"She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It's good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind." From Beloved by Toni Morrison
(c) by Rhonda Sherrod
On yesterday, I bounced onto the bus, en route to downtown Chicago from my suburban home, briefcase flying one way and my purse another. When the bus lurched forward as I was advancing toward a seat, my attempts at maintaining my equilibrium ended with the papers I had been reading at the bus stop high-flight sailing all over the back of the bus while I tried to take a seat with as much poise as I could muster. Nevertheless, it was a decidedly less than graceful moment.
Just as I was sucking in air and about to breathe a disgusted little sigh, two brothers bolted from their seats, practically fighting over who would rescue this damsel. Finally, the victor caught the papers, before they even hit the filthy floor of the bus, and served them up to me.
“Thank you, thank you so much,” I gushed to my hero. Then I turned to his competitor and enthusiastically thanked him, too – for competing.
Both smiled that coolness that brothers exude as another brother, flanking me on the other side, engaged me:
“Got somewhere important to go?” he ventured, smiling sweetly.
“Yes, I am.”
He waited… so, I continued: “I have an important business luncheon. I just started my own business not too long ago.”
“Wow? I hope it goes well,” he said with such sincerity and genuineness it startled me. This stranger, whom I had never seen before, seemed so invested in my success – a throwback to the way it used to be.
“I do, too. I do, too.” I smiled, warmly.
“Well,” he said emphatically. “I always start with ‘I will.’ You know, ‘I will have a good meeting. I will get what I need to make this business go.’”
“Okay,” I said, by now lost in his thoughts.
Eventually, I returned to reading the papers that had cascaded out of my hands. When I looked up again, I stared at each of the three Black men with whom I had just interacted, scrutinizing them. One was looking out the window with his headphones on, his face tight and weary from life, but still comfortably lost in his music for the moment, I supposed. Another was, no doubt, exchanging amusing texts judging from the delighted little expression on his young boyish face; and my “philosopher,” the sweet, elderly philosopher, was scanning his environment with what I came to realize was a perpetual smile on his face.
Suddenly, I was overwhelmed – overwhelmed with a sense of grief and sadness. My thoughts centered around how unfair it is for Black men to constantly fight the vicious stereotypes long put forth by the dominant culture that portray them as anything but who they are: good, kind, generous human beings doing what we are all doing. They are trying to make it in a tough, often cold world. Then, to have to carry that reprobate baggage that others have draped around their necks, like a huge oppressive weight, well, anybody can grasp just how unfair that is…
On my way home, from a successful meeting, I sat down on the bus and heard an excited, “Hey!” I looked up into the smiling face of my philosopher. What were the chances that I would run into him again on my way back…
He interrupted my thoughts: “How did it go?” he asked with the same intense sincerity he had manifested earlier.
“It went really, really well.”
“Wonderful,” he exclaimed. “I knew it would. I’ll see you later.”
He bounced off the bus, still smiling.
Aah, brothers… I wish you were free of other people’s sickness (and free from internalizing other people’s sickness to your detriment).
The essay is from the book: Surviving, Healing, and Evolving ©
Question for the Month (October):
"Brothers, when was the last time you cried and why?"
Send your answer through the Contact Us tab, and we will post a few of them.
"I teared up last night-- when I read this page! This is good work, Rhonda." Eric
"Rhonda, thank you for this." Akbar
SHE for Him, what a concept. Love it. Love you. Derek
Love the essay and the quotes from you and Toni Morrison. Thanks, Rhonda. Perry
SHE for Him
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Quote of the Week:
December 3, 2017
"There is a notion out there that black people enjoy the Sisyphean struggle against racism. In fact, most of us live for the day when we can struggle against anything else. But having been, by that very racism, pinned into ghettoes, both metaphorical and real, our options for struggle are chosen long before we are born. And so we struggle out of fear for our children. We struggle out of fear for ourselves. We struggle to avoid our feelings, because to actually consider all that was taken, to understand that it was taken systematically, that the taking is essential to American and echoes down through the ages, could make you crazy."
We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy
Quote of the Month -
"...she had nothing to fall back on; not maleness, not whiteness, not ladyhood, not anything. And out of the profound desolation of her reality she may well have invented herself."
Brilliant multiple prize-winning author
"I am a woman -- gorgeously designed, brilliant, charming, mysterious, funny, bewitching, cool, and, most of all, uniquely purposed. I am my own phenomenal being, and I own and govern myself!"
Dr. Rhonda Sherrod
"Dipped in Chocolate, Bronzed in Elegance, Enameled with Grace, Toasted with Beauty.
My Lord, She's a Black Woman."
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BE TRUE TO YOURSELF
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