Amplifying Black Women Voices: # 7- Millennial Black Women Let’s Do Lunch!

pexels-photo-818819.jpegAll Voices are Worth Being Heard…Including Ours!

Out the gate I admit I am exhausted and tired and hungry for more however what that more may be is the journey I am hoping to share with you, yes you.

Everyone seemingly is in haste to do something, to do more, to be something, to be more. I feel a furor of feverish panting on my feed daily. Most of the time it’s me like a deer in headlights racing across the danger of streets wailing into unexpected traffic. So I wonder just wonder if I gave myself permission to be and slow down and believe what my life may be like this year and beyond.

Everyday a girl has to eat, right, I mean we have to eat and why not eat a slow lunch with a friend or budding friend and lean into the whispers of one another while getting good grub that feeds the soul-nothing too fancy.

Furthermore, I am a runner more like a sleeper. I feel that God gives me assignments and I sleep on them until I am ready to execute them perfectly, which rarely or never happens. Does that mean I have a lack of trust in God? Probably, does it even matter?

I do, however think it makes me normal, tired, and shuffling into spaces and assignments that are not necessarily mine. Typically, I am very laid back except for when I am not and I have a lot of irons in the fire all at the same time as I can’t stand being bored. But as I evaluate the fruitfulness of my life it has been clear that there are some reoccurring nudges that I am urged to hear.

One of those urges is to the bite the bullet and work more diligently on securing a project that amplifies all black women voices. Honestly, I hate branding and making projects and doing a thing. I know really I do. So I usually just say it is so and strike out in some vain that feels good to me. And that is what I am doing now. I am believing and maybe trusting more that whatever needs to be- will be- and the do will bring about the why and how. It is about the process rather than the product I hear, I say, I preach.

~Some time ago God asked me to speak to one millennial black woman a month particularly a woman who is on her way or thinking towards making their own space in this world and hold space for her.

I have known that I am a space holder and I do this well by sacredly just sitting and holding people and places down. There is much more to it but in essence that’s one of my superpowers. Also, I know what I don’t know and that I have a lot to learn and I am in awe at women younger than me that are getting things done with courage everyday so I need the presence of their voices in congruency with Gods timing.

One reason I haven’t totally answered this call is because I secretly believe that no one or young black women especially wouldn’t accept my invitation and they may believe that I have some ulterior motive and that I am not perfect enough. I don’t have much in the ways of motives which may also be scary as everyone I know is busy and are told everything they do must result in something whatever that something is.

I know that my assignment is to amplify all black women voices (what does that mean not sure) and to meet with a young black woman once a month for lunch in 2018-a relatively inexpensive lunch that is. Or if you are out of the Greater Birmingham, Al. area an old fashioned phone call would be great.

So here goes the pitch the call… if you are black, a woman, and a millennial and that is loose real loose between the ages of 18-35, would you like to have lunch or a call with me please? Now, no there won’t be a website or a submission page or criteria or any of that. Just email me or message me or if I email or message you say yes or no. If you would like to nominate someone who may not be on my radar just message or inbox me their name and contact info. If you want to heed the call and you are a black young woman then yeah just let me know casually and we will work it out. My goal is to go against societies overzealous techniques to converse and connect with no strings attached.

There you have it ladies, let’s do lunch-on me!

Your Big Tired Sis, Salaam

salaamgreen@gmail.com

Salaam Green on FB

@beautifulblackpoetry on IG

and salaamgreen1 on twitter

Write to Heal…Write To Gather

Amplifying Black Women Voices #6: You are Powerful…Use Your Power!

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Don’t tell me how powerful I am-I already know I am POWER!

Could it be that you don’t need more power (btw) that ish…isn’t grace; perhaps its time to start using the hell out of the power that already is you. 

You know you are bad when the world hates you, all of you for no reason. When your magic comes so natural that it makes those not ready for your juicy, flavorful, delicious ways uncomfortable. Voicing our power as black women won’t be popular but anyway, who cares it is what it is and that is the definition of true power. Lets go and own our power and use it to the fullest and then some…

In my 20’s, I literally lived a decade unconscious. I didn’t know who I was or how to multiply my power. Hell, I didn’t even feel like I had any. Therefore, I spent a lot of my time in a self-imposed bubble hiding and pretending to like myself.

My thirties consisted of me doing my best to live up to the expectations of corporate America and keeping up a professional appearance. I dressed, talked, and kept a social media presence that represented what made others comfortable. Once again not accessing the fullness of my power.

