"I don’t fear death. It’s sort of like another dimension, another level to this existence that I’m having. And I also believe in coming back. And so if my work is not done, I’ll be back." [an interview]Read Now
MW: You appear to be such a strong, confident woman. Where does that light come from?
Anonymous: That’s a really good question. Let me take a minute and meditate on that. Because what I feel like what you’re asking me to do is see myself which is something that I don’t often do. I just move and do. To be honest I think that I came here with this light that you’re speaking of. I didn’t ever think of it as like, confidence. It’s almost like something inside of you that makes you do what you feel like you have to do. And so for other people that might appear as confidence but for me, I’m just doing what has to be done.
MW: What do you have to do? What has to be done?
Anonymous: The short answer would be effect change. That would be the short answer.
MW: I’m cool with the long answer…
Anonymous: (Laughs) Oh, ok. So the long answer… um… I’m here to reach people, to bring people back to a place that we’re all striving to get to as human beings. And we’re so far away from that now with the way the world is set up. I remember as a young girl thinking, who did this? Who orchestrated it this way? Nothing made sense to me – people weren’t happy, it just didn’t make sense. And I thought, why are we doing this? And instead of just wondering why are we doing it this way, I thought, why don’t we change it? I don’t know if that’s the difference… but I know I felt like a powerful person. I felt like enough power existed inside of me and enough power existed inside the people I knew, that we could still do whatever we wanted to do, and that we could change the system into something that makes sense for more people. And I think part of that change is me having a voice.
MW: So that’s how you see yourself effecting change, is by speaking out?
Anonymous: That’s definitely one of the ways. Speaking out and using every way to speak out. For me, speaking out doesn’t just mean using my mouth necessarily. It could be using my visual art, or through dance and expression or, creating a production that makes people think, or just, you know, casual conversation that makes people think or just reaching out in different ways. But yeah, I have to speak the truth or the truth as I see it. Because I feel like I just can’t be quiet. I think my parents would say that I definitely came here to say something, or speak something. They tell a story about me being four months old and they came into the room and I was like tussling. Now, I was around four months so they knew I couldn’t sit up or run around or talk – any of that stuff – and so I was just having what looked like a nightmare and my mom stood over the crib and she didn’t say, what’s wrong? but she just thought it and then I said, dreaming. So she backed up from the crib like whoa, what is going on with this infant who just said the word, Dreaming’! Not Mama or Dada – and as far as doctors were concerned I wasn’t supposed to be saying anything – but I said the word dreaming so clearly that she could make it out. And so for her, I was a weird child from the beginning. But they always say – fast forward – since I started doing poetry and stuff my parents say that they always knew I had something to say. And I don’t think about fear often. I just think about what must be done.
MW: I was reading the Autobiography of Malcolm X. It just struck me how many times he said he was not at all afraid to die, even with children. It was really shocking to me. Are you like that? When you say you have to do what needs to be done, are you willing to take it to the ultimate?
MW: I wish there was a word for the face you’re making right now. (Laughs) Because the look on your face is like, you don’t even have to finish asking that question. Because the answer is hell yeah.
Anonymous: Pretty much. And that’s been something that’s been with me awhile too, not just since I’ve been an adult. I remember even as a child being very unafraid of death. I just don’t fear it. My thing is, death is a natural part of life. When we come into life, death is the other part of it. We came into life and also with life we accept death is coming. But it’s all in how you view death. And I view death in such a way that it’s not the end. And because I view it like that, I don’t fear it. It’s sort of like another dimension, another level to this existence that I’m having. And I also believe in coming back. And so if my work is not done, I’ll be back, don’t worry about it! (laughs) See you on the other side, I’ll be back. So to me, it’s nothing to fear. What’s most important is doing what has to be done. I understand that the journey that I’m on is a long journey. Our humanity is a long journey. Existence is a microsecond in the far vastness of humanity. We don’t know how long we’ve been in existence. Our little moment is part of a bigger moment and that takes some of us dying in a sense for that to happen. I believe in it enough to know… what’s most important is that I do the work I have to do and if I die doing that, it’s nothing to fear.
