Art carries us into the world of the archetypal where time is collapsed and words disappear. In this world there is only the moment, this moment, that encapsulates us in the image, the feeling, the prophecy of what is yet to be revealed. The only language spoken is a symbolic expression that invites us to explore the mystery of what we have yet to “know.” In this world we know in our bones, what we cannot yet put into words.
Watching Beyonce’s performance at the 2017 Grammy Awards show, I was ushered into that world. At first, shocked by the image of her beautiful, almost bare, and very pregnant body on the tv screen as she stared unabashedly into my living room and then drawn in by the imagery, the music and the poetry, I found it difficult to watch but didn’t understand why. Her closing words, a quote from the poet, Warsan-Shire, still echo in my mind: “If we’re going to heal, let it be glorious.”
Even now, days after that performance, the images, the poetry of what she so creatively communicated continues to stay alive in my psyche – waiting for me to unwrap the wisdom in the symbols. Beyonce gave us so much more than entertainment, so much more than activism. She gave us art. She gave us a creative celebration of the gloriousness of the feminine. Unabashed. Unashamed. Uncovered. No apologies. She was not resisting. She was being. She was embracing. She was embodying centuries of archetypal feminine glory.
Her courage and creativity challenge me. I wrestle with the questions of all the ways in which I have been afraid to look, to see the gloriousness that is woman, all the ways in which I have worked to stay covered, to stay small, to whisper, to stay in the harbor rather than sail for the horizon, all the ways in which I apologize for the inherent glory of being woman.
So today, even as tiny men, in tiny courtrooms discuss my body as if it were a piece of property to be parceled and divided and legislated, I am challenged to own the glory that is mine to own. Today, as I read psychologies that seek to obliterate the word feminine and woman, to fetishize androgyny, I am challenged to own my femininity, my unique expression of womanhood. Today, as I am reminded of the ways in which a patriarchal culture has left its scars on my soul, I am creatively challenged to heal and to allow that healing to be glorious.