When I compare who I am and what moves me to what appears to be the cross-section of black culture that matches me (superficially, anyway), I am just not that person. My upbringing just will NOT have it. I will never divorce the southern washing of my soul from the cultural enlightenment that I have painstakingly achieved by drowning myself in the people’s history. At heart, I am a country girl who is a bleek and a blerd and without the “fleek” necessary to be bougie. There is something ground up deep in my spirit that I will never scrub away, like so much sand in the floor boards.
Don’t get it twisted–I enjoy bougie things. I love to learn new perspectives in womanist/feminist theories. I love hiphop, go-go, and obscure neo-soul and afro punk music. I enjoy rousing conversations about race, culture, and global trends in religion, education, and sexuality–and all of the politics that engulf them. I dig spoken word poetry and brunching and wine tasting. My afro currently resides in a zip code all its own as I have managed to find my perfect triumvirate of products that have my wash-n-go walking on sunshine. I can quote Garvey and Hamer and Neale Hurston and Morrison and Giovanni and MLK and Farrakhan. I heart D’Angelo and Nikki Minaj in the same beat. Black lives matter to me.
But as I attempt to fully engage with the group of Black people who most match me ideologically (that I have searched for all my life), I notice more and more that the person I have so desperately wanted to become is simply not who I am. The more confounding thing, though? I realized that it wasn’t who I really wanted to be either.
And I am starting to be okay with that: being a very intelligent, very country me.