MW: I understand that’s your philosophy for the end of your life, but is that also your philosophy during your life? Because it occurred to me the other day that there are certain things I want for my life, like to be smaller and healthier… you know, just certain personal changes. Like if your body is the apparatus you’re given when you come to this planet, there might be certain habits or tendencies that you have to kill to become who you want to become. It’s like the machine can create itself. So do you find that you die in life too? Are you consciously different from who you used to be or have you always been who are? Do you find that you evolve or do you direct your changes?
Anonymous: I think it’s both. I think I’m evolving. I think I die small deaths. It’s funny having this conversation about confidence and all of this because at a certain point, I thought I was so confident and self assured and I was very grounded in who I was – and then through being married and dealing with my husband, it really shook all of that up. It made me think, who am I, where am I? Where is the person I thought I was? And so that experience was really symbolic of the small deaths you’re speaking of. And when these small deaths happen, you sort of come back stronger. And so I think that’s the other thing too – my soul already feels like it’s died so many times before I got here, and then this time I’m even that more serious. Because I don’t know how many lives I have left, so to speak. It’s that much more serious and I just have to get it done. Now I know what it’s all about and I just have to fight. At the same time, now I’m directing it too as I’m evolving.
MW: So, when you say your marriage shook you up – is that something you want to talk about?
Anonymous: I can. It’s not something I shy away from talking about. I don’t shy away from things like that because they’ve brought me to the place I am now and I’ve learned so much from them. So it’s like, okay, I’ll share my experience and let other people learn something too. But what shook me up is, I thought I loved myself in a certain way that I wouldn’t allow people to treat me less than how I loved myself. But what happened was in this relationship, I got so caught up in him and this whole idea of marriage and all of these things that were not me. I sort of got caught up in all of these external things. And so those external things caused me to not see my value. And before I knew it I was in something where I was disappearing.
And I remember – it’s funny – before I got married I had this ceremony where sisters came in and they bathed parts of my body and spoke words of wisdom to me, and I remember one sister in particular – she said, in all that you do – or in being married – don’t forget yourself. Take care of yourself because nobody else is going to take care of you. Look out for yourself. And those words stuck with me because, for one, it was kind of strange. It was like, I’m getting married, what do you mean nobody’s going to look out for me? My husband’s going to look out for me. It was like she knew something else. And then as I got into it, I began to realize that I was the person who was giving in so many different directions but there was not really a lot being poured back into me. And I think that – plus the sort of overall breaking down of his character – brought me to a really low place. I felt I wasn’t beautiful, and I had never really had those types of issues before. I thought I wasn’t worthy. I thought I had to sort of always prove something to him. And I think I was proving it to myself too. And these were things I thought I was already supposed to know so it was like, wait a minute! (laughs) It is a little scary to me that I thought I was in this place of security and self-love, but then I wasn’t actually there, and then I had to really get there and do the work. But the scariest part is just that I didn’t know. I didn’t realize I wasn’t where I thought I was.
And it makes me realize that you can’t get to these places any other way except through dealing with self. There’s no other, no in-between. There’s no showing it and going through the world and making it seem like you’re confident and you have everything together. There’s only one way to get there and you have to actually… get there. You have to do the work and deal with self and face the things you‘re scared of facing. And really love yourself. All of you. Good and bad, if there is such a thing. I don’t know if I believe in good and bad, but anyway…so did that answer your question?
MW: Totally. That was awesome.
Anonymous: I think that’s the other thing too, going back to your question before about confidence. I think now I really do know the reasons why I value myself. I think before I valued myself for reasons like, oh I look good or I’m smart. But now I value myself because I am. I just am. I’m in this world, I have work to do here, and all those things – beauty, intellect, a good heart – all those things are important too but I value myself in other ways that are beyond what other people can validate for me. So now, when I walk and I look confident or assured, it’s because it’s something that’s coming from so deep inside of me that no one can shake it up anymore. Or I believe that, anyway (laughs). Live and learn and life will teach you something else.
