I am settling for the summer at this farm:
Time to write, again.
I am coming out as a psychically sensitive woman from an oppressed minority in AmeriKKKa, who developed many amazing strategies and coping mechanisms to survive in a culture of crazy making conradictions and trauma. Those strategies served my African American slave descent smart girl, sexy, privileged self quite nicely.
Until twelve years ago, when they did not.
I wrote about that experience, as an essay titled, “Waking From Despair” featured in the complication “Hope Beneath Our Feet”:
As I said, time to write, again.
Now 60, I coming out of my second serious “spiritual emerge and SEE/initiatory process” I intend to share the truths that I have seen, and the ways that I was silenced/ mimimized/ shamed and blamed for seeing them.
The tools I have developed– strategies that served quite well to get me through long days in the belly of the conventional medical beast–generalize to many or us and to our experiences.
The money will allow me to PROCEED with my writing, while simply doing my part at the farm. I won’t have to aggressively look for ways to pay the basics for July and August: car payment/ car insurance/ car repairs for July = $865.00
And, you patrons and donors will get “preach and teach it” video and voice recording updates, so I can shape the stories with feedback, as I go!
FROM CHAPTER ONE: Who am I?
(Oh yes one thing. My spelling of “AmeriKKKa” has everything to do with the title of my memoir. At 60, a deepening understanding of where my country has been, where it is, and where it may be going underscores it all)…
“I describe myself, in 6 words or less, as “a black bohemian refugee from ‘Negroland’ “. I was born into a time and place where the politically correct names for my people have shifted: from “colored” to “negro” to “Black” to “African-American”. I choose to add the description “slave descent”, to distinguish my story from that of 1st 2nd and now 3rd generation immigrants to AmeriKKKa from sub-Saharan Africa in this century.
My now 91 year old aunt traced my mother’s family line back to an ancestor named Savannah Curry in Union Point, Georgia. I can recite with pride my place in that lineage: I am Opeyemi mother of A*** and grandmother to M***, myself the daughter of Alfredine, who was the daughter of Emmie, who was the daughter of Julie, who was the daughter of Savannah Curry born into slavery.
Seven known generations in AmeriKKKa. Probably more. Too painful to go back, right now. My aunt traced my mother’s family line back through to the 1860 Georgia census, but she stopped, there. Enslaved Africans were not listed by name; the list was simply a list of plantation owners’ property. First, the rugs. Then, the furniture. Then, the enslaved Africans.
On that list, my ancestor was identifiable, only because of the family’s story that goes with her. That Savannah was the mixed-race child of the plantation owner. That a good black man had married her enslaved mother, and gone on to have several black children with her. My aunt identified Savannah in that census report as the first child on that list. The one listed as “mulatto” under “a negress” with “three pickaninnies” listed by age on the lines below.
All honor to my ancestors; these people who were not slaves, but whose condition was slavery.
None of my family has yet had the courage to attempt the genealogy on the white side of that family tree.
When my brother had his DNA sampled, he was troubled by the inconsistency that result placed into The Story We Told Ourselves about my father’s side of the family. 73% sub-Saharan African was expected. But 27% European descent? Grandma Pearl said there was a Cherokee woman in the family genealogy on my father’s side. Was that a lie? Did she prefer telling a story of Cherokee blood to the painful realities of “mixing white” and the implications and questions that issue raises regarding power and sexual consent?
Or, did the DNA lab just not have enough data to accurately identify the genes of First Nations folk, since AmeriKKKa has almost exterminated those lines?
Too, too painful to know. “
Well, I am settling in nicely in Whatcom County, here in the Pacific Northwest. Since where I intended to land in Canada is currently ON FIRE, this doesn’t seem like such a bad option. Gotta get serious, about staying balanced. WRITING works, for me.
Any support sent my way, is much appreciated!