Yo! Didn’t know I needed you all in my life till you became apart of it. Check it, a longing persisted inside of me from way back. Somewhere between almost a teen, and being one. You know, that part of your life when friends and fitting in is mad important.
But, that’s thing. I never been on intimate terms with fitting in. Don’t get it twisted, I know how to fake the funk. Didn’t matter. I was always called out on shit, like talking white, or talking like I was inside a book. As if speaking well, and being down could not coexist. I never went back at people for what they said. Stunned silent by the fear, which crept up my neck, I worried I really wasn’t a homegirl. Surrounded by old school Latina Donas and the new generation, homegirls. I wondered where I could find myself. My place.
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal Woman by: Maya Angelou
You see my definition of a homegirl use to be someone who was mad fly and the illest. And, not just on a fashion sense tip, but the way they carried themselves. You know, as if Maya Angelou’s poem Phenomenal Woman was inspired by them. It was later that I learned that a homegirl can be defined by more than just by her appearance. That beneath the lacquered nails, hoop earrings, made up face, and latest kicks or Timbs depth existed.
The funny thing, B. I began to believe the shit people fed me. That I couldn’t be both deep and woke, and still be a round way girl. Ha! Shit is absurd once you break it down. So, a yoga practice deletes the fact I was raised in a neighborhood that back in the day was referred to as Gunset? A love for hip hop negates my love for books? Fuck that! All these adjacent parts are what makes me, well me.
The truth is homegirls are vast, unable to be defined. Words like: mad, dope, fam, bet, fly, hustle, yo, got you, and phrases like giving no fucks, clapping back, come correct, and shady as fuck are only a part of the lexicon that makes us who we are. We speak a beautiful and sultry duet of Spanglish. Nah, don’t sleep on us homegirls though, because the same mouths which spilled slang and Spanglish, can recite poetry, shape metaphors, preach self-care, quote lines from books, list titles of books faster than a library computer data system. Our lips tell stories that move and inspire.
Our fierce is often confused with attitude. But, beyond the sass and deep red lipstick are things unseen. Kisses to the foreheads of our children, pecks on the cheek as we greet one another, and against the lips of our lovers. We can snap our heads backs to cackle, to curse someone out, or study someone, before we let them in. Our shoulders are both made to lean and to carry. This is the second sexiest thing about us, only after our hearts.
Homegirls, you know who you are. You have read my writing, cheered me on, kept it one hundred with me despite the scowl on my face. Damn, you’ve challenged me to write a year of weekly essays, questioned why I don’t do more for my writer self, asked to read my manuscript, read and helped me revise my short stories, flash fiction pieces, and essays for submission. Sent me encouraging messages, pointed out the victories of writing, rejoiced in the joys of the process with me, and have allowed me to lean on you. But, your greatest gift, you have inspired me.
Fire yo! It’s what you all are, fire. It burns bright, and radiates despite the trauma, which has threatened to put us out. When I’m scared, and think I’m not at all a guerrera. I think of you, and that blazing fire inside every one of you. I see myself huddled alongside all of you. And, I’m reminded of my own fire. Illuminated by my own flames, I tell myself together we are a bonfire.
You see, I believe this, long ago there were these princess warriors. You know when the Chibchas, Aztecs, Mayans, Tainos, Incas had their empires. When those civilizations died off, the souls of the guerraras drifted for a long time. Until they found the sad and broken hearts of the girls from the hood. That was when homegirls were born. Correction when we were born.