And I think it’s magnetic for people. My experience when I go out in the world is that people are drawn to me. All different types of people – old white people, men, women, younger people, kids – everybody says there’s this light. And like I said, there’s only one way to get there. You gotta do the work with yourself. You gotta confront and deal with issues that are scary that you don’t really want to deal with but that make you a better person and make you better to deal with the world around you.
MW: With everything that you know about yourself, are you looking for a mate? Or does that matter to you at all?
Anonymous: Um… I do want a mate, yeah. Because I feel like I’ll be able to be more fulfilled in life, meaning I’ll have a partner with whom to do these things that I came to do. I’ll have someone else’s support. And I love children. And I never saw myself in a relationship without another person to help me out with the child. Those are important things and I do want them. But now, am I actively searching for a man? No, I’m not. I feel like it will come. I’m just not concerned. I’ve never had a huge issue finding a man if I really want one, you know what I’m saying? (Laughs) So I don’t feel like, Aggghhhhh! People try to scare me, like, oh, you’re gonna be by yourself. But I think that’s unrealistic. It’s a choice but I gotta choose right. Because I’ve already been through a situation where I feel like I didn’t necessarily do as well as I could have.
MW: With all that being said, what are your requirements for a mate? Because with your perspective and experience you’ve had with loving yourself, you are in such a beautiful position to choose… I mean so many people choose their mates when they’re young or just – it’s like filling a space – you don’t really think about it. But you are thinking about it. So tell me…
Anonymous: I think one of the benefits of what you’re saying is that you get to know yourself better. And that’s what I was saying – with my first marriage when I was married before, I didn’t really know myself as well as I thought I did. And so I thought he was what I wanted but actually he wasn’t. And also I felt like I was denying certain aspects of myself, and since I was denying certain aspects of myself, I was looking for a man who didn’t have those parts that I was denying. For example, the importance of spirituality in my personal life – so I was looking for men who didn’t have any spiritual background or the same spiritual pull as I did. And so I thought that would be okay somehow because, at the time, I was minimizing the need for spirituality to be prevalent in my own life.
Getting back to your question – what I need in a mate is someone who can respect my purpose in life and equally important is his own purpose in life. I need someone who can understand the spiritual aspect of our existence so that they are not just living and thinking that everything is on this physical plane. Because of the work that I do with myself and other people, I need a mate who acknowledges that and has a clear understanding of that and supports me. That’s so much of what it is – you go out into the world and you’re fighting all these different battles and struggling – and you need somebody who can support you effectively. And that’s what it’s about – I can’t just have any guy because they can’t support me in the ways that I need. Even in small ways – I give so much love out into the world, so I need somebody who knows how to love me, how to give me love in return. Someone who has a good heart, who is dedicated to making a difference in the world. Besides that, on my list is an African man, who has an understanding of African identity, and who is an African person himself. And that’s important too because of how I want to raise my children. Now some of these things – I think I’m growing and learning that there’s a little flexibility in it. You know, like African can viewed at in different ways – or just having some sort of African descent or understanding can be viewed in other ways too – but I would say those are some of the most important. Someone who is my friend. I think that’s just like everybody else, right?
MW: Well, no – I think it depends on the point at which you catch a person. Some people want someone they can trust or someone who makes them laugh, or someone who is a certain height. Makes a certain amount of money. But it sounds like you’re at a different point…
Anonymous: Yeah, and that’s another one – I want someone who is very open and honest and not going lie. Because I feel like I can deal with reality, but you have to give me reality. If we’re in a partnership – a very deep and intimate relationship – let’s not deceive each other. Let’s just be open and bare our souls and say, oh this is still beautiful, you know? I think those are the main things. I like brown skin too (laughs).
MW: And bedroom eyes… (laughs)
Anonymous: Oh yes…
MW: Have you ever had the situation in a relationship – because you were saying that you would hope that you could also be open and honest with your partner – have you ever had a situation where you changed significantly in your relationship? And were you okay acknowledging the ways in which you’d changed to your partner? Because it’s like, you can go into a relationship but you kind of make this deal that you’re going to be who the other person fell in love with and the other person is going to be who you fell in love with forever. But then you go on this however many year journey together. You might stay the same but you might not.