Today in my 40’s, I wish I had the courage I see so many millennial women possessing and fully living out loud when I was younger. I am not here for people trying to convince black women of their worth, beauty, or overall goodness in juxtaposition to a world full of white images and attitudes that threaten to try to cancel out the power of what it is to be a black woman. I abhor those goodie-two-shoe quotes, memes, or expert thought bubbles online who use frilly words to empower (not a fan of that word).

Black women are super freaking powerful the creators of culture. Our destiny is not tied to how powerful others think we harness its defined by the power that lies within. Furthermore, our destinies aren’t deleted based on the power others fail to see we possess. However, some may ask how to access that power?

Well, I am not here to throw out my advice or suggestions only to be the screaming big sis in the bleachers cutting up as you come across the stage brave and bolder than ever. The most powerful thing is you shall figure it out in due time while testing and trying much like I have and continue to do.

In a world that gives 10 quick tips for just about everything many may have lost the ability to intuitively bring forth what is already brewing inside. Gifts, talents, skills, and sheer innate drive to invent lives inside our bones; and oozes from our pores-that thing that tingles your arms and makes you feel alive my be a clue. I am a fan of getting quiet and doing the next right thing even if with fear-just try to do it. Now that’s powerful!

Black Women are Power…I’ll be using mine while watching you use your power!

Your Big Sis,

Salaam @beautifulblackpoetry

Write to Heal

 

 

Amplifying Black Women Voices #5: Defining Your Worth Your Damn Self!

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—I walked out of the corner conference room feeling cornered but not defeated.

When I was young all I wanted to be was a writer. In my late thirties I looked at my résumé and balled; tears of shame and guilt of having years of jobs I hated and periods of short stints in corporate America that left me with sever Post Traumatic Stress.

Nevertheless, my career plans sent me on the journey of a preschool teacher, career coach, child development specialist, educator, trainer, state-wide officer, administrative assistant, associate director, grants manager, and probably so many more. One of my last interviews was for a non-profit ministry that served minority students in a predominantly black part of town.

The position was a high-level administrative position. I didn’t get the job however, I was told in an email by the Dean of the school and interview team that I was one of the most qualified candidates who interviewed but they chose to go in a different direction.

Rejection happens to us all and employers can choose whom they feel is a best fit for their organization at their will. Recently browsing online I saw the outfit I interviewed for win an award pictured was the new person who filled the position I interviewed for.

The picture consisted of smart, beautiful, confident, black young children in matching school uniforms holding hands while white administrators and school officials surrounded them in a classroom.

When I interviewed for the position with their board and team I was asked what I valued the most? I answered myself. I value my truth and my story and not a false narrative of what society believes about me or believes about black women in their 40’s who grew up in a poor rural part of Alabama.

BE YOURSELF EVERYONE IS ALREADY TAKEN

-OSCAR WILDE

I value the truth that I know to be true about black girls like me. My ideas of worthiness was formed watching black women teachers in their high heels with matter of fact smiles teach black young girls and boys from what some deemed as “low income homes” how to read and dream.

Representation is a defining truth that matters to black children and for black children. Visibly being able to see, touch, and hear someone who looks, sounds, and has cultural messages like the ones you may have gives authentic meaning towards one’s worthiness.

“This is what I intend to teach, display, and encourage as a leader within this organization if I am accepted in this position, I concluded”. Immediately after repeating this mantra in a room full of very nice proper people who didn’t look like me I knew by the phony smiles, perplexed eyes looking away from my eyes, and loud silence I had said something that did not go over very well.

I walked out of the corner conference room feeling cornered but not defeated.

Even though I wished at the time to take this message to this particularly organization, I quickly realized I am the message and it goes with me no matter where I go. That message includes not allowing or accepting definitions of my worth, the worthiness of blackness, or the perceptions of ‘me” that are constructed from false narratives.

Similarly, where people live or what their economic status is doesn’t define their worthiness or the value of their ability to learn and become successful. And the great white hope of saving “us” is an anti-blackness ritual that is an aggression and affront towards real change and genuine concern.

Questions I am pondering…

  1. Who or what are you allowing to define your worth?
  2. Are you an activist for yourself and the self-worth of your people?
  3. How do your values match up with your belief about your worthiness?

Character is defined by what we do when no one else is looking therefore when we are true to ourselves our character is refined. A picture is worth a thousand words and that picture that caused me to write out my worth is something I had to sit with some thousand times over.

Moreover, I didn’t want to become bitter— but maybe bitterness set in for awhile. There is nothing sweet about determining the worth of others through the lens of one’s own judgment. Bitterness is then the catalyst perhaps that has provoked me towards conversations around personal messaging, virtues, and values.

