Always. Like the word between love and your name in a love letter. Always. Like the pastel plastic promise that your period can become cute. Always. Like an ahistorical historicization. Like the production of eternity without witnesses. Like a recurring nightmare of hoping you exist.
The word “always” can be used to create a history where there was nothing but disbelief. It can also be used to make it seem like something is natural, just because it happens to have been going on for a long time. The Combahee River Collective Statement uses the word “always” to establish a tradition of black feminism that predates the work of the women in the collective, AND some folks have found fault with these statements about what black women have “always” been doing, because it seems to suggest that there is some sort of natural standard for black women’s behavior.
How do you (want to) use the word “always” in your movement work?
Use the space below to make 5 sentences that use the word “always” (or don’t) to describe the tradition and vision of your work as honestly as you can. You may notice that the word “always” has different meaning every time.
A Reflection from Noah Blose:
Michelle L. told me that Pauli Murray was trans. S/he was a founder of
the National Organization for Women. How do we know when to name/claim
our own, and why do we or don’t we do it? How and why do we rewrite
histories to see ourselves there?
Download this activity as a (double-sided) worksheet here!