So I was walking home last Friday, listening to my shuffle and watching people watch me. I started wondering what about me would cause people with a clef lip or an eye patch (that others would usually stare at) to stare at me. Am I really that much to look at? My siblings did always say I was pretty funny looking. (Good thing we all look so much alike)
Then I thought maybe it wasn't how I look really, but how I walked. At a backpackers in Namibia (The Chameleon) a British guy once asked me "What is the name of the way Black Women walk that takes the mickey out of other women?" I was surprised when he remembered that it was called "Switching." The way Black women walk has international fame. I thought about all of the amazing Black women in history and in my family. It had to be the pride and strength of our walked that amazed others.
At this point in my walk the song switched to "Lights Camera Action" by Mr. Cheeks, which encouraged me to put more pep in my step.
Listening to the rhythms I started reciting "Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou
"Pretty women wonder where my secret lies . . .
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenally. . ."
I realized that very few Black women have been to Kolkata (I've met only one other, and heard of another). How much history I carry with me all the time.
By this time I was feeling a bit warm. I decided to try and take off my sweater without taking off my book-bag (a technique I perfected while in Namibia). While trying to negotiate this I ended up nearly flashing half of the cars and people on the bridge I was crossing.
At which point I figured that was really the reason people watched me. Because I do silly things like try to take off my sweater without taking off my book-bag first. And I should probably spend more time trying to live up to my examples than just reminiscing about them. "Please Bring Honor to Us All" from the Disney movie "Mulan" started to run through my head.
"Ancestors, Hear my plea,
Help me not to make a fool of me,
And not upset my family tree,
Keep my father standing tall . . ."
But by this point "Light's Camera Action" on my ipod had switched to "Gimme" by Jill Scott. With a smile, a nod, I grooved my way home. Because sometimes at the end of a long week you need to groove home.