–Don’t pretend to love me by superficial servitude, for your hands have no power to save no matter how mighty and glossy the photo-op appears to be! NO, NO, NO, … I am fine and worthy just by being me—my, yours, and our worthiness is defined by our damn self!

 

Amplifying Black Women Voices #4: Don’t Wait for the World to be Ready to Hear!

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Dear Black Woman,

The World will say you are the problem… a problem.

Black Woman you are Storm.

Becoming more deliciously dangerous day after day after day.

Speak with bass-the sound of  heaven is roaring,

the Gods of thunder are crying.

Brew up conversations that muddy the waters.

The bright noon-day revolution is inside of you.

(Be Brave)

Be the earthquake that shakes things up.

Remember there is nothing wrong with you.

Never allow your words to be changed or rearranged.

Your sharp articulations strike lightning to those who are threatened by you.

Black Woman you are Storm.

Rain over us with your voice.

Like Maya, be the sweet refrain for your pain.

Like Nina, allow the song that bellows from the earth of your belly

to become the melody of your joy.

Black Woman you are Storm.

Burying fear in unmarked graves never to be found.

Becoming more deliciously dangerous day after day after day.

Starting forest fires the minute you awake.

Baring your chocolate dreams to the stars of the Universe.

If no one wants to hear, still speak.

If no one asks you for your opinion, speak then much louder.

Choosing when to clear up the damages left behind on this earth in your own time.

Black Woman you are Storm.

Speak in your Grandmother’s voice-

for she was a Black Woman too, a Storm that blew in creating the revolution,

That is you.

 

 

Amplify Black Women’s Voices-#3.Black Body Image: My Body, My Boobs, My Butt, My Baby Hair

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~In the womb of my black mother my body was on  high-alert, fighting to be beautifully formed and shaped without apology.

One of my earliest memory is of being told that I was too dark and not pretty. Shamed before I could walk or talk. I am sure in the womb of my black mother my body was already being assaulted by a world not ready for my little girl fire, fighting to be formed and shaped without apology. While on the playground in Kindergarten singing a nursery rhyme in a circle full with other girls; a boy pulled down my too big skirt-I was ashamed and felt shame of my body. “Salaam is too skinny”-words I remember hearing from the kids in my class and even teachers.

I started overeating falling in love with the snack machine after 3 p.m. that year and by the third grade year I was becoming overweight, big, and fat. I spent over 35 years of my life big, fat, and bodacious yet suffering from a fair amount of body, skin color, and black body image shame. Black body image shame for me means that the color of my skin, the size of my thighs, and the natural muscular ancestral make-up of my body was wrong according to societal standards including the kink of my 4-C curly hair strands.

It wasn’t just the size of my body that was a so-called problem it was the blackness of my being and the nature of my curves and my DNA. Undoubtedly, many black girl bodies experience anti-blackness based on the structure of their cells and the rounded lips and hips past down from the ancestors. The struggle to love the skin I am in is and has been all too real. I am starting with neutrality and at least liking me when I am challenged to love me completely.

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It took me years to drop weight for health; however I also did it out of spite against the hate people spewed against my “fat face and big feet” that didn’t fit well into corporate boardrooms or professional spaces. As much as black men fetishize black bodies this occurs for many behind the bedroom door leaving many “not skinny thick” black women lonely which may be a reason I did it as well. I have also found that for some women who try to remain thick and fit they may do this through butt injections and waist snatchers. Therefore even after losing the pounds I didn’t lose the insecurities and the black body image shame incited from society remained a stain in my brain.

This I am learning…

  • Skinny doesn’t equal happy
  • My waist isn’t snatched to the Gawds
  • I am not about that Thick-Fit Lyfe——-Sometimes I just feel real fat

Although, I maintain the weight loss for the most part; I have gained some weight as a result of stress and life circumstances. I spent a lot of time a few years ago attempting to follow the body positivity movements. I felt as if I don’t belong. A 41 year-old size Large Black Women in the south who craves carbs because my body needs the energy as my ancestors did didn’t fit in well with the values of mainly white wealthy beauty and positivity body bloggers.

The body positive movement approaches towards loving our bodies seemed to be targeted towards those who solely have access to privilege i.e. organic foods, pricey self-care rituals, trendy exercise routines, faux meditation models, and high class therapy.

Lately, I have been thinking about finally writing a LOVE LETTER to my body not just for what it can do or has done but for the ancestors that are living within. I don’t know if or when I will ever get around to doing that letter in its entirety and perhaps it is a life-long process; though it is becoming an urge from my spirit to at least try. Maybe I’ll begin with a few lines at a time…

The Skin I am In

In her is the soul of soldiers, saints, and strippers.

Thank God-my Thighs are Thick!

