opinions to discuss. But to be able to tell the truth artistically sound extraordinarily challenging: Jordan, however, did it with ease.
(photo from Affinity Magazine)
Jordan’s poetry often intersected art with politics, race, gender and other issues of representation. She understood that her chosen method of truth telling was distinctly political and self-reflective.
Jordan’s writings are a testimony to the power of poetry to embolden and empower readers. After all, she famously stated, “We are the ones we have been waiting for”. And what is more powerful than knowing that you – yes, YOU – have the ability to rescue yourself? I find that thought extremely comforting.
Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy your Friday! I’ll chat with you all tomorrow!
Happy Monday, my friends! What better way to start off a week than some words of wisdom?
(from Thought Catalog)
Alice Walker is a writer extraordinaire, penning poetry, short stories and novels. She is also an activist: she coined the term “womanism”, which is feminism that centers on Black women’s experiences. Her poetry and stories have garnered her a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and many loyal fans.
Walker’s “The Color Purple” is a riveting tale of a poor Black woman’s journey to overcome abuse and oppression. She was a survivor and thriver in a time where women – especially women of color – found it especially difficult to get ahead in life. Her main character, Celie, learns to love and succeed in a world where the odds seem overwhelmingly against her.
I’ve read “The Color Purple” as an adult, and I also watched the movie several times growing up. I didn’t appreciate the story until I read it. I was transfixed by Walker’s writing style: conversational and reflective. It was hard to put the book down: the story unfolds beautifully and at a great pace. Walker’s own journey to self-actualization has been inspirational to learn about over the past few years. I’m glad that I took the time to learn more about this remarkable woman.
Walker’s art inspires me. I hope she continues to create: our world continues to need voices like hers.
May Alice Walker’s words encourage you today. I’ll talk to you all soon!
Did you all know that I love opera?
If I haven’t mentioned it before, let me say it clearly: I LOVE opera music. I’ve played different instruments in the past but I’ve never been a good singer. So, I am always enchanted by a beautiful singing voice (it’s one thing that I do not possess!) One of the most legendary opera singers of all time is the tragic but insanely gifted Maria Callas.
Maria didn’t care for her voice: it lacked the lightness and smoothness generally expected from sopranos. However, Maria was a mezzo-soprano that had trained her voice to the point of accommodating multiple vocal classifications. What she disliked about her voice was the single quality that makes her sound unique and captivating.
Sadly, she had many painful experiences in her life. A tense relationship with her mother eventually resulted in them ceasing to speak to one another. Earlier in Maria’s career, she suffered from obesity that impacted her ability to perform; ironically enough, her drastic weight loss has been thought to be one of the main factors in her eventual vocal decline. A torturous love affair with Aristotle Onassis that resulted in Maria’s ultimate heartbreak, when Onassis married Jacqueline Kennedy and relegated Maria to mistress status.
It’s the pain of Maria’s life that lends the tender, heart-wrenching quality to her singing. And for sure, she did have some joys: she thrilled many audiences with her dramatic soprano range, she traveled the world, and she LIVED a bold, full life. Maria, may you continue to rest in peace.
(photos courtesy Pinterest, Quotesurf, and Classic FM)
Since I’m still buzzing from my trip to Nairobi, I figured I would share some words of wisdom from the esteemed Kenyan educator and activist, Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Wangari Maathai.
You may remember seeing Prof. Maathai’s name and photo in my “Night at the Embassy” post. This remarkable woman founded the Green Belt Movement, which focuses on women’s rights, conservation and environmentalism. She authored several books and her ideas continue to inspire conservation efforts down to this day.
One of the main streets in Nairobi is named in her honor (I wish I had taken a photo of the street sign!) and her impact is still felt in this region. Here, I’ll share some of Prof. Maathai’s quotes that inspire me. Enjoy!
(photo from Curves a la Mode)
(photo from Quotlr)
(photo from Love Our Girls)
(photo from Gloria Kendi Borona)
I love hearing the insights of mothers. I think of my own mother, and the words she passed on to me, and the thoughts that she continues to pass to me. I’m happy that she chose to give the best of her to me, and certain lessons she taught me have served me well up to this day. I think most of us underestimate those lessons until we are still and engaging in reflection.
I’ve found that the encouragement I received to go after the things that I desire (her famous words are, “The worst thing they can tell you is ‘No’ “) is the only reason why I’ve gotten as far as I have. I realized that the advice she gave me on interpersonal relationships (letting people “think what they want”, so long as it doesn’t hurt you) and career (get as much benefit out of a job as you can: every job offers more than a paycheck) was truly timeless. She didn’t take big risks with her own life, but she spoke words that allowed me to take bigger risks with my own life. And for that, I’m eternally thankful.
With that in mind, I’d like to share a video that was shared with me almost a year ago. Phylicia Rashad, acclaimed actress, timeless beauty, and mother extraordinaire, discusses what it’s like to have a brand new baby (she already had a 13 year old son at this time) and the lessons she learned from her experiences in motherhood. The whole clip is a treasure, but starting at 4:55, you can see that it was her mother’s words and influence that molded her into a fantastic parent.
I hope that you enjoyed this clip as much as I have! Let me know what you think about it in the comments below!
I think it’s time for a word of wisdom. This time, however, I’m not sharing a celebrity or historical figure.
This time, the words of wisdom comes from my dear sisterfriend, Michelle. She mentioned this poem during a particularly painful time in my life, and I found the words encouraging. She told me that this poem was her favorite of all time. Once you read it, I’m sure you’ll understand why.
According to Patrick Wanis, the title of the poem is “Comes the Dawn”, and it was discovered in a craft store by advice columnist Ann Landers who went on to quote it. It has been credited to Veronica Shoftstall, but this is likely erroneous, as it was originally a part of a poem attributed by Jorge Luis Borges. But even that may be inaccurate: it has also been credited to Colombian poet Yamira Hernandez.
I loved the words and felt like sharing it with you all (many thanks to Nermeena for posting this lovely poem for all of us to enjoy).
Comes the Dawn by an Unknown Author
After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn’t always mean security.
And you begin to learn
that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman, not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn…
Happy Friday, my friends. I’ll talk to you all soon.
I’m just stopping in briefly to share this video, which touches my soul every time I watch it.
Sometimes, it’s so easy to think of love in terms of possession. We hold love close to our chests and, instead of keeping an open palm, allowing love to be free, we hold it in a tight grasp. Nothing crushes love faster than an unyielding clutch.
Love doesn’t smother or stifle.
Enjoy, and I’ll be back tomorrow.