Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Your heartbeat saved me.
You cut through the chaos and tragedy and reminded me of the dry bones that make us. You're about as big as one of your brother's Flintstones vitamins—about as gooey as well. No structure, little definition, a blob of creation, a promise, a heartbeat, floating in the womb of your mother.
I love you—as a thought, as a concept, a hope and a dream, but I'm familiar with the process, and I know, in time, you'll blossom from my idea, our creation and into being. Your own person, your own mark, you will define your path and stumble your way forward.
Before your crawls shuffle into steps, and you learn the joy of running through leaves in autumn, I'd like to give you a beacon, a foundation because when life gets tough, and it will, I want you to know what you're made of, the legacy and the history that will flow through your veins long after you've forgotten the womb. When life gnaws at you as it has sisterhood through the ages, I want you to know that your heartbeat, that beacon inside of you, is enough!
You are our child. Though two artists conceived you in love, your lineage is as old as the sun. The star that warms your face, builds your bones, each galaxy, each spark, each magnificent thing is a part of your DNA.
Humans both flawed and powerful live within you. You don't have to choose. Some days, your "flaws" will be more prevalent than your divinity. Oh, and don't lose sight of the fact that you are divine. Like those that came before you and those around you, we're all connected, and some days, we need grace more than others.
Your existence came forth in a very tumultuous time in history. I held your brother and my breath collectively as the results of the 2016 election rolled in. I checked the news way past midnight, every 30 minutes, hoping into hope that a country that elected a skinny black man with a funny name twice would do right by you, by us, and not elect a demagogue and open racist to the highest office in the land, the governing body of our nation. I was wrong, and it broke me. I had second thoughts of bringing you into a house so divided, a place so hostile. Our church members, our "friends," buoyed this man. I was devastated.
See, now your skin is translucent, no color and little form, and truth be told, we all start that way. But when you exit my womb, the sun, your sister, will brown you into our family hue and, unwittingly, you will be born into a narrative that you did not create, a tale that fearful men have woven into who you are and what you bring to the table.
I'm here to remind you of the truth. Warriors flow through your veins—brown women who integrated schools, survived Jim Crow. Slavery and Manifest Destiny are a part of your DNA. We've birthed babies in fields of oppression, taught our children how to fly and moved above a false narrative. You will do the same.
Your heartbeat is enough. When the world gets loud, and you can't hear yourself think, close your eyes, get still and listen to the thump, the rhythm, the song and prayers of all your ancestors echoing through your veins across eternities. You are enough—your mothership.
Talamieka Brice is an award-winning visual artist, contributor to Pantsuit Nation, wife of a veteran, mother of fur and skin babies, and purveyor of all things awesome.