I began reading works by African-American female authors in high school. Some kind of way I ran up on Alice Walker’s “Color Purple.” I read that book in about three days. It was open on the bus to school and on the bus coming from school. I ran in the bathroom on my breaks at Taco Bell to read more. As soon as I got home from work, I jumped in the bed to read before my boyfriend called when he got off work.
I was totally enamored with her writing style. I recall being so upset with Celie and how Mister mistreated her. When she began to figure things out through her love connection with Shug Avery, I cheered her on just like every one else. And when she left Mister, I think I must have shot up out of my seat in the middle of the bus cheering! I was so excited for her liberation. After that, I could hardly put the book down as Celie continued to evolve. And through her evolution, she began to understand Mister more and more. She only understand him because she worked on figuring who she was outside of his life (as crazy as it was).
This is what this quote by another favorite writer, Nikki Giovanni, reminds me of in my life. “If you don’t understand yourself, you don’t understand anyone else.” The art of deflection is a powerful tool and will keep us walking around in blinders for years. Instead of investing energy into figuring out who self is, we spend energy looking at other people. And in looking at other people, we blame them for our own unhappiness and misfortune.
So, one of the benefits of actively engaging in August Accountability and truly working through the assignments, is a better awareness of self. You may not ever change anything (although I hope this is not the case) but you will not be in the dark any longer. When I called a friend yesterday to check in on her, she exhaled and said, “I want to be whole.” All pleasantries and laughter stopped because we could both hear how serious she was in that statement. Is that not what we all want?
To be made whole. What do you need to get rid that is keeping you from understanding yourself? Use your journal to fill in the blank.