Last week I announced an exciting new project… ANOTHER NEWSLETTER! Before you worry that I’m doing away with this one, let me assure you that it is not going anywhere. I love my troublemakers and in so many ways, feel like we are just getting started. But I wanted to share it in case you wanted me in your inbox a little bit more.
“But Austin, how is this new one different?”
I’m so glad you asked. Here’s a bit of an excerpt from my first Her Full Self newsletter:
Have you ever gotten that feeling deep in your body that a shift is happening within you? It’s a fluttering that lives in your center, your core. You begin to feel an inkling, and then an inkling becomes a tickle, and the tickle becomes a flutter and there is a moment when you have to decide- am I going to call this a stomachache and ignore it? Or am I going to turn inward and figure out what my body is trying to tell me about my life, about myself?
Last year, I had that inkling. And that inkling became a tickle. And the tickle became a flutter. Because I am really good at talking to myself, I turned inward first. But then I shared what I was feeling with my partner, with my friends, with my mentors.
During a particularly vulnerable moment, I told my friend Brene that I am tired of commenting on my pain, tired of recounting my fears, tired of explaining how much it hurts to experience racial trauma. She leaned back in her chair, nodding. Cool as a cucumber she responded, “Austin, you’ve spent your career so far, telling us how you’ve been left out of the story. But now it’s time to write yourself back into the story. Become the storyteller.” She didn’t even hand me any ice after that gut punch. Blessed Rascal.
You see, I’ve been teaching and writing and educating and speaking and preaching about racial justice for a long time. I have explored the myriad of ways Black women have been left out of the American story. I have recounted how we’ve been left out of history books, left out of the national discourse, left out of publishing, left out of the educational system, left out in the workplace, left out in the cold to largely fend for ourselves. I wrote my way through it all. I gave it language. I identified every scar. I recounted how much it hurt and why. I discussed my healing. I showed my open wounds and hoped for a balm instead of salt. And I’m grateful for that leg of my journey.
I’ve learned a lot about my capacity for vulnerability and courage. I’ve learned how to lean into connection and humor and friendship and allyship. I’ve learned to name my desires, my hopes, my needs. It was my pursuit of racial justice that led me to this moment, to this fluttering.
But today feels like a new day. Today I begin to write myself back into the story. And I want this not only for myself but for Black women. All of them.
Young Black women. Elderly Black women. Quirky Black women. Queer Black women. Trans Black women. Funny Black women. Disabled Black women. Quiet Black women. Tired Black women. Serious Black women. Multiracial Black women. Transracially adopted Black women. Thick Black women. Bonnet-wearing Black women. Shimmy shimmy cocoa pop Black women. Miss Mary Mac Black women. Jumprope Black women. Electric slide Black women. Steppin Black women. Gaming Black women. Horror fan Black women. Divine nine Black women. Country Black women. City Black women. Immigrant Black women. Corner office Black women. Bamboo earrings Black women. Childfree Black women. 10 kids Black women. Single parent Black women. Sugar in my grits Black women. Salt and butter only Black women. Who cares if aint no shrimp in these grits Black women. Romantic Black women. Adventurous Black women. Sporty Black women. Tatted Black women. Creative Black women. Nerdy Black women. Activist Black women.
All of them. All of us.
This is the journey I am on right now. I’d love for you to come with me.
I want to create a space for more joy, more justice, and more stories. I sure hope you will come along. It’s free and you can subscribe right here.
A FEW MORE THINGS FOR YOU THIS WEEK…
September 11th and what its meant for these Muslim leaders.
I’m with her.
Farewell to the incredible Michael K. Williams.
“There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”
- Audre Lorde
Stay wild and holy and free,