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It's Shanti, your queer baby sister here! 

Ashanti Marshall is a digital archivist, experiential writer and staff scribe at For The Scribes, spearheading Recovering Softcover, an advice column catering to writers and their inner woes within their craft and themselves. Based in Chicago, being a fat, black queer and femme moment in time. Their relationship to the practice of understanding makes room for explorations, experimentations, mistakes, failures and curiosities in their writing. Connect with them on Twitter and Instagram asking you all the right, real, riveting questions.

 

BONESHAKER BY FRANCES BODOMO

BONESHAKER BY FRANCES BODOMO

[NOTE: This is a digest of the short film “Boneshaker” by Frances Bodomo. Watch it here, form your own opinions.]

Boneshaker was the process of healing one’s emotional self and the shit that you encounter with other people. In the opening, her family thought she was possessed. Pause here. Why is it that when a woman, a young woman, is expressing themselves it is a cause of concern for people? The suppression starts young and they want you to grow to depend on the oppression of choice and expression and to believe in the expression to ultimately define you as nothing. Oh, but even the number zero has value. Takes up space, is accounted for and made responsible for the change it creates.

Society has determined, the woman and her expression is something to be suppressed and fixed. The father throws the medicine at Blessing as her grandmother prays over her head. Two futile remedies. The conviction that we have about religion and medicine is what makes us believe it as the truth to fix ourselves. That medicine is doing nothing but stifling and suppressing true growth, the desire to even want to be yourself.

Then, with Blessing declaring “I have to pee!” and kicking the back of the chair, that action was of knowing what you need. And being unafraid to let other people know what you need. Even the action of urinating, bodily release as resistance. I don’t have to hold this water that wants to leave me. I will let it go. Possibly mirroring a yearning to be relieved of this circumstance, this existence one is born into. This pondering is necessary to development, how purpose begins.

I don’t need anything else of your offering, but to address my need. Listen, just that. This is power. Blessing was non-negotiable and her wielding of power - as simple and mystifying as her presence.

Going off into woods with her sister was community. A displaying of comfort and solace in braving the unknown, simply “I need you to be present, whether Spirit or physical.” Invaluable support, being and receiving. Trusting her sister and inadvertently trusting herself - that reflection of care is mirrored in the stillness, the clarity Blessing experiences. She wants her sister to experience it too, that is why she brings her along. Little Sister asks “How many steps to get home?” and then looks out into the water. Home is everywhere, home is between the shifting and moment you find your footing. This moment was when Blessing knew. I am what I need. I am my healing. I am my Blessing.

This water is my home. Symbolic of nourishment, the tears are all home coming back into me. Seeking to grow me. This ever-expanding need to need myself and come back home to myself. It’s what I need, it’s who I am and it’s how I survive this world.

When they emerge from the woods and happen upon the church revival, the little sister calls out to the grandmother and Blessing says nothing. Blessing does not want grandmother’s projection of a reality as her truth or existence.

Blessing knew and knows herself.

Blessing knew and knows herself.

Blessing knew and knows herself.

 

Little sister’s action tells and shows how women are privileged to need others to determine them. I don’t know me enough but I know how to call for my grandmother (a place of safety and protection) because that is who I know and who I trust to know me and tell me who I am. Low risk, low reward.

The scene of the revival - the gathering of feelings has been vital to us sustaining ourselves for so long BUT the construction of church keeps you fearful and obedient to that fear. The blood of God. The fire of God. The fear of God. Why must I fear something if I love it? Why can’t I question God?

Blessing is carrying all of a trauma she may never know the root or causes of. How can you fault her for being “mad”? She is the strength. She makes question of their familial structure. Secrets atop secrets, oppression as a fertile and breeding soil. This is an unsettling reality - the journey to get things right begins and ends within.

Grandmother’s role and perception are so limited, although loving as grandmothers are. Blessing is an individual. You may have to worry about Little Sister seeing as she conforms and does everything you tell her to do, but Blessing is a survivor. Her curiosity to know and seek herself as strength. The father is angry because he is lost in more ways than the obvious.

Blessing’s performance at the revival was such a business transaction between Grandmother and Blessing. Blessing was like “I know who I am and I’ll go along with this charade because of the significance of your role in my life and the respect between them.”

The preacher-woman laying hands on Blessing wasn’t even impactful. She had to push Blessing down to make it look relevant for everyone else but it didn’t mark the unchanged and wandering psyche and spirit of Blessing.

Another woman had to push another down to make relevance, make waves for bystanders.

Another woman had to push another down to make relevance, make waves for bystanders.

Another woman had to push another down to make relevance, make waves for bystanders.

Examine what realities are allowed in reality and in “reality” television.
Blessing is the leader of her undetermined, new destiny. After the revival, she returns to the water. Where she knows she is home. She goes home to the water - and where is her family? Following her to the water, to her understanding, to the peace that is their collective indifference.

ENOUGH: 001

ENOUGH: 001

PRISMS

PRISMS

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