If girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice, what are colored girls made of? Hardships, hardtimes and heartache?
This past weekend, I saw Tyler Perry's take on Ntozake Shange's literary masterpiece "For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf."
The title has been shortened, the pain has not. All the women in the film are either in the midst of pain, entering a new season of pain or just emerging from their most recent painful tenure.
Certainly colored girls are strong, eventhough, sometimes we don't realize our own strength. It takes a certain kind of super humanness to endure a child being ripped from your breast and sold off; ripped from your livingroom and thrown in jail; ripped from your prayers and shot down in the street like a dog.
Who can rub away the ache of watching your man get kicked about by life like the rocks on a dirt road. It's part of why we say we can't leave when he begins to kick us around like that same gravel. And why some of us eventually do because we've found that inner voice that reminds us that love is not a blow to the head.
What manner of woman can continue to get back up round after round withstanding every emotional punch, forcing her opponent to throw up his hands as if to say, "I don't know what else I can do. She's taken my best shots and she's still standing."
But being a colored girl is not just about pain. It's about turning that pain into joy, enough joy that the resulting tears water our dreams and make them grow. Enough joy to make us dance, throw our heads back and laugh and sashay our hips the way colored girls do sometimes.
So are you a colored girl?
You might be a colored if . . . you can make $2 of .30 cent 'cause you know with inflation making $1 out of 15 cent aint gonna cut it anymore.
You might be a colored girl if . . you can be just as superficial, pretentious and obnoxious as some of these other rich heiffers 'cause who gon' check you, boo?
You might be a colored girl if . . . you have earned the right to earn the money to buy those fierce Jimmy Choos, to sit in that corner office, and have your assistant bring you an espresso with EXTRA foam.
You might be a colored girl if . . . you can choose the working class brother who just wants to take care of you or the brother in the suit making six figures who never forgot where he came from and not have to explain your choice to anyone.
You might be a colored girl if . . . you can maneuver your way through that maze of despair and heartbreak to find the one man -- who's not afraid of your assertive, manicured nails, powersuit-wearing self; your quirky, artsy, dreadlocked, African-loving self; your no-nonsense, solid-as-a-rock, salt-of-the-earth self -- love, love, love him like only a colored girl can.
You might be a colored girl if you can carry a nation on your scarred back across centuries, through rivers and over mountains, with only an occasional wince and a momentary sadness in the eyes because you don't put your business in the street.
You might be a colored girl if . . . you can rock yourself in your own bosom, heal yourself, encourage yourself, love yourself enough to realize that being a colored girl is more than just okay.
So are you a colored girl?
Blog Extra: Click here to see a rare video of Nina Simone performing: Four Women (song from "For Colored Girls" trailer).