I'd like to think that every little girl is an admirer of at least one woman who has sparked inspiration. My mother was my first love, and because she was such a strong influence for me, I was drawn to women who were, not only beautiful, but strong-willed, survivors, overcomers, and fighters. One day, I'll share my story on this Blog; however, today, I want to encourage you to examine your life. Reflect on your youngest self, and who were the women who helped mold, protect, pray for, and cheer you on. Who were they, and what is the one memory or quote that has carried you through and to this season?
We are on this earth for reasons far beyond what our minds could ever imagine. We are global citizens, which charges us to contribute to the betterment of this world through love, connection, and service. Understand the love of your Creator to design you, the gravity of your existence on the planet, in the lives of those who love you, and ultimately, in every space you enter and occupy. Be that one that makes a little girl desire and dream to be like you. Be the cause for her making the decision to “level up”. I hope you enjoy the following poem, highlighting a hero I never met, but serves to guide me through, mentally, dark places. I was asked to write a poem about an African American Poet who inspired me.
My Greatest Influence
We had Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, and Maya Angelou,
As wonderful and anointed as they may seem, yes, they all inspired me;
However, growing up, my voice became silent due to fear and shame of domestic violence,
And the only emotional outlets I had were conversations with God and my pen & pad.
As I think back, as early as second grade, I remember having a small part in a play,
About an underground railroad that had no train,
But led its passenger to freedom from pain.
Much of their traveling, they did at night;
Just think—there were no trains, they got no rides.
The people were, solely, carried by the strength of their feet,
Escaping the fate of being beaten.
There was a stern black woman, like Grandma, I suppose,
Conducting Harriet Tubman's underground railroad,
She had a shotgun, a mission, and wouldn't accept “No”.
A remarkable black woman who, I believe,
Risked life and limb to set slaves free.
By no means was she a glamour girl,
But, definitely a woman of very few words,
She was a pillar of strength, restoring dignity
To our people's blood, culture, and silenced history.
No, my hero is not a poet, but a well-known refugee,
Who feared no man, no consequence, helping slaves find peace.
To me, she was somewhat like Eve, taking matters into her own hands;
She was also somewhat like Moses
Rescuing her people from their masters' hands.
I envision her being like Esther, having a position of favor,
Helping deliver her people through courage, humility & prayer.
She was a female version of Dr. Martin Luther King,
They were catalysts of change because they dared to have a dream.
Ms. Tubman was somewhat like my mother, enduring much struggle & pain,
Looking beyond circumstances, refusing to cower to guilt and shame.
She left an eternal legacy as a leading pioneer,
Her bravery sealed her destiny as a Cultural Engineer.
As Harriet Tubman was a woman who used everything she had,
My tools to my deliverance are my laptop, my pen, and my pad.
—Tracy Lynnette Johnson