I did not know when I jotted down “The War on Black Women’s Bodies” in my tattered notebook that the idea would evolve into something so much greater. More monumental. More meaningful. More transformative. I did not know the idea would evolve into one of the most important pieces in my still-very-infant body of work. At the time, I thought I was simply writing down the title of one of my more serious blog posts.
Earlier this autumn, I had a Gchat conversation with a friend, also the graphic designer who has worked on the series, about feeling both nervous and excited to implement the idea. In response, she said, “I think also you’ve taken a good amount of time to establish yourself and your blog so you can have these moments and take time out for certain things.” While Twenties Unscripted started as nothing more than a sincere, sassy and smart-assy take on growing up, the space has now changed.
Because now I realize growing up is about stepping outside of my own world and peering into the bigger world and what the implications of that bigger world mean for me. As I’ve said before in a poem, “This year was the first year that I ever looked at myself in the mirror and wondered if this world gives two shits about its black women.” I realized black women were in a state of emergency, battling so many issues that I had never really given voice to on my blog. So I knew I could turn a blind eye and keep writing 800-word posts about my quarter-life crisis woes, or I could pay attention and decide to do the real work.
This series has pushed me and changed me as a writer for the better. It has forced me to dig through books, interview women and pull bits and pieces of the information I’ve gathered to construct a cohesive narrative around substantial issues. It has made me stay up until 2 a.m., writing and making sure I was getting it right. It has forced me to step outside of my comfort zone and write beyond my own personal experiences. It has allowed me to understand what it means to work closely with an editor, to entrust my work to someone else knowing she will see the gaps and fix the hiccups better than I ever could.
But, more than anything, this series has introduced me to so, so, so many revolutionary women. I have fused facts with other people’s non-fiction. I have mixed stats with personal history. I have had the opportunity to speak with countless women as they have invited me to in to their mental, emotional and spiritual spaces. They have shared stories. They have schooled me on things I never considered before. They have challenged my own views and changed my own perspectives. I plan to list each of the contributors by name during the series finale, but for now, just know I am forever indebted to these women. I am honored, humbled and grateful to them for layering this project with the power of personal narratives. There is not a soul on this planet who can tell me that women sharing our stories is not revolutionary.
I owe these women the world and then some because they will always be part of a project that renewed me as a writer and a woman. I do not know where I would be without this project. I don’t know if I would still be writing. I don’t know if I would still feel an ounce of confidence about this space. It was a hard fucking year, and I can not think of a better and more beautiful note to end it on other than writing this series.
I am excited to write and share the second half of The War on Black Women’s Bodies beginning this Wednesday, Dec. 3. I am also excited to spill a little secret that this series will not end on December 17. There is more work to do. Stay tuned.
And be sure to join me and Part 3 co-writer Erica of EverythingEnJ this Wednesday for a special Twitter chat tackling all six parts of the series! See you there!