My heart beats “Papa Was a Rollingstone”.
I feel lost–displaced. Everyone tries to tell me what my story is.
And I can’t get an accurate reflection of myself.
Time Magazine tells me that I am ruin porn. CNN keeps telling me that I am bankrupt. 60 minutes says that I am corrupt.
Perhaps. But, how dare you forget that I’ve got multiple melodies. Survivors sing in languages that the mainstream ignores.
Detroit is up for sale. The land is cheap. I’m watching pioneers rush to plant their flag in the nearest property. Downtown Detroit has become the Wild West. You can almost see covered wagons kicking up dust as folks rush to stake their claim.
And keeping me quiet is critical.
See, every major American land grab has relied upon racism and sexism to keep prices down. Predators will define us as lazy, unintelligent and incapable of governing ourselves.
Yes. In Detroit, the land of foreclosures, the land of the rising land-lords, where minimum wage can’t begin to support a working family, my silence has been an important ingredient in our demise.
Once my story is shut down, history is free to believe that I (and people like me) should be treated like we don’t deserve shit.
So, I need to be clear: hijacking my story is a form of violence. Telling me what to see in my mirror is a form of violence. Trying to change my truth or the language with which I tell it is violence.
If you are guilty of these forms of violence, I won’t tell you what that makes you…that’s for you to figure out…and to blog about. Hey, find the courage to send it over. I’m happy to lend my editing eye.
If the soil here in Detroit is fertile, it’s because we have nurtured it. Activist women like Grace Lee Boggs, Desiree Cooper, Adela Nieves, Dessa Cosma King, Becca Williams, Kayla Mason, Marilyn Zimmerwoman and Tawana Petty Combs‘ names don’t come up in the media with the regularity of the notorious Kwame or Bobby Ferguson. Why? It’s easier to take control of resources when it looks like the natives are looting and burning the city.
And that’s ok. Don’t rush to tell these women’s stories. They are capable of speaking for themselves.
When Becca Williams dropped Shetroit’s keys into my outstretched hand, she said, “It is the Women here who have done the work to hold Detroit together. And they are unsung.”
Today, I am singing their names. And I am singing my own. Shetroit is a mirror where we hum while we try on different versions of ourselves: every color, every shape, every size until we redefine all of our dimensions: revolutionary, mother, healer, warrior; and activist.
I am typing the naughty-naughty word: R-E-V-O-L-U-T-I-O-N. Yes. Shetroit is beckoning you to incite a one-woman coup. Here is an invitation to steal yourself back. Go on ahead–dismantle the fun house mirrors.
Full disclosure: unearthing your truths is a revolutionary act which requires courage and vulnerability.
It’s letting folks see you while you are working out…sweaty, hair flying. But this moment of naked openness becomes a road map for any woman who is interested in liberation.
Here we write and read to support one another. Our blog team runs a monthly “Shareshop” because our truth is intimidating. We offer this space where we can create and share together. You are welcome. You are also welcome to write alone. Submit your truth and allow it to dance with mine online.
Our collective power will become a tool to dismantle the oppression that has exploited our home. Together, we will be able to elect the Stephanie Gray Changs, the Elena Herradas and re-elect the Raquel Castaneda-Lopez’ who have tilled the soil that everyone is now fighting to own.
Know this: Shetroit.com is a safe space for anyone brave enough to be seen and celebrated. But make no mistake, we are dangerous. Healers are hazardous to oppression. Our tongues are raw steel, slicing and smoothing.
Here, mistakes are a welcome part of the exploration process. We try on truth until we find the right fit.
Write through your fears.
Write about the gardens that you have planted with Detroit’s crumbling bricks.
Write about the new hopes sprouting.
Write about re-shaping yourself past the mistakes of your father.
Write about your epic-ness.
Or write about the moments when you couldn’t feel your power.
Write about learning to share.
Write about your entrance to Detroit and what you’ve discovered here.
Write about privilege.
Write and shamelessly ask for what you need.
Write about the places where you are culpable in your own demise.
Write your evolution.
Write raw and deep.
Write about shaking off the shackles of everyone else’s expectations.
Write yourself authentically. Write and revel in the sound of your voice.
Wear your truth. Your Whole Damn Truth.