A Celebration of Choices
October 31, 2009
If i can’t do
what i want to do
then my job is to not
do what i don’t want
Excerpt from the poem Choices by author/poet Nikki Giovanni (copied in Ms.Giovanni’s lowercase style of writing)
It is still surreal to me that as a woman at the age of 42, it was not so very long ago that women were granted the right to cast a political vote. It was already 1920 when women won the right to vote, for many of you that seems like ancient history, but when you think about how far back history goes, it is a fairly recent event.
I am African-American as well, and so I would not have benefited from that 1920 decision, it wasn’t until 1965 when most African-Americans in the Southern states were allowed to vote. My family is from South Carolina, so just a mere two years before my birth, simply because of my skin color, I would have been denied that opportunity. It is now history, but definitely not ancient.
But do not fear, this blog post is not about politics or race, it is about the celebration of having choices. I was speaking with a good friend not long ago and we were talking about how we both have this innate desire to be “every woman”. We don’t want to feel bound by past decisions or limited to doing only what others think we can do. We don’t even want to be limited by time or place. There is so much in this Universe that is exciting and creative that is available to us now, we want to experience and immerse ourselves into as much of it as our humanness can stand.
As a child, the very first vinyl record I bought was Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman”, back in 1978. I was turning eleven years old and that song inspired me for years afterwards, to be vivacious, strong, sexy, and powerful. I still feel that way when I sing it today. And maybe it’s Chaka’s fault that I now sometimes drive myself crazy wanting to do and be everything. But I love her for that. I used to gyrate my tiny hips and sing along as she sang the lyrics, “anything you want done baby, I’ll do it naturally!”
I am sure that my grandmother who grew up in the South so many years ago, wanted to be every woman, and she did whatever she could do despite the limitations that were placed upon her. She was a wife, a mother of six, a homemaker, and a working mother. She grew vegetables, cooked like nobody else can, was a good neighbor and a great friend to Mrs. Ginyard down the street. In her time and place, she was everything, that every woman could be. I know that she had dreams that were never spoken. And so now, I live and dream for her.
My mother was every woman to me. She was one of the most gentle women I have known, but she was resilient and no matter what happened to her, she always loved life and was determined to live it. Many times my mother spoke to me about her unfulfilled dreams, not in a sad way, but she wanted me to do what I wanted to do. She wanted me to feel free and unlimited and know that I deserved to be happy. She was my greatest cheerleader and she rallied behind all my ideas. She was not always a woman of many words, sometimes when I would talk about the things I wanted do, she would simply say, “Well, Kimmie, why don’t you just go ahead and do it!”
And so, this is a tribute to all women, who are doing what they must do, doing what they love to do, doing what they feel they have to do. You have choices now and they are ever expanding and your definition of what “every woman” is, can be your own individual truth. I celebrate all of us for wanting what we want, with joy and satisfaction.
“I’m Every Woman”
Singer Chaka Khan/Writers Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson
I ain’t braggin’, ’cause I’m the one
You just ask me and ooooh it shall be done
And don’t bother to compare
‘Cause I’ve got it!
I’ve got it, I’ve got it, yeah!