It was Audre Lorde’s birthday on February the 18th.There are some people who change the world just by being in it, and I feel like Audre Lorde was one of them. Simply being who she was, a queer black woman, and being unashamed and refusing to be erased and silenced was an incredible and revolutionary act. I first read Audre when I was twenty and she changed my life. Her journey from self loathing to love is something that still inspires me every day.
She was also one of the first people in feminist activism to realise that self-care is a radical act, not a sign of selfishness, but important for health sanity and for preserving energy to fight the fights that need to be fought. This idea is still revolutionary in many places and something we need to carry with us. People acting within their own limitiations is more than tolerable, it is important and helps to change the culture of our world.
She made me realise that art and advocacy are deeply intertwined,and at their core can be the same thing. Her words echo with truth and with power that has not diminished over time. They cut to the core of many of our experiences. Audre Lorde exemplified the idea that the ‘personal is political’, she always spoke her own truth, she never attempted to speak for others because she respected that each voice is unique and that we all experience the world differently. The mark she left on the world was one of profound magnitude.
Audre Lorde was a woman who always expected more. Both from the world and from herself. Her reminders that “women are powerful and dangerous” and “my silence will not protect me” tell me that my voice is important, that what I have to say matters and so it is because of Audre Lorde (and many others) that I will continue to keep speaking my truth as a human being and a woman. If not a single person read my work it would still be important because I am a human being with a story to be told, and that is enough.
“Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end. And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.”
My world has been made richer by Audre Lorde, she helped me realise the strength of my own voice, and so I would like to thank her for the strength of hers.
I am powerful. I am dangerous. I will never be silent.