Part 5: Love Letters to All the Black Girls I Grew Up With

A Dedication

Black girl factory: no two the same.

Fat black girls with strong thighs and thick heels. Mixed, black girls with uncertain smiles and kinky hair. Green-haired black girls with glittery overalls and artistic souls. Athletic black girls with Adidas slides and a smirk. Dark, shining, dark skinned girls, glasses-clad bookworm girls, hand on hip, “look at me” girls, “i don’t like to be touched- get over it” girls. Blackity black black black black girls in every shape, size and curl pattern under the sun. Black girl, we love you.Black girl, I love you. This is my love letter to all the black girls I knew growing up, and it’s already too short.

The Secret to Black Girl Magic

“She talkin shit I know it.”

“Let’s cut her off- I’m through.”

“Little bitch- you can’t fuck with me if you wanted to.”

When did we forget to hold each other?

When did we forget to hold each other?

Why don’t we hold each other

-when we’re all we have?

Black girl, remember the last time your black girl best friend hurt you and you didn’t want to show it cause you didn’t want to be a punk, and then you left the club or the sleepover or the group chat and you deleted her phone number and you said “never again- not this bitch. Not again. Never again.”

And you walked out into the cold and you felt the pain immediately so you tried to cover it with a bandage too small for your heart, with these sayings like “God is making room for new friends”; “I prefer men because they’re less drama”; “No more- they don’t deserve me. I’m done.”

Do you remember getting home and opening the drawer where you keep your Black Girl Magic? Do you remember your mouth yawning into an amazed gasp- the room feeling cold; the magic lying in the drawer looking floppy and dim and lonely? You crumble to the floor as you remember the law, the mantra, the rule of Black Girl Magic:

Black Girl Magic works better when we center each other.

Black Girl Magic works better when we choose each other.

Black Girl Magic works better when we forgive each other.

Black Girl Magic works better when we heal one another.

Now don’t get me wrong:

YOUR PAIN IS VALID.

Sometimes us black girls can hurt each other so deeply that we give up on each other. We forget that we can speak our pain to each other. We forget that we can speak forgiveness to each other- that forgiving each other is how we can repair the bruises in our hearts. We do a great job of forgiving and forgiving and forgiving the partners who mess up, the family members who say hurtful things, the mentors and teachers and bosses who microaggress and tug and pull at our tolerance….but we forget to do it when it comes to each other.

You are guilty of it. I am guilty of it.

But we also have to remember this:

 

When I hurt you, I am hurting me.

When you hurt me, you are hurting yourself.

When we hurt each other, we are hurting us-

We are saying “yes” to the system that makes us want to harm each other.

We are aiding white supremacy.

We are aiding the war on women.

We are aiding queer and trans hate.

We are aiding the powers that know we are stronger together…the powers that bait us with “cat fight”, with “Cardi/Nicki feuds”, with the violence of us hating, hurting, ignoring and despising each other.

But magic works both ways.

When we love each other, when we choose each other, when we center each other, when we forgive each other, when we hold each other accountable, when we decide to love anyway, when we decide to speak our pain to each other- we are choosing ourselves.

You are choosing you. I am choosing me. We are (FINALLY) choosing us.

Tune in for Part 6 tomorrow!

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