I am the tiller of the soil & soul
While being witnessed going through my dirty pain, Resmaa Menakem author of My Grandmothers’ Hands was one of the people in my community who told me the problem is the original “wombman” thinks she is responsible for everybody and everything. This stuck with me. It illuminated the fact that the woman of African ancestry, unknowingly assumes the burdens of the entire world on her shoulders and within her body. As an older woman, juxtaposed against the culture of youth, while asked to compete with youth culture as a way to sustain my viability and worth, Resmaa’s words led me to dig a little deeper into my lived experiences with race, gender, and now ageism.
When I turned 50, I began to recall the big broad women with big thick hands of my grandmother’s era. These women were BIPOC women (Black Indigenous- or both- People of Color). They were homemakers, majestic, regal, leaders, entrepreneurs, queens within their rites, and most of all were revered
by their communities and families due to the wisdom of their lived experiences. They were also sharp and direct- they spoke their minds about things or behaviors that were off, not right or not expectable. They spoke up about injustices and came together in times of trouble to support one another. They knew how to make something out of nothing, and make money doing it. My father called this ability, Southern sensibility. However, these women, and others like them are now gone. This means we have also begun to lose the ways of rites of passage necessary to support the next generations of BIPOC women entrepreneurs, queens, and elders.
I use the term BIPOC to refer to African Americans whose ancestors are indigenous to the Americas or the Caribbean islands by way of colonization and the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. I developed THrive Phenomenal BIPOC Wombmen to support BIPOC women leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, and older BIPOC women how to embrace aging gracefully as the crone, the wise woman she has lived to become. As BIPOC women, our identities about who we are or how we should identify is continually influenced and shaped by our lived experiences – a mixed, yet specific legacy of free blacks, indigenous, enslaved Africans, or a mixture of both. Today BIPOC women have the charge to sort through a history riddled in generational soul wounds, adversities, grief, and trauma, compounded by poverty, racism, genocide, slavery, internalized oppression, misogyny, and patriarchy.
As a grandmother, I know I am becoming the next generation of crones- the wise woman. And, I have come to realize as one of the original women, I am charged with the responsibility to interrupt our inherited dirty pain and transform it into healing not only for our time signature but for the past and future generations of all BIPOC people- ASHE