Ain’t I a Woman???? by Tresa Simmons
As I sit here contemplating what to write, I thought about a conversation that I recently had with a male friend who came to me and said, “All I have ever wanted to do was love you. Why won’t you let me?” I gave valid reasons, at least to me. The main one being if I have to make a choice “you’ or ‘me’ than it will always be me, and I stand by that truth. Never again will I sacrifice Tresa for a man.
However, this question has been haunting me rising up and dropping like a loud thud in my psyche. I knew I needed to go deeper for myself rather than accept my surface answer. When I think about my upbringing, I had the idea that I could not sustain a relationship with both man and God. I surely must choose one or the other because you cannot serve God and man. Neither were getting the best of me because I did not come bringing the best of me. Can you imagine the psychotic roller coaster I was on? Hormones raging as a woman, and piety and self-righteous bullshit as a ‘Christian’. Now, don’t get all up in arms. I am not negating or affirming what some would consider their Christian values; but what I know to be true for me and many women is we forgot as women we had the capability to give life to all things including ourselves. We not only birthed babies, but sometimes we created bricks without straw to make sure our families had. We supported our men until our shoulders were bent while birthing ideas into success; but mostly, we denied ourselves. We forgot, unlike Sojourner Truth who asked the question “Ain’t I a Woman?”
My judgments about sisters who vibrated with Sojourner Truth’s words Ain’t I a Woman played in my mind as I wrote, especially since I have become my sisters. Their freedom was more than having babies with a man and being the dutiful wife, or saying yes when they wanted to say no. Taking ownership of how we desire to live our lives is the ultimate freedom, and these women declared they could have it all. Some women chose to do so without children, and some with a family. Those that chose motherhood learned the art of walking that tight rope of balance. I have so much respect for these courageous women who laughed in the face of those who said certain topics were taboo and ‘good’ women didn’t indulge. I would hear some of my dear friends, sisters, and female family members talk about many topics while laughing and being animated. Sex was often a topic at the top of the list with these women, and they spoke about it in ways that I imagine both men and women both do among themselves, ie funny, ratchet stories, pain, hurt, love all with deep emotions. Then there were those times that the sisterhood spoke in hushed tones the type that was mesmerizing. You knew something deep was about to be said about sex in terms of intimacy in its sacredness a gift, if you will.
This gift had other sisters longing with that far-away look in their eyes or like me wishing to experience what I felt I was missing. A seed was being planted for those of us in the room who had not experienced the sacredness of relationship with a partner that is so empowering by way of the give and take of energy, respect, kindness, and love that both parties got their needs met? It is our season. It is not too late. We can have the desires of our hearts, and we must begin with our own desires. Dare to be honest. Ain’t I a Woman is about possessing all of you? Diving deep into the relationship with ourselves as women…in-to-me-I-see. Intimacy with oneself takes honesty, integrity, and raw unapologetic honor. Together they create a soul that is unwavering in her relationship with herself. This woman is able to answer the question ‘what do I want’. Now, that my sister, is very sexy, and sexy does look good on you.
My friends’ question “All I have ever wanted to do was to love you. Why won’t you let me” is bringing me full circle. I ask myself sisters did I know how to let this man or any man love me? Have I ever known how? What does that really mean to me? Will love take my breath and my freedom away? How can I receive love from another when self-love has not been the magic potion that I eat, drink, and sleep? He is not perfect which may have been his greatest flaw in my mind. How many of us have felt that way? Surely, it is because we have desired for our men to give to us what we need first to give to ourselves. So when he asked me the question and I gave my answer, his retort was “what do you need?” Yep, he did that. He called me out. How many of us are experiencing moments like these? How do I answer that question? I didn’t know what to say. Until I do, sisters until you can, with the understanding we need nothing although we require many things we will be like the 12 virgins of 6 whom were foolish. The 6 foolish allowed their oil (energy, truth, understanding of and value for themselves) to go out of their lamps. They were depleted; and when their groomsman came, they missed him. Timing is everything. We must position ourselves in preparation for the longings of our hearts.
When we discuss men, we say we desire partners who are mentally, emotionally, sexually, financially, and spiritually mature. Well, maturity knows maturity. If we have not done our work and if we are not able to answer the question Ain’t I a Woman and define for ourselves what this mean, these men will pass us over. Their lack of making us their choice will not be about men who cannot or will not stand with us in our pain and our glory, but these will be men who will not own our bullshit.
However, the 6 wise virgins who kept themselves full, knew their worth. They set an intention that centered around Ain’t I a Woman who has needs that are expected to be met and expressed their faith through their actions of preparing themselves for the desires of their hearts. In this case, the focus were the groomsmen. In my imagination, these wise virgins were able to internalize they were enough and what a man brings is a bonus a wonderful exciting bonus. These women could receive their men (any desires of their heart) as they had let go of the baggage and could travel lightly. My, my, my I can imagine what a delicious night they must have had…lol. I digress. Sisters we must prepare ourselves. Heal thyself. Do the work. If therapy is needed, make an appointment and go with the intention of sitting with the question “Ain’t I a Woman?” What are the deepest desires and longings of your heart? Ask the questions that you may need a shovel to excavate the answer.
The honor and the healing is in the work that we do for ourselves. My ability to sustain myself came with the knowledge that I am unfolding, and there are layers to what I am learning. The ultimate gift is not the end results the destination so to speak in our seeking but the diamonds, gold, rubies, and jewels that we learn about ourselves along the way. This discovery is the truth that supports our understanding the answer to Sojourner Truth’s question as an unequivocal yes. We are women who have begun to mature when we understand Ain’t I a Woman is more than about a gender role. It is a declaration of taking our rightful places that is almost impossible to explain although we try. We most certainly cannot be contained as women. We have no borders. Until and unless we become clear, all we do is recycle confusion from one experience or relationship until another. My declaration today is I reclaim myself. All of me, particularly the adventurous, curious, sexual, and wild side of me. I no longer peek through the window of another woman’s experience. I make my own.
Some of you may say you do not need a man. How true when need is used in such a pejorative way. For me, having a male friend ask the question that my friend did, pushed me to go deeper than I would have with my sisters. I would have justified my answers and kept it moving. Besides, who said having a male friend had to be romantic? I have found enjoyment in some of my male friends. For my sisters, who would like a relationship, I have included a poem that I wrote titled Call My Name. Until we see ourselves, it does not matter who see us. We will miss the truth of all that is available to us including a loving relationship.
I said call my name and you said Love.
I said I’m waiting for you to call my name and you said Peace.
I asked again call my name and you said Solitude.
I looked and my facial expression said call my name. You said Laughter.
Tears rolled. I needed you to see me. I screamed call my name. You said I have.
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