When I first decided in 2014 that I wanted to create the #ImNotYourEnemy shirt to jumpstart a conversation on sisterhood, I imagined the shirt orders I would make, the people that would call, the conversations that would be started all over the country. I was ready to be a part of the solution in contributing to sisterhood amongst women of color as a mainstream topic, a lifestyle, a pledge, a form of activism. What I did not realize is that my definition of sisterhood has evolved heavily since that summer in 2014. But I was not aware just how much my experience of sisterhood has grown until that Sunday at the #StillNotYourEnemy Brunch Experiment. Here are the top 5 things I was reminded of when it came to sisterhood:
1. Sisterhood is a Community Organization
The #StillNotYourEnemy Brunch could not have happened without the dedication of Black women that surrounded around the idea of openly and fearlessly speaking on sisterhood, as it exits in our lives today. This was not a one woman show, as I thought the #ImNotYourEnemy movement would be (as usual, the Black woman feels the need to carry the burden of the world on her shoulders). Sisterhood in action is a lot more kind than that. Without the women who have supported me since the beginning, I wouldn't have had the inspiration and courage to expand and open my vision beyond me.
2. Sisterhood is fluid
Sisterhood should have the ability to move between, in and out of all different types of spaces. I was reminded that day that to speak on sisterhood is to speak to the diversity in existing as a Black woman. That means LGBTQIA voices; that means multi-generational voices; that means Black voices from all identifications; the Black diaspora. As I grow in my Black womanhood, sisterhood becomes less of a definition and more like a moving, breathing, force that pushes all of us forward in unique ways.
3. Sisterhood is unity AND individuality
Unifying women in the name of sisterhood is not a hard idea to celebrate and stand behind. But I have to accept that we are all individuals first. We do not need to sit at the same table all the time. Sometimes Black women are not going to be the best of friends. That is a fact. We strive for unity but not at the expense of our individuality as human beings. We can be true to ourselves without ostracizing our fellow sisters.
4. Healing is mandatory
Sisterhood is community work and like community work it requires all facets of our being, spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental. During the panel discussion, it was suggested that thought we do all we can to support each other, self-care should still be our top priority. Sometimes that means investing in ourselves more than carrying the weight of another's burden, problems, and drama, especially if it is toxic in nature.
5. More safe spaces, more safe spaces!
The most important message I got from the #StillNotYourEnemy Brunch is that we need more safe spaces. We as Black woman need places that we can go where we do not need to explain our existence, our struggle, and our experiences. We need a space to recharge and reboot. That is why I want to continue what LuxyLoaded has inspired, a physical manifestation of the #ImNotYourEnemy movement. I want to provide safe spaces and conversations for women of color to come to celebrate, to cry, to heal, to laugh and to be, unapologetically.
Stay tuned for it!
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Tayllor Johnson currently resides in New York City where she has begun her journey into Poet. Passion. Period. In between those learning moments, she sometimes has just enough time to jot a few lines...