Embracing the power within

These words came to my mind as I read the first two pages of Audre Lorde's essay titled, “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic Power.”

“Fear of that which we are, and possess, diminishes the power within us, and makes us less of who we are, and are meant to be. Embrace the power within you today!” – Amy Akomas (Note to self).

The above essay by Lorde resonated with me in a very profound way. I also understand how her opinions will be viewed as feminist, especially by the men-folk. However, I will say to the men who would dismiss this essay as feminist to remove the word “Erotic” out of the essay, and replace it with words like courage, truth, knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and so on, to see that this essay applies to all human beings on this planet.

Lorde affirms this fact when she asked the question, “How often do we truly love our work even at its most difficult?” (P 55) This question I know can be answered by both men and women. I recently met a man who is now retired but hated his job for thirty years and does not miss working in the corporate world.

What this essay is trying to convey is that, when we stick with that which is safe and considered “normal” by the society, we not only live in mediocrity, but remove ourselves from that which brings us pure joy and a sense of fulfillment even when things get difficult for us.

The above message by Lorde I know too well, having abandoned Pharmacy School after completing a two year Pre-Pharmacy program, and transferring to DePaul for a degree in Journalism instead. Why did I do this? After a full year’s struggle with the question of what really made me happy, if I wanted to live the rest of my life doing something that paid me well which I was sure I was not going to enjoy doing no matter how book smart I might be, and my brain literally freezing for a whole quarter, I realized I had to move forward to that which I knew would make me happy. The moment I made the decision to go into Journalism, I felt a renewed sense of power and freedom which I hadn’t felt for a long time.

The words that came to my mind as I read this article also apply to another essay by Lorde, “Man Child: A Black Lesbian Feminist’s Response.” Stepping away from the norms and rules demanded by society, and staying true to ourselves and who we truly are, will not only bring freedom and joy to each human being, but would also empower children to navigate their ways through society with confidence and be able to stand up for themselves.

Truthfulness and openness with one another should be the light that guide our way in our communication with one another in the society. I also believe that this will make us more authentic human beings, and relieve us of fears and regrets.

Audrey Lorde's full essay on the uses of the erotic may be found here: http://bit.ly/zNR6x