I am sitting in a half yoga position, my computer propped on What Moves at the Margins, The Character of the Word, and Black Women Novelists & The Nationalistic Aesthetic, half listening to Kenny Burrell and half listening to a fan whirl air at my purple curtains.
My face is full of tears--some dried and smeared, others halfway down my cheek, and fresh ones on the edge of my bottom lashes.
I can trace my morning through the collection and age of tears on my face.
Minutes ago E had to close his office door and devout five minutes of tough-loving, pep-talking on his busiest day of the year to me.
I am crying and stopping crying. I am gasping in air and breathing deep.
He said to dry my tears and stop using the word.
So I say I am scared.
And I feel all powerful but full of cowardice too.
"Be hopeful not scared" is his reply.
Just like that. And then I have to let him go, but not before promising him I will write myself through this.
Yesterday I pieced old scraps and painted. I spent two hours carefully drawing then painting a heartgirl from 7-year old me, holding heart flowers, underneath heart rain, in front of bigcityla, and framed by a four color rainbow. That was followed by the piecing.
The painting, the piecing was my creative attempt at writing myself through this.
I am just that girl.
That wonders if she is smart enough. That analyzes her output alongside her potential. That keeps mental notation of wrong decisions, near-misses and their shouldhavebeen's.
I have prayed. Prayed. Prayed for the past nine months for God to be present in my life moving forward. That my purpose in life be revealed and realized. That I live not according to glory, but purpose, morality, and compassion.
I have found a school that I am wildly in love with. Every cell in me stands up at the thought of becoming a part of their community, growing under their teachers, and beginning my writing career in their classrooms.
Coretta Scott King is an Alumni.
The university, founded by Horace Mann, was a part of the Abolitionist movement. Race was erased as a criteria for acceptance in 1863. You must understand that abolition of slavery did not occur till 1865, and despite the ending of the Civil War, Jim Crow laws maintained an air of slavery and incited a national culture of bigotry. The failure of Reconstruction largely fueled this national climate, and so, Black Americans did not truly receive full civil rights for another hundred years. The university admitted women alongside men during this period and was one of the first, if not the first, university to place women on staff as professors.
I have stated quite precisely that I am devoting my life, education, and writing to the advancement of Black American Women writers and quilters.
How can I not, if given the opportunity, go to a university with such a historical rootedness in the people, and issues that incite me to write. I take up my pen for Black American women. And so, I am putting my education and my life where my heart is.
I have done enough research over the past eight months to know that I do not need to apply anywhere else.
I am sitting with my legs stretched out long in front of me, my computer propped on my thighs, half listening to Coleman Hawkins and half listening to a fan whirl air at my purple curtains.
My face is full of dried tears.
I can trace my morning through the position of tears on my face.
Minutes ago I wrote myself through the fear. I was honest.
I am excited, smiling and antsy, daydreaming about what the next two years will hold for my writing self. It is a future I imagine rooted in consciousness, prose/poetry, community presence and centered on the ethics of morality and compassion I have learned in my past two years of undergrad.
I will be that girl.
That makes art--through words, quilts, and paint--rooted in social justice, purpose, consciousness, and equality. I will be fully literary and fully artistic in my depiction of life as a Black American Woman.
My cousin just moved to New York and we had a deeply, meaningful "catch-up" talk last Friday. He talked to me about the difference between surviving and living. He made sure I realized that I have now overcome surviving and have entered the highly responsible period of living. That much was expected of me.
I didn't know it then, perhaps I did because I had an "aha moment," but I would stand on those words to move myself past fear. I can say that I am hopeful, but more important, I am inspired.
My cousin, who has become one of the best things to happen to me in 2012, and I talked about purpose. I hung up the phone feeling like my life would mean something. I moved past fear.
I don't know what is it about choosing to go into an MFA program that has forced me so deeply into fear, doubt, and insecurity. (Perhaps it is fear of success along with fear of failure.) But I know that I am going to live beyond the fear and surviving and dedicate myself to my purpose.
Everything has brought me here.