Photo: vibe.com

I Will Do Better By My Sisters

I am not drunk in love with what I was served last night. I’m giddy with a slew of emotions that both weigh me down and lift me up.

I used to mock Beyonce back in the day. I challenged her grammar and delivery. I regulated her fame and fortune and eventual marriage to the King of Rap to the fact that she looked the part.

Beautiful, light-skinned with enough luck to get into the game and keep her there. Of course she would be the one to shine above the others.

Even light-skinned girls with bad hair have a better chance at nabbing the spotlight from dark-skinned girls with the kind of texture even “Becky” would be envious of.

But the years have been kind to Beyonce. She has blossomed into the black woman that makes me understand better the audacity of what it takes to be exactly — that.

Without the issue of differing complexions or assigned languages.

The struggle that plagues women of color. Women who are identified as black — isn’t a process that can be revamped with the wand of #BlackGirlMagic — although those efforts are magical and meaningful in so many ways.

As the words of Somali poet — Warsan Shire propelled the potent imagery that evoked a plethora of emotions that possessed me as I tried in vain to maintain control — I was haunted by the truth of who I’ve been for all this time.

The worse kind of black woman.

The kind that never really understood the deep longing and primal mercies that usher in the utter betrayal.

The lies, the deceit, the pain, the anger, the reckoning, the reconciling, the sacrifice, the denial, the battle, the victory, the triumph, the solitude, the burial, and the resurrection.

You see, Lemonade by Beyonce Knowles Carter is a spiritual revival. Like the ones I was forced to attend in Nigeria, during the heavily mandated Pentecostal period of the late eighties.

Instead of speaking in tongues and thrashing around with biblical abandon — I was sweating out my truths while remaining eerily still.

I frustratingly never understood how to love and blend with my black sisters in ways that earn me the right to revel in the delight of such an immaculate sisterhood.

I’ve always been cautious in my attempts and socially conscious for reasons that bleed into that need to be a part of something that makes sense — but doesn’t tug at your heartstrings in the manner that it deserves.

Almost all my girlfriends are women of color and I love them dearly but my ability to foster similar relationships has remained stagnant.

Watching Lemonade didn’t change my life profoundly but it did unexpectedly release the vacuum of disarray that has held me down for too long.

I’ve never been very good at defining who I am.

Which is why forming deeply-rooted bonds with black women in particular has been challenging.

The racial strife that was always there but has become a beacon of alighted dysfunction — has helped to redirect the confusion I harbored as a college student in the MidWest — trying to deal with the acceptance of white girls versus the black girls who didn’t like me. And showed it.

That was a long time ago but clearly the residue is still washing away.

I am slowly allowing the sweetness of Beyoncé’s drink of choice to slide down the levels of awareness and ownership.

I want to celebrate this moment of amazement and validation that all black women have the right to experience with ceremonious glee.

But somehow I feel unworthy.

Then, suddenly, I realize that I am wrong in my assessment.

It’s the encouragement, the support, the unrelenting love, the prayers, the effort, the curiosity, the generosity, the honesty, the openness, the self-love, the silent hope that you will make it so I can make it.

It’s the opulent receipt of being a black woman amongst black women in a world that didn’t reject us.

Because you can’t discard what you never owned in the first damn place.

We belong. We belong to each other.

I get that now.

And I promise to do better by my sisters.