Sunday, November 21, 2010

#3 Sisters {10 things I want from Trinidad}

“You will always need other women…”—every wise woman I know

The journey that I have been on is blessed by countless numbers of women, sisters, midwives to my dreams. I move forward into my dance evolution with a daily awareness and gratitude that I have been loved and supported at all times by strong, beautiful, courageous women.

My mother Debra, whose life stories sparked the early seeds of The Mother Project, has 3 sisters and one brother. I was envious of her as a girlchild, growing up amongst all boys. “Where are my sisters?” I would want to know, especially after my mother’s 3rd and last child had the audacity to be another boy! I thought some injustice had been committed upon me, surely all girls deserve sisters in their lives.

I decided that there had to be another way towards sisterhood for those of us whose mothers’ wombs only brought forth one daughter. Early on I started making sisters out of friends, pouring my heart into relationships with other girls and women so that a sisterhood would be born and sustained. I am happy to say that many of these sisterships still exist, strengthened every year by a mutual love and commitment to being honest with each other through all of life’s twist and turns.

When I travel, I always find sisters. In Ghana, Clara Yaa Nsiah Asantewa took me as her own, guiding me through sacred places so that I could discover the land and its people for myself. I was also blessed to have Esther and Abenaa Opoku as my first homestay sisters in Kumasi, who lovingly honored me as their “big” sister. In Bali, I formed an instant bond with my roommate Ying from Thailand. We spoke little of the same verbal language, but connected on the unseen vibrational frequencies that allow us to gravitate towards our tribe.

It always amazes me how fast we can create a bond with another person, an instant understanding that we are a part of each other’s lives, and that this new union is actually quite ancient. It is in the re-membering of our soul family that we are reacquainted with people who have been a part of our tribe for centuries, millennia before this present day.

It was also in Bali that I met Amber RainMa. When I first saw her, I was speechless. It really was like looking in a mirror. We don’t share the same physical features, but our spirits are so similar, it was like seeing my soul-twin. Amber was not as awestruck as me; she said, “You are seeing yourself in me, that’s all.” Even though I have only seen her once more in over 4 years, as my sister she has been a constant source of love-spiration for all of my dreams, a healing beam of wisdom in moments of doubt.

I felt like a sister-magnet in India. Only several hours off the plane in Bangalore, and I was surrounded by a throng of bright-saried women, all picking at my pink and yellow clothes, pulling at my tightly-twisted, fresh Bantu knots (amazing what hairdos you can work up on a 20 hour flight!). I remember feeling quite calm, not at all violated or threatened by their curious touch. It instantly reminded me of the intimacy of sisters, the allowances not hindered by formalities or barriers. There is an organic warmth, a knowing that we’re all “related,” some way or another.

The Indian women were speaking to me, asking me questions, expecting answers. All I could do was smile. I felt like my tongue was broken, having not recalled the codes for the Kannada language in this lifetime. But they saw themselves in me, they looked at our brown skin, our vibrant colors, our inviting smiles and recognized me as their own, in spite of a tongue evaporated with distance and time.

There is a sensitivity amongst women that I celebrate. It is in the nuances, the check-ups, the tenderness that we bring to each other that makes sisterhood so sweet. It is in the way we read each other’s minds, forgive each other’s diss when that on-again-off-again heartache calls us away, make each other sweet things when we need to be nourished, raise each other’s confidence when we have lost faith in ourselves.

Sistering allows us the space to mother, and be mothered by women who are our peers, women who are not judging us, but seeing their reflections in us. Sistering supports the flexible imperative that womanhood brings. Sisters know that we are not just one type of woman, but that we morph and grow and discover new parts of ourselves each day. Sisters know that we need support through all our phases. Their support is unconditional and doesn't demand logical explanations when we change our personality/identity/relationship status/job/location/mood… Sisters just know that we are always in flux, flowing in a myriad of frequencies, encountering fear-laced illusions along the path towards self-directed realities.

The sisters in the Washington, DC community have held me close when I needed to cry, fed me food when I was too numb to eat, got me to dance when I was stiff with heartbreak, made me laugh when I needed to remember my joybeamself. The sisters here have been good to me in too many ways to write about today (but FYI, I could write a book or few, for each sister and how you have enriched my life!).

The sisters here and all over the world have helped me birth the dance journey that is my life’s work. I know there are more sisters coming into my life in just a few days. I am so grateful for ALL OF MY SISTERS, the ones I know, and the ones I am yet to know across the waters in Trinidad.

Stay tuned to the JOYISM! blog for the complete series, "10 things I want from Trinidad." Also, I will be writing about my dance journeys in Trinidad and posting them to the JOYISM! blog. Subscribe to the blog, join JOYISM!'s mailing list, "like" JOYISM! on facebook--stay connected to the dance!

Contribute! Make a donation to JOYISM!'s Trinidad dance residency at any time. Your support is always appreciated and is strengthening my ability to create dance and peaceful exchanges with communities around the world. Find out more about my program in Trinidad at

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