The first black woman in my life was my mother
I would later come to have her smile and stubbornness, and taught me how to love endlessly
The second before the first
Who lingered of castor oil, metal pots stirring Tum tum and kalalou
Who sounded like cassettes playing church hymns
The third would be my sister,
Never dawning, on her, in my comfort that she must remind me that she was the eldest, that pain is carried with a smile and exceptional grades
The fourth would be my sister who made 16 months apart feel like a shared placenta, words and phrases in unison. Banishing fat from my vocabulary and how eating disorders sometimes find homes between big bones.
The fifth, a closed bathroom door, a repressed memory
The sixth would be the best friend who’s closeness frightened my mother
Who urged my parents to remind me that little girls are not owed privacy
We must “keep that door open”, and those thoughts closed
The seventh would be the one in which I first would hear the term black feminism. And that when her mother was introduced into the nature of her love she was in a bed just like we were
The eighth would be Assata, when warm tears left my eyes on a bus from Atlanta, understanding resistance, stirring my curiosity of Cuba
The ninth was the friend, whose star sign mirrors my father’s
Who shared with me black girls can be happy and sad at once.
The tenth would be myself, who I finally forgave, who I finally learned to start loving.
C. is a 21 year old Haitian writer. You can find her on tumblr.
Illustration by Petrose Tesfai.