Anonymous: Yeah… I think that in my marriage I changed in certain ways. Because I started out wanting to be very open and honest. I remember at times telling him my every move. It wasn’t so much just reporting it, it was just like, I wanted us to have an open and honest relationship and as part of wanting that, I demonstrated it. So he might ask me about my day and I would run down all these details. I just remember telling so many things about what I was doing and just trying to be open. At a certain point when it wasn’t reciprocated I began to close off and not want to tell him too much, and just kind of keeping things to myself, which was not who I really am. So I stopped being so open. I felt in one way that he didn’t deserve that since he wasn’t reciprocating. So in that way I changed. And I changed in other ways too – but I know if it was so much that I changed, or if it was that I’d never had this experience before, so I didn’t know how I would act. Before, marriage was something that my parents had done and my grandparents – it was something that was away from me, not close to home. So I had all these ideas about how I was going to be as a wife. And so I don’t think I changed myself because I hadn’t been a wife yet, but the ways I thought I was going to be or the things I thought I was going to do – that was very different from how I actually was.
MW: But so much of that is based on the person you marry. Because in order to have an idea of the kind of wife you’ll be, you have to have an idea of the kind of husband you’ll have.
MW: How old are you?
What do you know at 31 that you didn’t know at 21?
Anonymous: Hmmm… so much. I know that I am enough. I know that it’s okay for me to be who I am and not be afraid of myself, to not be afraid of being alone, to not be afraid of things I don’t understand. And that you are everything that you need. You don’t need other people to validate you. That’s one thing that I’ve learned over time – I don’t need people to validate me. And I think that had I learned that at an earlier age, that I wouldn’t have made certain mistakes or I would have learned a little bit faster. But I respect the process of learning and growth.
MW: What woman do you admire most and why?
Anonymous: That’s hard, because it’s hard to choose one woman.
MW: Okay, women.
Anonymous: My grandmother is one woman I admire a whole lot – my mother’s mother. She was a smart young girl who went through school. Her mother had told her to at least make sure she got through school before she started messing with boys. Soon after she graduated she got with someone, became pregnant and had her first child, and then married the man and it didn’t work so well. So she later married my grandfather and had more children. And he was an abusive man – he cheated on her and did so many things. I admire her because she was able to raise beautiful children with love. And she was able to endure. Like, I couldn’t imagine enduring all of that stuff. And she was still so full of love after going through all of these things. I won’t take the time to talk about all of the things I know about that situation – but just the fact that she was still able to be such a beacon of love – like that’s all you would ever know or hear or feel from her, was just love. And I really admire that. I think it’s remarkable. It’s like how they say that there are angels living on earth or these really remarkable human beings. I feel like I knew one and I’m blessed to have known her so closely.
MW: Was she Christian? Where do you think that ability to stick it out came from?
Anonymous: That’s the thing, she wasn’t really Christian Christian, like in a sense where she didn’t go to church every Sunday – or however often. But she had her beliefs based in the creator. She rarely went to church, she was mostly in the house. And that was her life, she just stayed in the house. When my grandfather died they had been married for over 50 years. She took care of him. He had diabetes later in his life and his legs were amputated and she took care of him all the way like a good wife. And he even said some really evil things even at that point. I remember one time I went off on him because I was like, who you think you are with your legs up here and she wiping your little ass…
MW: And that was your grandfather?
Anonymous: Yes! But that’s ridiculous, you can’t do that to people. And so, me being the person I am… but yeah, she stayed with him. And even that is one of the reasons why I admire her. Not necessarily because of the way that she did it, but just the fact that I can’t even fathom that I could do that. It’s like, what?! What do you have to have inside of you to stay? I don’t know… so in a lot of ways I respect her.
Then on the revolutionary side I would say Assata Shakur. I admire her a lot for her will and courage to speak out at time when she did. There’s so many women… like Sojourner Truth – she spoke out about racism and sexism so early, before they were even really terms we throw around the way we do now. And even my father’s mother, for just going out and being a woman who lived her life pretty much for herself. She went out, she took care of her children, she was a single mother at times, but she worked and she owned her houses and she always had nice cars and she was able to travel and go wherever she wanted. And she was really… she was the first vegetarian that I knew and she was really just non-traditional.
