Black Panther: And the Beauty of Sunsets (and People) We Never Could Have Imagined

There is always more than one way to win when you are in a fight, or when you are facing an enemy or oppressor. What I liked about the movie Black Panther was seeing that it is not always necessary or wise to let the hate or contempt that you feel for those who hurt you eat you and every one you come into contact with, alive.

I know far too many people, and a few that I attempted to love, who are consumed with anger and hate. In some cases, they destroy everything that they come into contact with: good, bad, and in-between; until eventually their hate and resentments lead them to bring a premature, unfortunate end to themselves and the good that has come into their lives.

I’m all for insisting upon accountability and justice from those that I would consider to be my enemies and generally as hateful and abusive individuals, but, I’ve also learned that it is not to my benefit or for my good to destroy my own chances at happiness and joy because of what someone else did or said that harmed me or others. I cannot live my life wallowing and drowning in the inadequacies and transgressions of others who seem to be oblivious to their own brokenness and failures.

Approaching the age of fifty, I have learned that living in this way – caught in the grip of my past and pain – will keep me from seeing the beauty in life, the sunsets, the people and the places that I never could have imagined.

I walked out of the movie, Black Panther, being keenly aware of how important it is to heal from the losses and tragedies of the past (and even those that I encounter here in the present).

If we are ever going to be useful to ourselves and a gift to others, including the next generation, these actions – which require the evolution of self and the letting go of hate – are what we must take the time to embrace before our time is up.

© 2018 annalise fonza, Ph.D.

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The Womanist Way of Loving the Self

Womanist as defined by Alice Walker:

In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose, 1983: Harcourt, Brace & Howe.

Womanist

1. From womanish. (Opp. Of “girlish,” i.e., frivolous, irresponsible, not serious.) A black feminist or feminist of color. From the black folk expression of mothers to female children, “You acting womanish,” i.e., like a woman. Usually referring to outrageous, audacious, courageous or willful behavior. Wanting to know more and in greater depth than is considered “good” for one. Interested in grown-up doings. Acting grown up. Being grown up. Interchangeable with another black folk expression: “You trying to be grown.” Responsible. In charge. Serious.

2. Also: A woman who loves other women, sexually and/or non sexually. Appreciates and prefers women’s culture, women’s emotional flexibility (values tears as natural counterbalance of laughter), and women’s strength. Sometimes loves individual men, sexually and/or non sexually. Committed to survival and wholeness of entire people, male and female. Not a separatist, except periodically, for health. Traditionally, universalist, as in: “Mama, why are we brown, pink, and yellow, and our cousins are white, beige, and black?” :”Well, you know colored race is just like a flower garden, with every color flower represented.” Traditionally capable, as in: “Mama, I’m walking to Canada and I’m taking you and a bunch of other slaves with me.” Reply: “It wouldn’t be the first time.

3. Loves music. Loves dance. Loves the moon. Loves the Spirit. Loves love and food and roundness. Loves struggle. Loves the Folk. Loves herself. Regardless.

4. Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.

Several years ago, I resigned from a tenure-track job at my alma mater, Clark Atlanta University. It was a very difficult but important decision and I wasn’t sure how I would make it, especially financially. Needless to say, I survived, and in hindsight I truly believe that I made the right decision, for me.

Being true to yourself is never an easy task. Today, I am very grateful for the ones who were there for me and who cheered me on when I made the hard decisions. Their open mindedness, positivity, and sometimes their overwhelming support brightened my days and gave me hope. On the other hand, it was my critics and even my “haters” who lit a fire under me; and thus, they were the ones who have enabled me to know what it is to live my life, my way.

The truth is: I could not have made it to where I am today, be the woman I am today, without both groups of people in my life. Those who loved me and supported me taught me how to have compassion and patience with myself; and, those who questioned, criticized, and some who eventually left or abandoned me (including one wanna-be pimp) taught me how to love myself regardless of what others might think, say, or do. Because of them, all of them, I am learning what it means to love myself the womanist way: regardless.

© 2017 annalise fonza, Ph.D.