31 Days of Radical Self-Expression
My homegirl, Arielle Loren, an incredible writer and total radicalselfie, was the first person to bring the term “future tripping” — the (not so fine) art of worrying about what might happen in our future, to my attention. I’d be lying if I didn’t cop to riding that train on occasion, and sometimes, I see YOU on that train too. It’s cool though; I think it’s part of a process for me, and though I get on the train, I’m learning how to ride for shorter distances, and in some instances, how not to get on that bytch at all!
A few weeks ago, I visited the grave site of my grandmother’s mother, with my grandmother, and my mother, and both my daughters. It was an epic experience, to put it lightly, and as I engaged and observed, I wondered…
…what dreams and goals my great-grandmother had at my age
…what my grandmother was feeling as she reconnected with memories of her mother
…what the experience would inspire in my mother
…what my daughters would remember about that day
…how this experience would later show up in my work (my writing)
My father (a representation of my past and my present) and my husband (a reflection of my present and my future) were also there, and I was so grateful to have such a complete picture of the people and representations of love and life experience. I realized that day that I did not have to wait for moments like those to be present, to think about my past, and to speculate on my future. And by “speculate” I do NOT mean worry.
I could spend time, anytime, considering the women and men who helped shape the world I came into, and I could use those considerations as fuel for my journey. When I do that, I feel powerful, and supported, and I feel like part of tribe. A tribe of women and men who garnered respect and love; so much so, that their offspring would bring their offspring to their graves to honor them, and to tell their stories.
I share this with you in hopes that you know your tribe, whether they are blood relatives or soul connections. Knowing your tribe is not about groupthink or being like anyone else. But it is about seeing bits of yourself in the stories and memories of others, and it is also about celebrating the ways in which you choose to be different.
I am very different from my grandmother and my mother in many ways. And in some ways, I am very much the same. I could look at their pasts, reflect on their stories, and I could choose to either worry about making the same choices they made, or I could celebrate the numerous GOOD choices they made. In either set of choices, those women did the best they could, they survived their pasts, and they created opportunities for their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren to make more empowered choices.
When I future-trip, it tends to be connected to memories of bad choices in the past. But that day, with those women, men, and girls, I couldn’t help but think of the future. And when I did, on that day, I had no worries. I told my great-grandmother’s spirit that she did well, and that the moment we were in, was the one that mattered. And then I reminded myself of that truth, and will continue to do so, out loud when needed, until I spend less time on that future-trippin’ train, and more time celebrating my now. That feels far more radical and far more beautiful than all the what-ifs.