Published on March 6th, 2020 | by Candace Simpson
“I See You, Sis!: Celebrating Ourselves for Women’s History Month”
It’s Women’s History Month! Usually during this month we read about the accomplishments and contributions of women. And of course, as with every commemorative season, we have to notice who gets lifted up and who gets conveniently forgotten.
So, this year I’ve decided to honor myself. That’s right. It may sound silly and even self-centered, but you know what? I’ll be that today. I hope that every woman reading this feels she can take a moment to honor herself—her own brilliance, growth, and capacity to learn as the days roll on. You don’t have to fit into any cis-heteronormative, Eurocentric, capitalist-adjacent concept of womanhood to celebrate yourself.
In a world where it’s hard enough to be taken seriously as a lover, parent, professional, and human for no other reason than gender, I intentionally honor us.
In that spirit, here are three moments of my own personal womanly genius:
1. I sewed a track back in my head.
In 2016, I spent my second-to-last grad school refund by splurging on a 3-bundle set of Indian wavy. It was an investment, and it certainly did pay off. But I was new to weaves. I’d only had one other sew-in before.
I was really feeling myself until one morning I woke up to find that a track had jumped ship. There was no way I could walk around and go about my daily activities without attending to this very pressing matter. “A hat!” I thought, “That might work!” But the hat wasn’t going to work at my internship.
I looked over at my sewing kit and remembered that it’s called a “sew-in” for a reason. I took the only thread I had, navy blue, and threaded my needle like I was getting ready to put a button back on a jacket. I sewed that bad boy down and went about my day. Of course, when I got to my hairstylist, she noticed I’d improvised.
“Um… is this blue thread? Who did this to you?”
“Look, it was either this or staple the track to the cap, and we all know that was a lot more dangerous.
2. I got in and out of a jumpsuit in time for the bathroom.
I love jumpsuits. They make everyone look instantly put together. Every time I wear a one-piece, I feel sophisticated. Regal. Fashionable. But jumpsuits need to come with labels that read, “This piece requires a third hand.” You will regret your fashion choice when the day you’re wearing a romper is also the day you drink several cups of coffee to keep yourself awake at work. Like the genius I am, I started noticing the pattern.
So instead of waiting for the very last minute, I put myself on a schedule. I began setting alarms on my phone, little reminders that I would soon need to make a leisurely stroll to the restroom. That way, if it took 5 minutes to get the zipper down, I would not be distracted by the simultaneous jitters of the pee-pee dance.
We can always hope another comrade in the bathroom can get us started. But bathroom-buddies are not always promised to us.
3. I can’t cook, but if a friend is in need, I know how to make waffles and bacon.
I am allergic to cooking. I don’t like doing it. I only cook to keep myself alive. But every so often, a friend needs some love, and drinks or a fancy dinner won’t do. It’s the kind of love that requires a “come over, I’m making waffles and bacon.”
Because breakups can’t be processed at the hottest brunch spot—you need a couch for that. For these sorts of moments, you need batter (right now I’ve been using store-bought, but I do plan to make my own) and a waffle iron. This is what we do. We hold space for each other. Having someone cook for you can be very healing—they don’t call it comfort food for nothing.
I learned this from my mom who makes waffles for her colleagues, and I’ve seen my homegirl Quandisha do it with a few pans of wings and a bucket of corn. Georgia Gilmore helped underwrite the activities of the Montgomery Bus Boycott with her plates and desserts. Something magical happens when we put a few coins together and turn on the stove.
There are plenty of other stories of everyday triumph. Perhaps in your own life, dear sisters, you have realized that you made magic happen. Celebrate yourself. Share that wisdom with others. Teach others your strategies.
Happy Women’s History Month to you. May each of our accomplishments bring us closer to a better world for all.
Candace Simpson is an educator, minister and writer. She believes that Heaven is a Revolution that can happen right here on Earth. She invites others into that philosophy at www.fishsandwichheaven.com.