On My Soapbox

Please enjoy the last two extracts from my mini feminist manifesto. I realize that these may not make complete sense since you’re reading them outside the context of the full essay. Full disclosure: I’m really just trying to distract everyone from the lack of new blog posts as I drown in school and work, trying not to panic or cry out for help so I don’t run out of breath even quicker. I really didn’t mean for that to become as morbid/melodramatic as it did…

 waves

“Nous stimulons le déferlement de vagues enfantines qui emportaient dans leur pli un peu de notre être.” Mariama Bâ’s lyrical French plays over and over in your mind, its smooth course uninterrupted by the Wolof words you will not understand until you actually stand on the beach near your home in the same city she was building in your imagination. It’s 11am on a Thursday in October 2012, and you are having trouble understanding wave after wave of theory and ideology being presented to you in hands you do not recognize. Grandma was there, I’ve seen her in the faded photographs, fraying at the edges, with the same smirk on her face that I saw in the mirror yesterday. But she wasn’t burning her bra or breaking lipstick tubes in half. She was not able to participate. I believe she had geographical coordinates that were a little off-center and skin that had absorbed too much of the sun’s light. It’s 12:15am in November 2012 and the walker-hooks-lorde trifecta is supposed to comfort you into thinking that there is someone looking out for your interests. Someone who is working for you to be free at all before you can think of freeing the nipple. I am trying to carry a little of ba-bugul-aidoo- in my curled toes and clenched fingers, but the wave is breaking just a little short of where I stand.

my feminism won’t be contained: a “conclusion”

Last night I dreamt that I walked into a big room with a table that seemed to stretch farther than I could see. It may have been grand once; but when I looked closely, the chandeliers were missing some bulbs, and the place settings were strewn with crumpled paper instead of polished plates edged in gold. I looked at the faces of the women seated around the table, and realized I knew them well. Maiguru shook my hand firmly, but I couldn’t understand how such an accomplished woman seemed so empty. Esi Sekyi planted words on the inside of my skull like the other woman and you can rape your wife. Sula folded her lusty laugh into the pocket of my brown school pinafore, escaping at break-time so that I had to scramble to conceal her before I was found out. Shakuntala swung round her heavy braid soaking in coconut oil and looked at me, daring me to dare. Ramatoulaye pulled out a chair for me and patted indicating that I should join them. You live in fiction, in English sitting next to Ewe songs and French idioms, but your voice will be heard here, and here and here–

(Image Source: portrait of Ken Bugul by Antoine Tempé, 2014)

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