I spent half of my life bound up in secrets! Secrets of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Secrets of having contracted HIV at age 20 and oh so many secrets of self-abuse. The African Proverb, "He who conceals his disease cannot expect to be cured," is so true. I'm telling you, the secrets that I was living with had started to kill off a vital part of me, my spirit, and when the spirit dies, the body is sure to follow. For without one's spirit, there is nothing to live for.
Yet, it is undeniably true that the truth is hard for people. Maybe they don't want to hear your truth because then they are forced to deal with their own truths. Or at least to think about them. Maybe they don't want to hear the truth, because the lie unspoken is easier than the truth spoken softly. In the past, this was true for me as well. But one day, it was as if God sat in my living room for a daughter to Father chat and said to me, "Enough is Enough!"
Twitter followers, less people who purchase my bracelet designs RLT Collection, and the list goes on and on. This has been especially true as a business woman. As of lately, my bracelet collection helps keep food on my table. So sometimes my human self begins to wonder if the truth is too much, but then God sagely speaks to my spirit and reminds me that I am to walk boldly in my gifts and He will make a way out of what my appears to be no way.
Yesterday Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. celebrated 100 years as an organization. As one of the largest and oldest African-American sororities, it is truly a milestone. Yet for me, it was bittersweet. While I tried to be happy for Delta, I really did, I couldn't fake the funk.
Yep, yesterday was hard for me to say the least. Hard because I never thought that I wouldn't be in Washington, D. C. this pass weekend with the thousands of Delta women there to celebrate years of sisterhood and service. On one level, it was like being a child looking into a old fashion candy store and knowing in your heart that your parents don't have the money to buy even a nickel's worth of candy.
|The day I was inducted into Delta!|
I'm not going into the details again. Ima save you and me from that drama. Either purchase my book, The Politics of Respectability and read the entire epic of how my life clashed with Black Women and Respectability from my mother to Delta Click Here, or watch the now infamous video where I discuss the drama of the particular events that landed me out of Delta, Click Here
Yet on another level, I couldn't help but to think about another truth; the truth of contradictions I felt about the Sisterhood over these last 10 months. While I think that no one can EVER take away the 100 years of service to the black community that Delta has done, it is true that for me at lest, the Sisterhood took a back sit to the sister. Which at its core is suppose to be the Essence of Delta.
|Cythina McIntyre Butler at the podium. Bishop Vashti McKenzie seated on the far right|
I will never forget it as long as I live. Cythina, ended the phone conversation, with a simple answer to my simple question, "Soror, I asked, Am I being put out of Delta over this?" I felt like a child being chastised by Motherhen in that conversation and I needed clarity. I heard a soft chuckle come through the phone. Always the Southern Bell and Human Resource Guru, "No Soror, no one is putting you out of Delta." She continued, "I just ask that you don't discuss the incident publicly or tweet about it. I just need time to smooth things over." I said yes and I was a woman of my word.
Yesterday, I wondered how Cythina felt 14 months later, after having absolutely no contact with me in the months after that first phone call on February 16. How she felt making that call to tell me that the Executive Committee had voted to rescind my honorary membership. I know how I felt, betrayed.
I wondered as I saw all the wonderful pictures on Instagram, who from the Executive Committee called me Soror for 12 years and then voted me out of the Sisterhood over my tweets without any conversation with me about the incident. Both of these thoughts sent me into a crisis and made me explain to myself, my love for this Sisterhood both on May 1st and on yesterday.
If any were there that use to follow me on Twitter but stopped on May 1st.
I wondered who from Twitter that continues to follow me, because to unfollow me would be in bad taste, but they still don't speak to me any more because they don't want to be looked at with a side eye from other Soror's, yep I wondered if any of them were in this sea of red.
I wondered if the Soror who I thought was my personal friend, who not only unfollowed me on Twitter, then blocked me so that I wouldn't see her talk about me because I quote, "I made Delta look bad in that video, " was there being the good Delta that she is and all.
I wonder if any of the Sorors who use to check in with me from time to time to see how I was doing, but has since stopped. Not because they don't care about me, but it's such an uncomfortable mess that no one wants to honestly address; so it's easy to do nothing at all. Yep, I wondered if any of them were there.
Then I thought about all the Sorors who still tweet me, but didn't tweet me on yesterday. Because yesterday was Delta's Day and to show the sister thrown out of the Sisterhood some love on yesterday would caste a dark light on the Sisterhood. I asked myself, "How could I love something so much that hurt me so bad?"
If they would have thought that I was an outspoken asses with zeal and determination or a liability with a big vulgar mouth.
I wondered because as the history of Delta is told, the 22 women on the campus of Howard University were originally members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority the first African American sorority in the United Sates.
Delta's history has it that these 22 women left Alpha Kappa Alpa because they felt that the problems of black people and women were much larger and deeper than just being a social club having teas. They wanted to bring about change for such a time as it was, 1913, the heart of disenfranchisement of both blacks and women.
Delta's history proudly boast that the first display of boldness of these women were to march against the oppression of men with white woman in the Women's Suffrage march. That's a who lot of boldness. So I wonder what they would think of me and my way of doing things in the 21st century, where black woman are 72% of all new cases of HIV in the US among women and self- love takes a back sit to having love.
|Me proudly taking a pic with Sorors the day I was inducted!|
But they hadn't heard the news that my membership was rescinded. So in this very uncomfortable conversation, I had to rehash the day of May 1st. She told me she would get back with me one way or the other, but she never did.
I wondered about the leadership and what they think of me, truly think of me? I have had NO contact from Delta Sigma Theta's leadership since that call from Cythina on May 1, 2012. Not even an official letter announcing that I was voted out. I wondered if the National chaplain Bishop Vashti McKenzie, who's grandmother was a founding Member of Delta has prayed for my healing from this fallout. Someone asked me on Twitter a while back, had she reached out to me at all? No was all I could say and I let that ride.
|Me and Sheryl Lee Ralph|
Yesterday was hard very hard, but there was a few flickers of light. I had one Soror to send me a private message on Twitter and two on Facebook to tell me that no matter what has transpired within the organization they still honor me and my work.
And the brightest lights shinning was my Soror at church, she knows who she is, who showered me with love and kindness and of course the Soror that I met on Twitter who's love and show of Sisterhood has been unwavering from day one. Before the evening was over she tweeted to me, "I will ALWAYS love you Soror! I thought of you on THIS day. U have NOT been forgotten. Never forget that our bond is a LifeTime."
I guess it's true that their are consequences for everything you do in life. So just like I'm a woman and stand by the fuck that landed me with HIV, I stand by the Tweets that landed me out of Delta.
However, just because you accept your culpability in the events of your life, doesn't take away the hurt that you feel as a result of them.
While I guess there are others who just don't know what to do with me. I'm the pink elephant in room of red.
For sure, I have been thrown away as if I didn't ever exist, dead. So while I want to celebrate my joy for Delta's years of service, I am sucked in by the pain of what I once knew as Sisterhood..
I wonder what Past National President Lillian P. Benbow (1971-1975) would have said about my tweets? I wonder if she would have insists that the Executive Committee try to understand me or at least to give me voice in matters that affected me. I wonder if this quote hand true meaning for her? I wonder what prompted her to say it in the first beginning? I look at the truths in this quote and I see my life all day long... It speaks truth to power and it is the essences of Sisterhood;
When I look at you, I see myself. If my eyes are unable to see you as my sister, it is because my own vision is blurred. And if that be is, then it is I who need you because I do not under-stand who you are, my sister, or because I need you to help me understand who I am...