And then my aunts who I lost early. My mother’s sisters were dynamic women who were powerful. They were so creative, they did so many things. One was a seamstress and she put on fashion shows and she did all these wonderful things. My other aunt was a woman who spoke her mind and could be with the guys but also she was a lady and had all this jewelry and adornment, and the special moments she shared with me as far as taking me shopping—like the time she took me on a little shopping spree. My other aunt just up and decided to paint one day and she’s a nice artist. And they came together as sisters and started a business, my mom included.
And my mom is just another whole dynamic woman too, that I admire greatly for her courage. She doesn’t ask for anybody’s permission to do anything that she does in her life. She just does it. And she’s been able to do great things – she’s written Sunday school books for the church. I remember at other people’s churches you would get the Sunday school books that they would order but my mom would actually just write them and create them for our church, and she would put on productions, organize weddings… she would create things all the time, make food, dance, write a book about dancing – and she just recently published another book.
There’s just all of these very close to home dynamic women that I admire a whole lot. And outside of that, there are other people that I meet on my path that I admire. So it’s a lot of women. It’s hard for me to say the one I admire most. And it’s all inspiration. Like even going back to our ancestors, Yaa Asantewa and Solitude and Henrietta Davis and Ida B. Wells and all of these very powerful – Safiya Bakari – all these powerful revolutionary women, I respect and I admire too. So the list goes on for that one.
MW: Where do you see yourself at 40?
Anonymous: I see myself really living and enjoying the fullness of who I am and what I came here to do. I see myself really actualizing a lot of things that I’ve been using a lot of the rest of this time to prepare for. And that’s why it’s so important that I work with myself because I want to get to that place where I can fulfill or manifest or actualize the things that I’m supposed to be doing in greater depths. I feel that that’s what I will be doing. Hopefully I will also have a family, hopefully that will be a part of my life too. And learning how to incorporate those things – family and purpose. Hopefully I’ll mesh them well…
MW: What would you tell a woman who automatically feels defensive or insecure around other women?
Anonymous: Hmmm… that’s a good one. I look for the opportunity to talk to women who feel like that because I really don’t think that they understand what they feel toward that other woman. And what I mean by that is that what they feel towards that other woman is what they really feel towards themselves. Because you said women who get…
Anonymous: Right, defensive because of another woman’s presence or beauty or whatever – that’s been an obstacle that I’ve faced with sisters kind of often, and it’s always been very disheartening for me because for me it’s like, aw man, I’m so excited about meeting them. It’s like, oh, wow, you’re beautiful, intelligent, oh wow, this is wonderful! And then they’re like ugh, I can’t stand you! Or throwing hate instead. And they act like I’m trying to encroach on their attention or whatever… so I’ve done different things at different times. Sometimes I’ve tried to lessen my light or make myself sort of invisible so they can feel they have all of the attention that they need, or all the whatever that they need. Because I’ve just decided to not meet that with confrontation or competition. I don’t want to compete with my sisters. I don’t feel like that’s what we’re here to do. The only person I compete with is myself. Because I can be the best me that I can be so I need to just constantly do that. But competing with somebody else is like, you’re running two different races on two different tracks. How am I competing with you? We’re on two different tracks – I’m just running my race over here and you just running yours. So I just would say, I’m not your enemy, I’m your friend. I’m just your reflection. We don’t have to be at odds with each other . We could just lighten up a whole room. We could shine. My beauty or whatever that you feel threatened by is nothing but something that wants to grow inside you more. So you should want to talk to me so you can find out what’s going on with me and I can find out what’s going on with you, so we can share and we can grow, and be peace. Because it’s really something that you want but you feel like you can’t have it because you don’t have it yet. But you can. You can be here and smile and find beauty in all the things around you. You can do that and it feels good. And it only makes you more beautiful. And that’s what you don’t understand. The thing that you’re jealous of is silly because all it is, is love. So if you be love, then the same thing that you feel like I’m getting and you’re not, you would get. So just be love. That’s all (laughs) Just be love, it’s alright. You are just as beautiful, you are just as awesome, you are just as gorgeous – you just gotta act like it.
