By AJ Thomas

20-years old



When I woke up this morning I was a Black woman.


It’s not to say that I wasn’t one before, but on this occasion I had changed. My skin was brown, my hair was curly, and my lips were full. I had become a Black woman; I had become a wild thing.


In his poem entitled “Self-pity” the poet D. H. Lawrence says, “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself.” My metamorphosis from a caterpillar to a butterfly was a slow process.


I was afraid of so many things – ashamed of so many things. I had allowed myself to wallow in this self pity and it truly hindered my development. I was constantly worried about how society viewed me. But I have learned that I have no control over what people think of me and that it is, in fact, none of my business. It is only my business to become a better me – to become a better Black woman so I can aid my Black brothers and sisters in becoming a better us.


Black life is continually defamed, criticized, ridiculed, marginalized, and ignored. What is worse is that we sometimes help, whether purposefully or inadvertently, perpetuate these negative ideologies.


As a Black community we have to come together more than ever before if we want to continue to uphold the legacies of our ancestors. This generation has Sojourner Truth’s, Martin Luther King’s, Harriet Tubman’s, and Barack Obama’s. This generation has the chance to make a difference – to bring about a change. We just have to be willing to fight for it – to fight for justice.


As Harriet Tubman said, “I freed thousands of slaves, and could have freed thousands more, if they had known they were slaves.” I am no longer a slave to my fears, to others opinions and perceptions of me, to stereotypes, to any negativity. I am an advocate. I am a Black woman and I WILL make a difference.


I declare that today I woke up as a wild thing – as a Black woman in all of her glory, with love for herself and love for her people.