Friendship Project Day 13: Letting the Black Girls In

let's-3

One of the most surprising gifts of Allume was talking to Amena Owen Brown, the powerhouse spoken word poet who is as hilarious as she is approachable.  We talked about marriage (we’re both in interracial marriages), motherhood, racism, and girlfriends.  Amena, during a tea time shared her poem, “Girlfriends” which she’s contemplating changing to “Warrior Women” about the power of friendship.  I posted the video to my Facebook page here.  It’s amazing.

In the Allume Lounge, I broke down in tears about never feeling black enough for my black girlfriends and and how when I write about racism in America I feel like a fraud.  Sitting across from me poised and regal, so full of wisdom and kindness, she encouraged me to let black women in- through their writing and through their friendships. When I protested that I don’t feel like I fit in, that I don’t belong, she countered with this profound truth:

There are layers and varied expressions of my blackness and regardless of if I don’t feel like I fit in, I do because every day I wake up a black woman in America.  That alone, that shared experience means I am enough.

Today for my Friendship Post, I’m exploring these themes in an awkward but life-giving encounter with a black woman in my apartment complex.

P_Osheta“Are you a stay-at-home mom, too?” The black neighbor woman interrupted my stumble down memory lane.

“Yes, I am.” I hesitated, irrationally afraid of this nice black woman. I guess when a black woman tries to befriend me, I see Zina, and the broken girl on the concrete begs me to not let her back in. I’m scared of not being enough. I’m scared of being reminded of how I’ll never fit in.

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2 thoughts on “Friendship Project Day 13: Letting the Black Girls In

  1. So glad you could have that conversation with Amena. She was so good with her poetry. Your self doubts reminded me of a season when I dated, quite seriously, a black guy in college. I always felt guilty for taking a great black guy–if that doesn’t sound terrible for me to say it. We did not stay together and I think he eventually married a black woman–and became Muslim. He is now deceased but I will always value what I learned and experienced in our friendship.

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