Refrain-The Skin I am in

Her bones are made up of DNA that sings the Gospel truth.

Thank God-my Thighs are Thick!

Refrain-The Skin I am in

Ancestors created her unique melanin- the beauty of her Black hue

Refrain-The Skin I am in

Yes Lord, Yes!

As far as the rest of this love letter, I am sure it will come. While today, I can definitely say I am proud of myself for the willingness to release some of the shame.

Thank you to the ancestors for the courage to allow my body image banter to sprinkle on the pages of my literary healing space. If you like please follow me here and on FB and IG @beautifulblackpoetry and twitter @ salaamgreen1

Write to Heal, my Loves-xo

Salaam Green-Proud carrier of Grandma Washington’s Thick Thighs, Born and Breed as the Black Belt Babe in Greensboro, Alabama-Catfish capital of the South….  where I fell in love with the land and the people who groomed it daily, Daughter of the Foot Wash an African American southern spiritual experience for lovers of art and rural culture. Architect of words and devourer of soul food. 2016 Poet Laureate for Entrepreneurship; Award Winning Author, National and Locally Published Writer, Poet, Social Justice Activist-founder of Literary Healing Arts, LLC. a women owned business that promotes the healing power of words through youth and adult literary engaging workshops, write to heal community health and healing circles, personal development mentoring and soul advising and creative business coaching for women living in rural America who seek to make a change and transform their lives and the community they serve and live in. Salaam is in the business of supporting people to write their lives back together again. Follow Salaam on Instagram @beautifulblackpoetry. Twitter: salaamgreen1, and the Black Belt Babe Business blog-literaryhealingart.com
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Amplify Black Women’s Voices #2-So who told you that Black Women be on some Petty (ish)?….and what’s it to anyone if we do..do you Boo!

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The king of definitions of petty according to Mr. Webster ugh, ugh, a man telling us about words again is- of little importance; trival or secondary or lesser importance. Keep reading my sisters…

Are you about that petty life? Petty is as petty does; blah, blah, blah. Admittedly, I am a tad bit social media obsessive. I can be a time waster and hoarder of information from blogs, vlogs, and influencers as if any of that stuff really matters. I am also astute at listening and observing what is truly newsworthy as a news junkie its my plight in life to read and sift through the lies and madness.

The word petty comes across my screen numerous times a day and often times it is attached to some black woman and what others may deem as her made up drama or reaction to her life experiences. I don’t really like the way this word is being used to portray black women particularly by black men and black women as well.

Who told you that you were Petty?-and what’s it to them anyway!

When black women are opinionated, expressive, or express their dam ideas or dare to disagree with others then we are deemed petty?

I know what many of you are thinking being petty is much deeper; however I submit that it isn’t. If you don’t like something no matter how small, minute, or “unpopular it may be”-Black Woman you/we have the right to speak out about it in our own way.

I am guilty of it more than I wish to admit, I have often said to a friend “I am just sitting around being petty”-so don’t get me wrong I am trusting to heal myself sisters. Although I am learning that nothing I do have done or will do as a Black Woman is petty, insignificant, trivial or secondary; regardless of media and the new social petty connotations put forth. This is yet again hype misconstrued damaging  titles attempting to complicate us in amplifying our voices.

The way black women think isn’t small or demure nor do we need to turn our voices into cartoon characters that are bloated with fanaticized memes.

Petty isn’t pretty (says who again) but if we turn it upside down on it’s head first we don’t need or have to be pretty but individual responses to people places and things is just that a response a personal statement of such. Do you Boo…

White media, social media, and even men on media channels and some sisters have bought into this believing that they are petty and that the way they speak or articulate their views isn’t reverend enough. Now that is some petty ish…be you do you, feel yourself, speak up and out about what you see has outrageous, mundane, or just plain not your cup of tea.

In other words amplify your voice in spaces and in ways that represent your individual brassiness and be as sassy as you desire. Small minded intimidated and threatened people use patriarchal terms to dominate and perpetrate a false narrative that black women are small and inferior in their thinking.

This infuriates me especially when I find myself and other sisters buying into the B.S. that our words and viewpoints aren’t worthy.

Many of the portrayals of the so called pettiness are conjured false made up dynamics that attempt to continue internalized oppression of black women voices and bodies. If we (black women) stop buying into this then perhaps it will be visible that it’s them not us that’s all about that petty life and that’s some petty..ish to follow.

 

~Please if you like to, Follow Salaam award winning Poet and Writer @beautiful black poetry & redcouch writers on IG, salaamgreen1 on Twitter, like my page on FB/ Beautiful Black Poetry. follow blog and business life @ literaryhealingarts.com. Spreading the healing power of words and writing to the world~

Amplify Black Women’s Voices… No Approval or Permission Needed!

