As I type this post, my middle finger hurts, particularly when I bend it too much. I have what’s called “trigger-finger” which is caused when you do a repetitive movement too much – like typing. It’s this type of bullshit that makes me hate getting old. I used to roller skate backwards, do multiple front-hand springs, hike steep mountains, horseback ride and ski – and I never hurt myself. Now, all I have to do is type – TYPE – and I get an injury.
On the other hand, I do rejoice in my newfound “Grown Ass Womandom.” It is so incredibly freeing to not be burdened by the expectations of others as to who I should be – and to completely embrace everything that I am and all that I strive to be. I have become comfortable in my own skin — the parts that I like and the parts that I don’t. Hallelujah, I like me: flaws and all. I am living my life, owning my truth, walking my path. That’s what we grown-ass women do.
That is why I am loving Beyonce right now. I’ve always liked her music: the songs were catchy and captured various emotions. Now, I vibe with Beyonce. Now, I think that the two of us could go to a tiny Mexican restaurant in a strip mall, settle into a booth on broken vinyl seats, and take tequila shots in between hours of talking about nothing and everything because Beyonce is a grown-ass woman now.
Accordingly, Beyonce is doing what grown-ass women do (she just is doing it publicly). She is owning her truth (the bad and the good): raw and fishy, yet tasty like fresh sushi. And she is bold enough to first class mail her truth to the world with a “take it or leave it” stamp. She has switched out of neutral and is driving in the fast lane with the top down with wind blowing through her hair. If you honk, try to detour her, or set-up a road block, you are certainly getting the middle finger as she drives past (or over) you. That’s the beauty of being a grown-ass woman: you realize that no one can drive in your lane as adroitly as you. They don’t know the curves, hills, sharp turns and terrain as well as you — ‘cause you know this path better than anyone.
This path – your path — feels more comfortable than anyplace you’ve ever been. No one can guide you really, because it is yours alone. For the first time, you take your steps more confidently because though you may not know where the path will lead — you know you. So you walk taller as you embrace all that you are — as you are settled in your skin.
In Formation, Beyonce owned her Blackness—she stepped right into it—with her fist of solidarity raised proudly in the air. Clearly, she was no longer concerned with acceptability or trying to ensure that she didn’t make her majority audience feel uncomfortable. Boldly she stated, “ I am Black. I am proud of my people and my heritage. And I have a real problem with how my people are being treated in this country.” And white people lost their minds. Quite frankly, her declaration (as ridiculous as this is) was as big as when a sports star announces he is gay. For Black people to succeed in America — they must conform to a set of behaviors — namely you must act as if racism essentially doesn’t exist. When people look or hear you, they want you to reflect the false ideal that all is right with them and the world. Typically being a huge cross-over star means you must be “Happy” like Bobby McPherrin or Pharrell; not real, like Kendrick Lamar.
Then in Lemonade, Beyonce owned her womaness. We don’t get to just see a perfect picture of she, Jay Z and Blue Ivy on a yacht in People magazine, we get to see her soul. We get to connect with her personally. What woman hasn’t struggled in love and with relationships? She showed us that space where we’ve all been — that space where you cry so hard that your throat burns; where doing criminal things suddenly seems rational; where you hate yourself and question every decision you’ve ever made.
I don’t know if it’s age, but we grown-ass women are too tired to do anything else but be who we are, and to own what we are dealing with, even when it’s ugly. We don’t have the energy to do the “everything is perfect’ jig” or the “I want you to like me shuffle”. I am positive that the saying “I’ve run out of fucks to give” was created by a Black grown-ass woman.
People seem to be so distracted by what Lemonade was saying about the state of Beyonce and Jay-Z’s marriage that they missed the real relationship announcement — the announcement of Beyonce’s relationship with herself. She has accepted herself, stepped into her womanhood and is at peace with all that she is.
While she exposes Jay Z’s infidelity, she focuses on herself: her feelings, her decisions, and her healing. Grown ass women know that they must create boundaries for others, have expectations of others, but ultimately can only control themselves and how they react to others. The relationship with yourself is the primary relationship; and it is that relationship that dictates all of the others. Lemonade paints each complex layer of emotion that Beyonce (and that we) feel following a betrayal. She digs deep, pulls up and out, and grows. Lemonade is not a song about Jay Z and Beyonce as much as it’s a song about us and for us — Black women. She illustrates our struggles, our strength, our history and our sisterhood.
Beyonce speaks her pain, her journey, her redemption — shamelessly. That’s what grown-ass women do. We bond through sharing. We don’t judge each other the way young girls do because we recognize that our sisters are on their unique winding path, with their own baggage, just as we are on ours. In Lemonade, Beyonce reveals a bumpy, rough, uneven journey. She reveals that it was so rough that she was brought to her knees– so she crawled with a tear-stained face and dirt under her nails–weary, but not broken. It is her testimony. She lets us know that there is resurrection, hope, and redemption, as long as we keep on moving along our paths. Your sistas, and your sistas sistas have been moving along for centuries. Your strength is a centuries-old gift, passed on by your ancestors, to help you get back up when you have fallen — and to keep you moving forward.
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more