Welp, here we go. I have been asked, instructed, coached, cajoled and coerced to starting this blog. I really fought against doing it, but probably not for the reasons most folks would assume. I have many stories, musings, observations and opinions—SO MANY OPINIONS to share, but I felt I need to come clean about what starting this blog means to me.
In the summer of 1985, before I started my freshman year of college, I attended a writing camp for incoming students at a college formerly known as Peace College (now known at William Peace “we sold out educating women” University”—sorry, still a little bitter about my Alma Marta selling out on same-sex education thang). During that summer writing camp, I learned I could not write ( I learned later in college that I was deficient in math as well, but that is a another topic for another day). Most specifically, I was made painfully aware that my writing “style” was deeply flawed—-“Billie, you write the way you speak—don’t do that. Billie, watch your grammar. This is not high school, young lady—you will have to do better than that.” You see, before that moment in time, I was never that confident about my skills as a writer, but I managed to push through. Each paper that summer stung with a critique that further stripped my confidence in my ability to pen to paper and tell a story in way that deeply conveyed the thoughts running through my mind wrapped in a grammatically appropriate wrapper. My frustration became fear and that fear became my truth. Even writing this reflection as a bridge into a new identity as a writer at 46, puts a lump in my throat and my heart starts beating harder in my chest. By the time my freshman year started, the tentativeness of my writing skills had transformed into a full-blown phobia of writing that followed me to UNC in 1987 and has lasted 28 years.
This is the first reason…
I think my circle of friends would call me free-spirited, witty and passionate. I have been called ” Earth Mother Queen Goddess” in jest, but I realize that some of the things I say, believe or support don’t make much sense to folks. My daily lexicon toggles between Social Justice speak, pop culture references, news commentaries and African diaspora religious musings (just take that all in for a moment—-ok, moving on). I get that some folks just don’t get what heck I am talking about. I have been told that I am “soooo Black” by other Black folk. Not sure if the “so” make me like Black to the 10 power, but if that is possible—I am SO ok with that. In the social media playground, we show up with multiple avatars that don’t always jibe. I have my New Bern avatar, my P.G. County avatar, my college/80’s/AKA avatar, my “mommy” avatar, my social justice dragon slayer avatar and my African mystic avatar. Because of my Black Girl Passport (BGP), I “flow” nicely between avatars often code-switching–sometimes not, blending language in settings where all are not familiar with what I’m sayin. This can lead to that dynamic where people either “like” what I have shared even if they have NO idea what I am talking about or they are weirded out by what they don’t understand (must be some radical social justice Ungowah Black Powah”Hoodoo/Ungah Bungah” stuff…again).
This is the second reason…
Soooo, why write? Hell, I don’t know. I have been stretching myself in ways I didn’t even know where possible in the past few years, so why not? Why not risk putting out my opinions in a medium that could potentially reach hundreds of people? Why shouldn’t I get to push the restart button on old hurts, shapes and identities that not only don’t serve me, but cripple me. Why not?? Why not stand in my power as a storyteller, an observer, a culturalist, an artist, a thinker, a fighter, an advocate, a student, a master, a magician—a writer? I am an old egg. I was born when my mother was 37 and my sister was born when she was 38. I gave birth to two sons—one at 25 and one at 41 so I roll deep with my old egg posse. There is something very powerful in understanding that a woman is born with her full complement of eggs. This means that when I was born, I carried in my body all the eggs I would every have and that when I was inside my mother’s body she carried them too. To know I have always existed because my mother always existed because her mother always existed……back to the beginning, to the most ancient ones is some straight up powerful shit. There is wisdom in my bones, the lived experiences of my ancestors and the hope of future generations that animates my DNA so I figure I might as well write what I feel, what I know, what I believe, what I am struggling with.
Yup, that’s it…thus begins my new journey as a writer. Aight then, hope you will continue to join me. Thank you, Esegan, Adupe, Gracias! PEACE!
Omisade aka Billie aka Wilhelmina aka Willy Bill aka Billie Jo Jim Bob aka Iyawo Osun (Word!)