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In 2017, I made some really insignificant mistakes that surely I and others will eventually forget. There were also some huge mistakes that I am doing my best to learn from and rectify. I opened my inbox several months ago to a disturbing email after submitting an article about poverty, race, and black women the email read, “Your writing is horrible, it is really the worst that I have read and I don’t have time as an editor to make it better or even care to, really your writing and grammar sucks”.

Now don’t get me wrong I receive several rejection letters, no calls, no replies etc. in a week as I put myself and writing out there a whole lot. Most of them are form letters stating, “Thank you for submitting we are not at this time able to publish your submission” , and some are a little more specific giving detail on how I can make my work a better fit for their needs.

Admittedly after receiving the “I suck” from a local editor who I admire after relentlessly pitching to this particular outfit for several years sent my confidence as a writer in downward spiral.

My black girl magic stock dropped and I vowed to never go after any local publications or outfits ever again in the city I live or the south (way dramatic I know). Prior to this rejection I had several rejections from all of the major publications in my southern city many would not even give me a meeting or reply to my email.

I watched others celebrate their local wins and I applauded on the sidelines bitter and silent as I read their contributions and accolades-envy isn’t always pretty but it has been real for me (future post).

Then I listened to the many seasoned and articulate women I follow speak about their own rejections helping me gain the acceptance that rejection is a part of writing thus giving me some comfort. I have a very thick skin, resolve, and I don’t give up but I had taken what this editor said as a personal insult-huge mistake.

One of my favorite quotes that I write and live by (yet another post) is by Ernest Hemmingway…

“Write hard and clear about what hurts.”
Ernest Hemingway

No one owes me or anyone anything; I know and have known that my assignment in life is to amplify the voices of those who go unheard-not the voiceless as we all have a voice. Also, this calling has lead me to know that I am a writer, poet, healer, and social justice advocate.

Yes, I will work on improving my skills and healing my childhood fears and wounds of rejection but I will progress on my given assignment of amplifying black women until I die.

Unfortunately, I have waited for permission, affirmation, and validation from others especially those who I have deemed as important and influential in areas I haven’t been accepted as of late. I believed my attempts at blogging/business wasn’t enough, my writing circles were not enough, my poetry wasn’t academic or nuisance enough, my personal approach to writing wasn’t enough, and that I am not good enough-huge mistake.

I am learning to create my own space and to gradually only glance at the number of likes or shares. I also am learning that a “no” today can mean a “yes” later. I mainly feel that my higher power and higher calling consistently whispers to me that I have been placed on this earth to dwell and hold spaces of spiritual healing while I continue to grow and heal alongside others.

Writing is an act of Social Justice for Self….

On another note, I have been terrified to create and accept the assignment of holding spaces that amplify black women voices thus amplifying my own. Today, I am constantly wrestling with being a voice of vulnerability for myself and those who voices go unheard while being a megaphone for the sisterhood of black women who are seeking healing. My mantra going forth is to create spaces and writing that is imperfectly/vulnerable with errors and impatience and is… EXTRA, LOUD, SHRIEK PROOF, and IMPOSTER SYNDROME PROOF-BLACKITY, BLACKITY, BLACK WOMAN MAGIC BLACK.

I am a proud black woman who in the words of a major mega black woman celebrity Issa Ray of the famed docu-drama Insecure, who stated at a recent awards event, “I am for everyone and everything black”. Today I am not waiting or expecting anyone, anywhere, at anytime to amplify my voice or the voices of my sisters anymore- that was one of my huge mistakes in 2017-I am now ready… 2018 is going to be ‘Black as all get out’.

 

Salaam Green-Proud carrier of Grandma Washington’s Thick Thighs, Born and Breed as the Black Belt Babe in Greensboro, Alabama-Catfish capital of the South….  where I fell in love with the land and the people who groomed it daily, Daughter of the Foot Wash an African American southern spiritual experience for lovers of art and rural culture. Architect of words and devourer of soul food. 2016 Poet Laureate for Entrepreneurship; Award Winning Author, National and Locally Published Writer, Poet, Social Justice Activist-founder of Literary Healing Arts, LLC. a women owned business that promotes the healing power of words through youth and adult literary engaging workshops, write to heal community health and healing circles, personal development mentoring and soul advising and creative business coaching for women living in rural America who seek to make a change and transform their lives and the community they serve and live in. Salaam is in the business of supporting people to write their lives back together again. Follow Salaam on Instagram @beautifulblackpoetry. Twitter: salaamgreen1, and the Black Belt Babe Business blog-literaryhealingart.com