MW: So what you’re really saying though, is that beauty comes from within. It doesn’t matter how you look or how I look – the reason that I’m beautiful – this is what I hear you saying – is because I’m being love. And that’s why you can be beautiful too.
Anonymous: Absolutely. That’s exactly what I feel. Because I really don’t feel like – I tell this story – I was having this conversation with my mom. I was like, mom, all these guys are attracted and all these people are drawn to me and I don’t know what’s going on! Like, what’s going on? And she was like, hmmm, I don’t know baby. Cause it ain’t like you Halle Berry or nothing! And I just laughed and laughed. Because I’m not Halle Berry, I’m myself, and that’s all I need to be. And that’s enough to pull people, but it’s not even just that – it’s the work that you do with yourself and the choices you make about how you’re going to exist in a world, and I just choose to love. I don’t want to hold hate for people or feel jealousy – I don’t want to feel those lower parts of myself. I choose to channel and to put my best forward. And it makes me feel good and it draws things to me, anything to me that I want. And so I think it’s just a power that you use within yourself.
And also I think that because of that, beauty is a perception. Because what people see of me – like my mom said it ain’t like you Halle Berry or nothing – but that’s what they see. Now I know my flaws. Maybe you could call them flaws – but they’re just a part of the makeup of me. We are just our perfect imperfections. Beauty is just a perception. And because of all the things that are going on inside – the love that you’re channeling and pushing out to other people – it almost makes them see something different. It’s just like how they say that there are no real colors, that our eyes perceive that this table is brown based on how the light bounces around at different angles and reflects back to our eyes – that’s how we see blue as blue or green as green – so if you can understand that about perception then you can also understand why somebody can see something and see beauty. They don’t even see any of the flaws that you see or that you know of. All they see is beauty. I’ve had people tell me that I have a beautiful smile. Now I’ve been self conscious because I have an extra tooth going on up here – it’s like all this extra stuff going on in my mouth – but they tell me over and over again, you have a beautiful smile, you have a beautiful smile. And in my mind I try to make sense of that, like how can that be true? Because I know in my idea of beautiful smiles – I’ve seen beautiful smiles…
MW: But you do have a beautiful smile! It strikes me because it’s so easy—it just slides onto your face. (laughs).
Anonymous: (Laughs) Okay… I’m just saying I think its perception. And I think that whatever people see that causes that perception comes from within.
MW: Okay, so this next one is kind of a big question. What are your spiritual/ religious beliefs?
Anonymous: You know that’s a big question!
MW: I know. But people need to hear you answer so you need to speak on it.
Anonymous: (Drinks water) Oh gosh. Wow, so… I love this question. Although it’s very big. My spiritual beliefs are – well I’ll start by saying how I became introduced. I feel like all beings are introduced to spirituality before they even get to this place. So I feel like that happened. And I feel like there’s always been this connection that I’ve had with a higher power, or with a higher energy that resonates in an omnipresent way, like always and everywhere. I’ve always felt that way. But then I grew up in a Christian household – that’s where everything started. But even though it was labeled Christian, my parents were very revolutionary in a spiritual sense because even their Christian walk, they broke the boundaries with how they put everything in these boxes. I feel like all religions have these boxes and these boxes limit us. And I think in a lot of ways, they are stepping stones which we are supposed to transcend.
