Altar of Love – Photograph by Toni Roberts
This Path I’ve chosen to walk is indeed, a “straight and narrow “one!
No longer can I stray onto the familiar side streets of anger and sarcasm: my old defenses…my old way of covering up hurt, disappointment, or emotional pain. All of those feelings that strong “Black” women (and women of any hue…truly…) have been conditioned to swallow. From childhood we become experts in covering up…in camouflaging our emotional pain. We swallow it until we are choking with a rage and anger that must be released lest we burst into a million pieces.
I have learned to take ‘time out” when I feel that inner volcano getting ready to explode. I then explore what lies below the rage. Ultimately, I discover hurt feelings or suppressed emotional pain. I then give myself permission to be human and vulnerable without the shame of feeling weak. I allow my heart to hold both pain and righteous anger. For each is both justified and valid. I then lay them both at the Altar of Mother Wisdom…Lady Peace…and Sister Harmony.
Ultimately, words of wisdom…love…compassion…understanding…forgiveness and kindness…begin to flow into consciousness; words that wash away any residue of pain or anger that might still lay hidden in the secret recesses of my heart. Thus, instead of wounding words born of anger, my response becomes a healing balm to the heart of whoever wounded me. For underneath the attacker’s anger and harsh words or actions was her/his own hidden pain. For s/he too has been acculturated just as I; and has learned that it is safer to go into attack mode than to show the weakness of one’s human vulnerability.
It’s time to break this vicious cycle. Let us be courageous enough to feel our pain—individual and collective. Let us weep together. Let us acknowledge to ourselves and to each other our human fears and vulnerabilities. Let us stop and think before uttering those hurtful words or otherwise inflicting pain upon each other.
Let us lay our collective pain at the Altar of Love.
(copyright: 2019 – Toni Roberts)