she: girls/womyn*     blooms: uncovering who we are     black: unapologetically

(nonlinear…random…tangent…but, context)

*my personal is political*

…I do not exist in isolation. Born with the knowingness of sisterhood, community and villagers. Even my names, nicole jhan’rea, derived from the names and imaginations of my mama’s closes childhood friends.  As a child, I didn’t know that I shouldn’t love being girl or Black. Didn’t know I was expected to choose one over the other.

…I was baptized into feminism by sistas, Black womyn, so it never occurred to me not to be a womanist. Never occurred to me that this was a white womon’s thing. Black feminist thought was poured into me and I gladly absorbed it—I did not learn about white feminism until later.

…I am a plus-sized womon. I love my fluff. Once again, as a child I didn’t know not to love my fluff cos I was loved on and had baby dolls that looked like me. Yeah, Barbie was skinny, but wasn’t nobody checkin’ for her. I never made myself invisible cos of my fluff. Doesn’t mean I’m naive, I understand, but do not accept, society’s beauty standards does not include my body. It also doesn’t mean that by my mid-30’s that I didn’t wish I could go in any store and buy clothes. Wait, about that. I always shopped at the big-girl stores and went into the other stores for accessories…I never really thought about it til my mid-30’s. Why then? I’ll unpack that for ya more in my blog posts. Clothes aint really my thing though. Now underwear, that’s a different story. I heart underwear. That is the closest thing to me other than my skin. I blame my mama for that. She kept me stocked with undies and they were always super cute.

…I was raised by a master number 11, born on the solstice. (Do yo homework if you interested in the #blackgyrlmagic of that number and solstice science). My mama had a natural as huge as Mama Angie’s—in my head Angela Davis is my elder-homie-sistafriend, so, I call her Mama Angie. I always had a head full of hair, never was a big thing until other people made it a big thing. For years though, I cover my head. I love the art, beauty and self-choice of wrapping my head. Yes, the choice is cultural, spiritual and political—I am intentional.

…I am a fatherless daughter. Well, that’s what Mama Iyanla said, but as I sat at Harpo Studio, as a guest, for the taping of the “Fatherless Daughter” shows, I realized how much I’d healed and grown. Yes, that is still a part of my story, but it’s not the sum of my story. My father’s absence “learned me a lot” and oddly enough, I am grateful for how his absence enhanced my compassion for others.

…I got a few degrees. Yep, “the end” on that subject. Okay point is, I understand the privilege I have as an “educated” Black womon. But even with this privilege, I walk down these streets and exist as a Black womon in these americas (you unpack that if ya wanna).To this end, I am a mental health counselor:art therapist, pedagogy of the oppressed practitioner, certified positive youth development worker and an overall creative being.

…For years I’ve been a girls and womyn-centered practitioner supporting personal and communal growth and development. It’s my passion. It’s “who I is,” as well as, what I be and do.

…We’ve endured a lot as Black girls/womyn of the African Diaspora a.k.a. sistas in the whole wide world. Nations are built on our backs and from our hands. Yes, we strong, but we are also vulnerable and many of us are bent, not broken. I celebrate us and give us permission to be us, perfectly humon, complex, layered…glory. SHE blooms Black.

In loving memory of sistas who’ve been killed—to name a few: Rhonda Hartwright, Sandra Bland, Hadiya Pendleton, Rekia Boyd, Sakia Gunn…Endia Martin.


© nicole jhan’rea

*womyn is used as a less patriarchal and prejudicial spelling of women.

#SheBloomsBlack #nicolejhanrea