I think at a certain point in humanity that we came so far from the creator that we all knew – because that knowing that you come here with somehow fades as we grow up and get conditioned to this world. But at a certain point I really believe that it stayed with us for a longer time. And I think as humanity, we pull away from that. And the way to get us back is to remind us of our humanity. Because that’s all spirituality is really about, is about being a human. But people don’t understand what being a human is so we have to have this other thing called religion or spirituality to help to remind you. I think religion was formed in such a way where, maybe it had good intentions in the beginning but that can be up for dispute. I don’t necessarily know and I don’t necessarily know that it matters, but I think that at a certain point it was a way to keep us. Like, okay, love your neighbor, remember that this is what you’re supposed to do. Don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t do this, don’t do that. It was here to remind us of those human things, and also to remind us that there is something that connects us all and is bigger than us all, and that is us all at the same time. Something to remind us. It seems like humans have a short memory. It becomes very important to teach future generations and pass on tradition and pass on these things to help people remember as a humanity, because we’re all just traveling this one journey together. So I think that’s how religions really started. But because of a lot of things – the perversion of humanity as well – because that’s a part of it too – we’re not just this one thing , this one beautiful thing – but I think we began to pervert it for different reasons and that’s when it became something that it wasn’t supposed to be.
But even in that, I think religion is a way to get you to a place of understanding, oneness, or understanding love in a more full way…understanding how to treat your neighbor – I find these are consistent in most religions – almost all, I dare say. And going back to my parents – even though I grew up in a Christian household – they were very open about saying study what you want to study, learn whatever you want to learn, because it’s only going to bring you closer to the creator, to who God is. They openly were like, ok, do it. And that was very freeing for me. I studied Rastafarianism, Judaism by way of Rastafarianism, Buddhist wisdom, the Baha’i faith, Islam, Shahar – a lot of different things I’ve studied, I see them all connected as just this one thing. If you could imagine different degrees of something – and that’s how I see spirituality and definitely religion in the context of spirituality. All of these various degrees, but we are all meant to go beyond those various degrees. If our spirituality is in a box, then you’re putting also the creator in a box, and I don’t know Her to be in a box.
MW: It’s funny that you talk about it in terms of “degrees” because each religion is like one full rotation. And degrees and rotations don’t form complete circles, they expand into another rotation…
Anonymous: Exactly, because we’re supposed to be evolving. That’s exactly what this is about. So it’s hard for me to say that I’m one thing, or that I subscribe to one thing, like Islam or Christianity or whatever, because what I really believe is that I’ve sort of, in a way, grown past that. It’s almost like a baby and a parent, right? At a certain point you gotta tell your child, don’t touch that stove, don’t do this, don’t do that, it’s better if you do things this way, or that way – they sort of give you advice and you need that because you’re a baby. And that’s what I feel like, in a way, religion is. It has its place. It disciplines you, it gets you ready for certain stages. But at a certain point, you should transcend to adulthood where you don’t need someone to tell you what to do, what you need to be doing, how many times you’re supposed to pray – you should already know what to do and you should have grown beyond the level where somebody has to tell you. This relationship you have with the creator should be something beyond what someone else can tell you. This is what we’re aspiring to be. And when we talk about Jesus and all these other great people, this is where they were. And if we halfway believe the things we say we believe, then we should be able to believe those things too. And we should aspire to do it. And it takes a lot of work and a lot of being real with yourself to get there. And that’s partly what spirituality is – yeah, jealousy might come up in me but I don’t want that to come up in me because I’m striving to be better. I’m striving to be a better human. I’m striving to have a deeper spiritual walk. So I choose not to give way to that thing. So I guess that’s the short answer (laughs).
MW: What do you do for self love and self care?
Anonymous: Umm… I do so much for self love and self care! I love it! I love to love me, I really do. Because I’m just so thankful to be who I am. I don’t even know how else to explain it but I do remember times when I wasn’t so grateful, but I am now. I’ve learned to appreciate so much about myself and even now I’m about to cry because I just feel so overwhelmed and I feel so glad to have that feeling. I know so many people don’t have it. And I really really do have it and I’m so happy.
But, umm… I do a lot. On simple levels, I cook for myself. I think that’s such an expression of love because first of all, I love to eat. (laughs) So to love myself, I cook healthy things that nourish my body and give my body the things that I need to be healthy and well and think clearly. And I take pride in that. I take pride in how I love myself. I run baths for myself – that’s one of my favorite things. I run these really nice baths for myself. Sometimes I buy flowers – roses – and just have a rose bath. I try all of these balms and put oils in the water and have incense and candles burning and sort of just romanticize myself and just enjoy myself and being alive and being here. And also as like a reward for myself because I feel like I do a lot for people and I want to stay motivated to do a lot so it’s important that I really love myself in that way.
