Happy Birthday Ms. Walker and happy birthday to me, too!
February 9th, 1944
No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.
Today is Confession Tuesday and today I am confessing and celebrating. Today Ms. Walker turns 66 and I turn 45. I confess I feel special for a lot of reasons including sharing a birthday with a beloved writer, an amazing woman.
I chose this image because I swear she and my mother look a lot a like here. They're born the same year. While many people are colorstruck, I grew up during the "I'm Black and I'm proud" era. My mother is the same lovely brown Ms. Walker is and I coveted my mother's complexion and her smile. Like Ms. Walker, my mother is also fierce. Growing up, I was daddy's girl but it is clear to me as adult, I am my mother's daughter.
My mother and I have had a challenging relationship but I have always loved her and I've never doubted her love for me. Like my mother and Ms. Walker, I have had my challenges with my own daughters. I am grateful that my girls love me despite my flaws.
While I don't have Ms. Walker's talent, I am equally passionate. I feel connected to her. I know she's not perfect and knowing that helped me come to terms with accepting myself. Because of Ms. Walker's work, I discovered I could love myself and accept my shortcomings.
I know it's easy to worship the accomplished but for me, it's not worship, it's identification that draws me to the writer. What I've learned about her life and from her work is that our life's work comes at price, that we cannot be everything and do everything well. To me, Ms. Walker is beautifully flawed and I don't mean to romanticize that at all.
Ms. Walker, if you saw this, I'd fall over with joy. You probably won't but if you did, I'd want you to know I am grateful you chose the path you did, that you helped me find my own and I am unabashedly proud to share my birthday with you. Happy birthday and many, many more.