The name of this blog is Amme Voz. Amme is Emma spelled backwards and Voz is the Spanish word for voice. This is Emma’s Voice if I could speak for her. My grandmother was a victim of domestic violence. I did not learn of her suffering until I was a young adult. One of my distant cousins, who is much older than I am, told me the story of how my grandmother endured my grandfather’s physical assaults and public humiliations—even in church.
My distant cousin told me that although my grandmother suffered physical, emotional and verbal abuse by my grandfather, this is not what defined her. Rather, she explained to me, what people noticed about my grandmother was not her battered and bruised body, but the sunshine she carried around and passed on to others in spite of the daily assaults upon her. Grandma Emma, I was told, could wrap you in the warmth of the sun just by smiling at you.
Then on Friday morning, as I walked the six blocks from the bus stop to my job, I felt my Grandma Emma. The moment was brief, but not fleeting. I was walking my fast walk with my head down and feeling that the wet, dreary, cloudy day reflected my “suffering”. Then I looked up at the sound of two young African women. They were holding hands the way I used to hold my best friend’s hand when we were 11 (before we became too old and people got suspicious and told us to stop). These two young women were laughing in the face of the cloudy day and smiling. There was a White woman passing them and they sang out together to her, “Good Morning! Good Morning!”
Slowly, as my fast walk moved me closer to them, my face started to smile. I tried to push it back where it belonged but then I caught up to them and they giggled and I giggled (I’m not a giggler by nature) and they laughed at themselves and I laughed. Because they were talking about how one of the woman’s bum was better and bigger than Beyonce’s and that Jay-Z wouldn’t know what to do with such a bum. They knew I heard them and so we laughed. I was envious of their ease and light. One had her hair natural and pulled up into a puff ball on her head (the way the school picture captured six year old me) and the other young woman had her hair cornrowed in a circle with the braids living in a big bun on top of her crown.
For that brief moment I felt the warmth from the sun shining through the clouds. As I passed them, giggling, I thought this is what I want to be—Grandma Emma—especially when the world is dark, cloudy, damp and falling down all around me in my head. I want people to see my light even when I am in pain. And hopefully by writing this blog I will get there.
DISCLAIMER: This blog is about nothing more than me and that means my world—that is how I see, inhabit and experience the world. This is not a blog for the faint of heart. I have a very bad potty mouth—and I am proud of it, as I have been working on it since I was four and if my mother couldn’t beat it out of me, (and God knows she tried) then no one is going to take it away from me. I am Irreverent, Inappropriate, and Unapologetic. Lastly, I am not hiding behind an “anonymous” name. I just want this to be about more than my name.
I’m looking for my light and I hope you will come along with me on this journey that is not always pretty, but will be entertaining in between the tears.