Grown Little Girl, Grow Little Girl by Chasity Jones Selenga


I have newly found myself a wife and in the throes of motherhood. In many feminist circles, I have encountered anti-family and anti-wifehood sentiments. The understanding is that to be a wife, and, to be a wife that chooses to start a family, is an oppressive position to occupy as well as the antithesis of the feminist movement. Though I am not typically a fan of tough physical, emotional, soulful labor, these two positions have been the highlights of my life so far.

My daughter embodies both my husband and me, physically. However, she is and will become her own person-soul. She is so young, but her soul is eternal, and has experienced eternity. I am here to help her navigate remembering who she is. She inhabits the intersection of Blackness, divinity, femininity, and infinity. Motherhood has greatly increased my capacity of appreciation for women and what women are capable of doing. Especially from the intersection of Blackness and woman-ness. From the capacity to create, labor, and deliver life to the task of raising Black children in a country that would have them annihilated, emotionally traumatized, and made to accept they are inferior.

Lola (paradise or heaven in Lingala) is a grown little woman. She embodies what Alice Walker has described as “womanish.** She is a mirror into my soul and the greatest teacher. She was born knowing exactly what she needs and doing her best to communicate those needs. I have never been so close to the divine feminine. I have never been so close to my ancestors, whose presence have been with me since I called on them in the delivery room. I have never been able to appreciate my mother, my mother’s mothers, and all the mothers in my life. Lola is a child of God and created in the image (Genesis 1:27) of God—Black and Feminine. Lola is a gift from Yemaya, goddess and origin of all life. I danced for her and she answered me.

I have always had a big heart, but in the moment Lola was born my heart exploded. For nine long months, I carried her inside of my body in the midst of the world aflame. I found out I was pregnant the day before the nationwide lockdown. As a Black woman, I am incredibly impacted by every police shooting of unarmed Black women, men, and children. During my pregnancy, the world watched as George Floyd begged for his mother as he simultaneously embraced and resisted his death. My husband also had the police called on him two days after this happened for parking in a space in which we have witnessed countless of white residents park while unloading or waiting for someone. The radical, rebellious, activist inside of me was ablaze. Yet, for the sake of my child, I could not be a part of the protests in response to George Floyd. I couldn’t even engage in conversation concerning yet another brutal attack against my beloved black community, a community in which I hold very dear to my heart and love unapologetically. Just 5 years ago, while living in Seattle, I would have been in the streets each and every day to participate, grieve, witness, and stand in spiritual solidarity with my people as well as George Floyd’s soul and family.

When George Floyd cried out for his mother as the white police officer, who had known him previous to this encounter, I couldn’t help but think about what it must be like for Black mothers to lose their children at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve us. I began to think about the journey ahead of the innocent and divine life inside of me and I still cannot conceive of my baby’s life being tarnished, touched, or snuffed out by racism and white supremacy. Much of my racial justice/decolonization work, before I was a mother, has been motivated by creating a world in which my children and descendants do not have to live with the same fears as myself and our ancestors. Woe is it to be a Black mother to Black children in the United States. I am just beginning to scratch that surface myself. It is this fear that plays into how my child will be raised, unfortunately. I pray that I can raise her to be a liberated young woman in the midst of living in a country that would have her light extinguished.

I am in another transition period in my life, in which I have to expand and transform how I see myself. For example, this summer, I could not be a part of the protests physically for fear of my health and the health of Lola. I had to see myself as an expecting mother protecting her child instead of an activist in the streets. Every time I would consider going to a protest, I would hear a story of police officers kicking a Black pregnant woman in the stomach resulting in the loss of the child or children being pepper-sprayed. I had to transform from focusing on my own mother’s fears of having three Black children, to contemplating the safety of my own Black child. I thought about all the known and anonymous Black mothers mourning the lives of their children from the slave trade through enslavement, from lynchings and church bombings to police shootings, and so on.

