woManifest fertile
more berries imagination
you got this
you got this
you got this
-poem from my Full Moon Dreamboard, 28 March 2010

My friend, acclaimed filmmaker and cultural worker Aishah Simmons, introduced me to the term “woManifest.” I wrote it across my Dreamboard next to a drawing of a tree that contains Aishah’s cursive, a cutout from a birthday card she gave me four years ago.

What does it mean to woManifest? To wombManifest? To be powerful from within and have it be so without? To be constantly pregnant and giving birth to new ideas, projects, commitments that leave behind a body of work?

I’ve heard it said that the only thing you get to keep is what you give away. Since I was ten, I’ve been documenting my world inside the pages of journals everyday. I remember sitting in bed in my room with yellow walls tucking myself in with writing.

As I look at my Full Moon Dreamboard, I see four quadrants of color. I see dazzling women artists: Esperanza Spalding, a Native American woman hooking up solar power on the reservation, Anna Julia Cooper, Judith Jamison.

I see lightning. I see fruit. I see my craypas-scrawled notes to self: “Womanifest. You got this, you got this, you got this.”

I’ve been convinced lately that I’ll never figure Right Livelihood out.

How do I generate income doing things that I love? I have always known that I am here to be a writer. How does this translate into making a living that enables me to thrive? How do I move from surviving, barely, to thriving actually and completely? Is writing my bridge? It is doing restaurant work? Is it temping? Is it being a consultant? Is it teaching? How do I get paid for being, my favorite activity of all?

I’ve been acting as if the challenges I’m facing will always be with me, as if there are no answers slowly but surely on their way.

But in creating this Dreamboard, it came to me like a flash of light: I am powerful. I can do this. I can find solutions that work. I do not need to be saved. I am doing it now. I am saving myself. I am asking for help. I do not need to be saved from anything except the belief that I am helpless, alone, or incapable.

Above all else I see through this Dreamboard an artist reflected through the faces of other artists – a bassist creating new genres of music for the people, an elder sculpting clay, a manual camera capturing the visual ideas she wants to let out. I see myself wrestling with these images as both affirmation and a standard to reach toward.

Tonight as the first drops of spring rain trickle down in a fluid orchestra of sound, I am reclaiming and remembering my power. My power to woManifest. My power to create. My power to simply be.

May we have the courage to persist, insist, and allow.

We got this.
We got this.
We got this.

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