My He(ART)-Full Life

Friday, April 27, 2012

"sister outsider"

"What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own?, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? Perhaps for some of you here today, I am the face of your fears. Because I am a woman, because I am Black, because I am lesbian, because I am myself-a Black woman warrior poet doing my work-come to ask you...are you doing yours?" -Audre Lorde
In the first year of university my minor was default. I just thought I should go into it because I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do. I happened to take an entry level Women Studies class because it fit into my schedule...and ...I fell in love!!! Deeply + madly and head over heels. It was instant. I loved the alternate views, the passion, the closely looking at how we construct knowledge.
So...I changed my minor and started taking all sorts of Feminist classes that interested me.'s the thing...I studied all of the "classics" from the 2nd wave of feminism (Greer, Steinem, Friedan etc)...and I didn't see mySELF!!! There was an exclusion of women of color that was absolute and pervasive. Throughout my life, I have always felt an outsider...always at the edge...and now here I was again!!!

"I have a duty to speak the truth as I see it and to share not just my triumphs, not just the things that feel good, but the pain, the intense, often unmitigating pain...If what I have to say is wrong, then there will be some woman who will stand up and say Audre Lorde was in error. But my words will be there." -Audre Lorde
So...when I stumbled upon dear soul sister Audrey Lorde...I instantly connected with her on so many levels. I voraciously sought out all of her books and papers and devoured was like a light went on in my in my mind and my soul lit up...I had come home!!! Here was a woman who was unafraid to be herSELF and she threw a lifeline out to those of us who needed it; showing us the way. Not to become like her...but a far greater become ourSELVES. She created a more inclusive feminism that I could relate to. When I discovered her works...I could breathe!
(a page from my "Outsider Journals"
"Ultimately it comes down to making yourself and the people who can share it with you, in some way, more themselves, to make you more yourself, to make human beings more themselves, and therefore, by extension, better, stronger, more real. Isn't this the function of all art? I mean, get out of the Western Bag, out of "art for arts' sake", out of the perfect circle. A perfect circle is a point. It does not move at all. It's stationary. Let's get out of that. The function of any art is to move, more deeply, to make us more of who we are." -Audre Lorde
Now that I am rereading her many years later...I see things with a new + fresh perspective especially as it applies to my work. Reading "Sister Outsider" gives me strength and inspiration...a new epistemology; "kitchen table politics". I have been working on a journal called "Outsider Journals" ...where I am claiming and celebrating my outsider-ness. It is difficult and painful, there is no denying that, but it has so many gifts to offer. I see that more clearly every single day. To create from the walk that line of fitting in/not fitting in...leads us to find out true voice.


Christian said...

Beautiful photos:)

mansuetude said...

i love that you read Sister Outsider along with Dr. Seuss. its perfect.

reading AL in college, i recall being struck that her fear of dying from breast cancer feared her to finally truly speak.

ArtPropelled said...

I love discovering authors who make me feel that someone understands whatever situation I am struggling with and you've chosen many wise quotes for this post, Soraya. Bite sized portions of wisdom to dip into. I like the quote about getting out of the "Western bag". Wishing you much strength and inspiration with your Outsider Journal.

ArtPropelled said...

I found this quote by D.H Lawrence shortly after reading your post.
“We are not free when we are doing just what we like. We are only free when we are doing what the deepest self likes. And there is getting down to the deepest self! It takes some diving."

jane said...

Perhaps all of us (especially artists) feel like outsiders. I have felt like an outsider for most of my life...only with the dearest of friends do I notice that floating away. Thankyou for an enlightening post,and for making an open space for me. xx Jane