Hearing the Hard Feedback
“I think it pisses God off when we walk by a field of purple flowers and don’t bother to notice.”
-Shug Avery, The Color Purple
Today celebrated 35 years since the masterpiece that is Alice Walker’s The Color Purple became a movie.
Graced with mirrors that cut, characters emote in ways we’re still learning to.
On my mind especially is Shug Avery, who for all of her confidence, her mean streaks, and her generosity, can’t alone transcend her pain.
Somehow in being ascribed free spirit, she is held by crosses that are complex and heavy.
She demonstrates that dancing is not a determinant of anything permanent, anymore than one song can contain our every depth.
She speaks as though she has laments, and will not be made to stop laughing.
She cries as though they can burn and quench.
She caresses as though her touch is ointment.
I find it remarkable to observe contradiction that is not being fought or buried.
I take that spirit and elucidate that there is a peace that has been hardest won.
I listen and I watch how a finger that can contain biting truths won’t be forced to wag.
How that finger can cover itself in red nail polish and place herself in the path of rage.
A rage that life has provided more reasons for than safety, and still is too small an expression.
Coming home to my bed of fleece covers I build a soft cocoon and release my body’s tension.
I notice how in characters we allow for complications.
The meanness that gives way to tenderness.
The seduction of self worth.
The ache of cracks of self loathing.
The spasms of other people’s choices.
The surrender to how we need to stay alive.
The feeling that we can do more than that.
The garment that covers more than me.
The nakedly simple act of being a mirror.
The clothed intimation that it’s ok to look.