content warning: microaggressions, mixed race struggle
Iam the daughter of migrating lionesses My ancestors, hungry for adventure and hopeful that the grass may be sweeter and more vibrant Towards the other side of the ocean, I followed their footsteps I wholeheartedly accepted my heritage; my wandering soul; I am the sorceress of the night and the mistress of daylight, I too made myself a siren to cross oceans and finally realize Who I am: An artist overjoyed I speak with my hands I let them create the world I wish I knew I let them lead me to the colors hidden deep... Deep Deep Within me there’s unease I’m uncomfortable Twisting, shifting in my seat There’s something wrong There’s a hand... invading my sacred space There’s a hand that feels itself entitled to the crown resting on my head There’s a hand searching blindly, desperately, wildly through my scalp for the last precious remnants of unsuspecting treasure from my ancestors There’s a hand in my hair Stroking and patting me like one would an animal in a zoo Stroking and patting me the way slave masters used to This white, pale, and bony hand has no regard for consent. This cold corpse-like hand of the woman who calls herself my professor This cold corpse-like hand of my oppressor Searching for remnants of life with hands that have been known to bring death in the past Her hands audaciously linger In my hair And I am powerless, for in these very hands rest my prospects for success So, I smile. Like the docile “mulâtresse” that I am, And I fantasize about the cigarette that will soothe my scalp of the first microaggression of the day. I’ve lost all my safe spaces. I am invisible yet uncomfortably visible wherever I go. Statistically irrelevant. A drop of colour in a sea of Caucasian composition A drop of colour on a land stolen from those of coloured tradition If there were no mirrors on this campus I think I’d die from lack of confirmation Of my own existence Because there exists scarce reflection; sparse representation Of my own existence And I don’t want to just do it myself; create the spaces where I can just be Because I wanna just... be.
I am the daughter of migrating lionesses My hair grows wild around my face like an unconventional halo of blessings, and memories, and reminders that I was born at the paradox of privilege and perennial plight. Although white privilege was mixed into the color of my skin I choose to embrace the side of me that embraces me back White privilege does seem appealing at times, but honestly… color me black
Although I know how to dance and love among those of ultimate privilege, This time my toes are getting unbearably sore I can’t twirl, jump, sway, jive or thrive… like I could before. It’s comments like “why do you make everything about race?” that catch me off guard. Drain me of my energy and force me to recharge More often. Again and again and again and again I must return to my core to heal the sores I have From being put on trial for having an opinion about my pain I make everything about race because I am constantly made aware of my race. Walk a day in my shoes. I dare you.
I am the daughter of migrating lionesses So, I make myself a new home wherever my wandering feet lead me and I fill my rooms with sculptures and paintings that come to life, singing sweet serenades over my scars. I lose myself in my art and find myself in the birth of every masterpiece A reminder of my intelligence A reminder of my worth A reminder of the dedication to the dreams I hold deep Deep Deep Deep Within my heart I feel outrage The great grief that grips me as I open my eyes and witness the ghosts of genocides past I’m in a classroom where history is being fed to me through the lens of colonialism I want to scream as I’m taught to forget the black slaves of Quebec I want fire to flare from my gaze the way Marie-joseph Angélique set Old Port ablaze In 1734, she longed to be a slave no more. I want to protest as I’m encouraged to forget the Indigenous peoples who protested The kidnapping of their children by holy men in black robes White men with black intentions A cultural genocide that continues to haunt them today I want to roar as I’m told to relinquish their pain to bittersweet happily- ever-after conclusions of Canadian history But my classmates listen quietly As the teacher paints a story That’s begging me to forget, forget, forget Forget? I am the only brown body in this room so pardon me not if I cannot forget But once again I reach for my cigarette To soothe myself of the second microaggression of the day
I am the daughter of migrating lionesses And I refuse to let a curse kill my legendary enthusiasm I got that caramel curse That mixed girl melancholy That melanin faded That darkness evaded That obscure clarity But, my hair grows around my face like a lion’s mane. I am the only lioness you’ll ever see with a crown that casts shadows lordlier than any lion’s mane And like every good lioness I am a sworn protector of the weakest members in my pack A pack of melanated bodies within which I find refuge from the fire of white fragility I will soothe this pain With the oils, waxes, herbs, candles, flowers and butters my mother taught me to use I will break this curse With the maps of migration my ancestors left in my shoes I will find my way Step by step reconstructing my mental health Finding refuge in sisterhood and in the art renaissance of this new age Knowing that I’m not alone Knowing that I’m not alone