I dance. (laughs) To love myself and feel my body move in different ways and feel the rejuvenation that goes through your body when you feel it move and how it can just do what it does. And you can do different things with your body and it’s like learning yourself. And I love that. I sing. I write songs to myself. I express my creativity in different ways. Even just speaking my mind sometimes is an expression of love for myself because I gotta say how I feel. I can’t be quiet and just… I’m important too and I have to remember that and act like it. So by speaking out, I remind myself. I also reaffirm other people and their beauty and the love I have for them. And to me, that is the same almost, as loving myself. It feels good to me, how I love myself.
MW: What is the woman’s role in our community? Or do we have a role?
Anonymous: Of course we have a role in the community! The woman’s role in the community, wow… well, we have a role first to ourselves to be there for ourselves, to be honest with ourselves about what we came here to do and our purpose in our own lives and not to suppress those things that we came here to do. We have a responsibility to be those examples for the future, for the women who are coming behind us, so they can be free enough to be who they are. Because we have to understand that our contribution is important. If it wasn’t, then we wouldn’t be here.
I remember one day I stayed up and I was looking out the window and I was up late between the hours of 2 and 6, and I began to see the night fade down as the day came into focus, and at one point it was a clear line – it looked like half of the sky was day and half of the sky was night, and it looked like the day was pushing the night down. And some sort of epiphany came from that about how the world is set up, or how life is set up. If you were to look at the day as a man and the night as the woman, both have a place in the world and both have to make room for the other, and both are important. So if we don’t value ourselves, first of all before anything else, then we are really not doing our part within the community. It’s important that balance exists. So first I would say our part is to understand that we do have a part. And not to be afraid to take on whatever role – to say the things that we need to say, to bring light to whatever we need to bring light to. And when nobody is listening to us, we can’t be afraid to do what we feel should be done. We don’t have to wait for nobody to tell us what to do. I think that’s our role. And to teach, because most of us are mothers in one way or another and we have a role as teachers. And teaching is not just telling somebody what to do but it’s actually being an example of what to do. So that’s a very huge, huge role because we have to stand strong when other people fall. And that doesn’t mean we don’t give ourselves permission to be human and make mistakes, but it means being honest about those mistakes so that people can learn from them.
And we have a role to respect ourselves so we can set the balance straight on how men and women relate. I really feel strongly about – and some of this, I’m speaking to myself because I’m not all the way at this point either. But I believe this is a role we do have. Because I think roles change at different times depending on your stage of life. And I think at this present time with how young sisters see themselves and how they’re treated, and how prostitution and rape are rampant and our bodies are not our own, and all these other things – we have a responsibility to treat our bodies in a certain way and to just have respect for ourselves so that other people will have respect for us. Mainly men, but also our daughters. We need to value our bodies and question our impulses, like why are we doing this? Why are we engaging with this person? Why are we sleeping with somebody who’s married, or why we let this man between our legs, period? A lot of things tie into that—emotions tie into that and it can be counterproductive to the work you’re trying to do in the community. You could be trying to build in the community and now you got a rift with a brother and now the community is divided and they gotta choose between you and him. It’s just all these things that get in the way of the real work, when really if you just respect yourself from the beginning, we can cut off some of these things and really show brothers that naw, this is how you have to act. This is where you have to come up to in order to get with us. This is what has to happen. You have to be an official man and do the right thing in order to be with us and that’s what it is.
And now we can have healthy families and now we can have healthy communities because that’s where it starts. So our role is very important because the family is the foundation from which everything else can grow. And if we are strong in that place, then there we go. But it takes us being super strong – we gotta be honest, we gotta confront things that need to be confronted, we gotta deal with things that need to be dealt with, you know – even our own mess. And we don’t want to hear that. So it takes a lot. But this is what we must do.
MW: Do you have anything else you want to say?
Anonymous: I think I definitely said enough.
MW: Maybe, but we needed to hear every bit. I truly appreciate you.