Artwork by Annelie Solis : www.anneliesolis.com
It is important that we as women of colour make joy and happiness a top priority in our lives. And while feminists of colour have contributed amazing theoretical work that help us to understand the intricate systems and forms of oppression that complicate our lives and often dampen our spirits.This all occurs on a cognizant level, in the space of the mind. Be that as it may, it is nevertheless important that we become vigilant in working towards our happiness and joy on the level of our emotions and hearts. In addition, we also must become conscious of the fact that we can also choose happiness- each and every time. And as bell hooks so wonderfully states ” Joy is connected to feminist thinking and practice”.
In 2008 The Black European Women’s Council published a book titled ” Voices of Black European Women: Reflections, Challenges and Strategies from the First Black European Women’s Congress ” . In this short, but insightful book, Black European women from diverse countries shared their reflections, challenges and strategies for creating a more socio-political inclusive Europe. There were many wonderful entries, but one contribution from a Black German Sister really caught my attention as it had to do with the subject of self-empowerment and identity for Black diasporic Sisters living in Europe. In particular for those living in Germany. In her contribution she recounted how she had spoken to another Black female friend one day and shared with her insights about life etc. And she also added that despite all the difficulties that Black people in Germany endure, she had chosen for herself to be happy. And not just happy, but “shockingly happy”. She continued on by saying that many of our activist Sisters of colour seem to choose a life of suffering, instead of one of happiness. It is often always about the struggle and how we can best counter all the oppressive forces that never give us a break. However, we rarely ever focus on our joy and happiness with the same amount of fervor that we use for the struggle.
And while, I am not certain that all our Sisters consciously choose to suffer, I will say that I have often seen that many are not conscious of the fact that they can choose happiness and joy regardless of what is happening around us. bell hooks (1993 p.14) also states that “choosing wellness is an act of political resistance”. I agree with Sister bell, but will add the happiness factor to this quote.!
Let us consciously choose to become not only happy, but as Toney-Robinson says “ shocking happy“. And in order to do this wellness and “Care of the Self” must become our number one priority. It is my heartfelt belief that mental, physical and spiritual wellness will become the revolutionary frontier and a primary source of empowerment for Black and women of colour.
Remember we are masterpieces of the Divine and must never ever forget it!
Joy, peace and happiness belong to us just by the fact that we were born! Being centered, joyful and happy is the greatest form of resistance that we can ever practice.
Sending you all peace, joy happiness and light.