God, never let me have to mourn the lives of those that come from my womb.

~~~~~~~~~~~

** “From womanish.  (Opp. of “girlish,” i.e. frivolous, irresponsible, not serious.)  A black feminist or feminist of color.  From the black folk expression of mothers to female children, “you acting womanish,” i.e., like a woman.  Usually referring to outrageous, audacious, courageous or willful behavior. Wanting to know more and in greater depth than is considered “good” for one. Interested in grown up doings. Acting grown up. Being grown up. Interchangeable with another black folk expression: “You trying to be grown.”  Responsible.  In charge. Serious.

3. Loves music. Loves dance. Loves the moon. Loves the Spirit. Loves love and food and roundness. Loves struggle. Loves the Folk. Loves herself. Regardless.
– Alice Walker’s “In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens: Womanist Prose” (1983)”

~~~~~~~~~~~

Chasity is a Louisiana native and from a conservative, Evangelical background until moving to Seattle, WA to be a community organizer (young adult missionary). It was here she began to challenge traditional mission work in the context of colonialism and began her own process of liberation (decolonization). For the last two years, as a Master of Divinity student at Boston University School of Theology, she has focused her degree on exploring various Liberation Theologies including Black Liberation, Womanist, and Decolonization Theologies.  

She has recently launched Fourth Wave Revolution in an attempt to educate as well as decolonize! For the last five years, she has done this through various ways: sermons, adult Sunday schools, workshops, individual and collective consulting, yoga and mindfulness, support groups, and more!  It was her hope to one day give birth to a movement that would transform the way we engage in anti-oppression and anti-racism work while maintaining and in some cases recovering ourselves. According to Decolonial theorist Albert Memmi, racism is a symptom of colonialism (The Colonizer and the Colonized, 69-70). Therefore, we must reach deeper and address as close to the root as possible to dismantle racism and white supremacy. Fourth Wave Revolution is committed to digging deeper.

As a new mother, Chasity is also thinking into conscious parting as well as how to transmit the core of feminist, womanist, and liberation theologies to children. To stay updated on upcoming events, follow our Facebook page by clicking here!



Categories: Ancestors, Black Feminism, Children, Divine Feminine, Family, fear, Feminist Awakenings, General, Love, Motherhood, parenting, Womanist Theology

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12 replies

  1. Thank you for this heartfelt piece, full of passion and tenderness.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Every minority group has struggled with such unbearable suffering…. I am glad that “Black Lives Matter” has finally caught the public’s attention. And I am glad that you have connected with your womanist ancestors… your daughter is fortunate.

    I can’t help wondering if the original peoples of this country will ever be recognized as a people who are the poorest, whose land we stole, whose identity we stole…. who remain totally invisible except for a few individuals… i wonder…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a beautiful, meaningful, and wise post. I especially love the sentence “I am here to help her navigate remembering who she is” – such a wonderful way of expressing the task of motherhood! Lola is so lucky to have you as her mother. I look forward to your future posts and to checking out your Facebook page!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Welcome to the FAR blogsite! Thank you for a powerful, poignant post. What searing choices you have had to make even before Lola was born. May Yemaya hold you and all Black Mothers and Children in her fierce, protective embrace.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Beautiful. Your honesty moved me to tears. May we finally get things right for sweet Lola and her children.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love, love, love the picture of you and “Little Grown Girl!” Such joy!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a great post, Chastity. It’s wonderful to hear a womanist voice on Feminism and Religion again, especially one raised in protest that “Black Lives Matter!” I hope we hear more from you.

    I’m saddened to hear that anti-maternal and anti-wife attitudes are still alive in the feminist movement. They certainly were when I got married, but then I tied the knot in 1970, early in the 2nd wave of the women’s movement.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Dear Chastity,

    Welcome to FAR.

    I too have been criticized by other feminists, but I never let them define what feminist is. I always said to myself, “I am a feminist, this is what being a feminist looks like and feels like.” More power to you.

    I am so sorry you have to bring your child into a world where everyone does not recognize her beauty and right to life. May this change and soon! And if it doesn’t change soon enough, may she have the strength and the luck to survive and thrive.

    Love,

    Carol

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Power to you – the spitting image of God.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Welcome to FAR. What an exquisite daughter you have – bundle of love! Big Congrats. I am a first time grandma. I live in NY and am currently visiting my 2 month old granddaughter in Oregon. We grandparents have the same concerns. Thank you for articulating them so well.

    I also think you pointed out how feminism is ultimately about freedom – to be mother, community organizer, worker . . . any of those are feminist – its in the choosing for ourselves. May that be possible!

    I agree with Carol’s sentiments – I hope your daughter grows up in world that values her (and you) as much as it values everyone.

    I hope we become friends and I also hope my white granddaughter will become heart friends with your beautiful black daughter.

    Liked by 1 person

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