I have often been known for telling the story of my many Mothers. Every single time, without fail, the story changes and evolves, as I indulge my listeners with stories of my mentors; women that have in some way transformed my beautiful existence. These Women have poured their own femininities into my heart and it over flows like wine in a drunkards mouth. Some have infused my life merely by existing with such confidence, energy and extensive personal power. I can’t even begin to express how fortunate I am… scratch that how blessed, lucky, indebted to the universe I am for the amazing women I’ve had the honor of crossing paths with, in body and some in spirit. And I’m not referring to your modern-day pop culture divas (though much respect to them). I’m referring to the reason that they are able to be who they are today… the trail blazers such as Cleopatra (hello), Joan of arc, Emily Dickinson, Frieda Kahlo, Simone de Beauvoir, Mother Teresa, Helen Keller, Harriot Tubman, Betty Friedman, Gloria Steinem, and one of my personal heroes, Maya Angelou… Just to name a few. And yes, these valiant women all come from diverse walks of life. They individually have their different passions and convictions that are rich with ambition. BUT what they do have in common is… that they are all pioneers in what is known as (((Freedom))) for all us ladies today. They used their human entitlement to thought, choice and greatness in order to change their individual worlds and ours! THEY WERE ALL FREE THINKERS!!!
There is nothing more inspiring than a free mind!
I’m also speaking about the women who have presently taken advantage of those freedoms and are moving mountains with it. Sonia Sotomayor, Michelle Obama, Oprah, Nancy Roland Johnson, Betsey Johnson and even the controversal Hilary Clinton, are just a SMALL few utilizing the beaten path to pave new ones. I’m also speaking about Real “around the way” women that are beautiful because they are strong, decisive, intelligent conquerors. My mother, Maritza (Luv u). My step mother, Jeanie (the woman who taught me about virtue, patience and egg in a hole lol). My best friend, Jessica (Proof that genuine people do exist even if they are few and far in between).
Then you have the passers-by, the beautiful masses that fuel this unpredictable and exciting life. A woman passing me in the subway with that look in her eyes that say, “I’ll do anything I want! I will be exactly who I Love to be…I will be ME (AND WHAT!! lol); and maybe today, I’ll take over the world!” or the single mother in the grocery store, juggling her cellphone, her purse and a box of captain crunch cereal; with an extra hand available to tie her kids shoes. These are as much my heroes as the women mentioned above. Just typing the names of my many mothers and conjuring thoughts of women that project power and unshakable strength fills me with courage, vigor and an excitement for life. knowing their stories gives my faith in moving mountains. They remind me that I am ALIVE, and that I am a woman, and that both are not rights they are privileges! So in light of International womans day this is my tribute to my many mothers!
Still I Rise
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
CLICK on IMAGE to be directed to BetseyJohnson.com!
Simone de Beauvoir
“I am too intelligent, too demanding, and too resourceful for anyone to be able to take charge of me entirely. No one knows me or loves me completely. I have only myself “— Simone de Beauvoir
“I tore myself away from the safe comfort of certainties through my love for truth – and truth rewarded me.”
— Simone de Beauvoir
Joan of Arc
“One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.” -Joan of Arc
This is my all time favorite of her pieces!
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!
The third eye represents her respect for her husband Diego’s intellect and Wisdom. His lingering over her forehead suggests that he is always on her mind. And though she laughed about his indiscretions the tears reflect her deeply rooted sorrow for his betrayals. The hair around the neck says she feels strangled. I bet it was the love she was strangled by. The fact that she could never really let him go.
I Would put them all up if I could!
Sonia Sotomayor (((Toma!)))