The Capital Letter Version Of You


August 27, 2021

Shabooya, Roll Call

Shabooya, sha-sha-shabooya, roll call! Shabooya, sha-sha-shabooya, roll call! We are Evók (yeah) we preach Intention (yeah) because your life (yeah) is your invention! Roll call! Shabooya, sha-sha-shabooya, roll call! Shabooya, sha-sha-shabooya, roll call! Now you go. What are you about, for real? What are you up to? Not the lowercase version of you who may try to remind you of what your raggedy ex said in anger or that critical inner voice of fear, resentment, or rejection. No. The capital letter version of you. The one who already got the juice. Put them up on roll call. What’s their energy hittin for? Shabooya, sha-sha-shabooya, roll call! Shabooya, sha-sha-shabooya, roll call!

I’d like to present a list of people whose juice I’ve borrowed in the absence of my own: Michelle Obama, Grace Jones, Harriet Tubman, Zora Neale Hurston, Oprah Winfrey, Kathrine Johnson, Eartha Kitt, Sojourner Truth, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Fannie Lou Hamer, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Mary McLeod Bethune, Shirley Chisholm, Serena Williams, Marsha “Pay it No Mind” Johnson, Naomi Osaka, Diana Ross, Josephine Baker, Janet Mock, Issa Rae, Taraji P. Henson, Viola Davis, Zendaya, Tracee Ellis Ross, Simone Biles, Stacey Abrams, Michelle Obama again, a mother, father, aunt, uncle, or sister-friend. I could go on. Point is, the juice is abundant and available. 

These people are among the influences whose voices ring out when I imagine the possibilities life itself has to offer. Sometimes those “voices” belong to people I’ve known and loved, or my own inner dialogue. Sometimes their contributions are pleasant or inspiring, and sometimes not. When leveling up, the less-than-helpful ones (sneaky thangs that they are) may try to raise their voice in a last ditch effort to survive. They may come to challenge our worth or value. They may come to remind us of the pain we have already survived and use fear to speak it into existence all over again. They may come to convince us to silence our voice or dim our own light.

Our instincts may be to eliminate these voices, name them as negativity, hide them from others, shame them, compartmentalize them neatly on the shelf while we busy ourselves, or beat ourselves up for having them in the first place. They depend on low vibrations like suffering, sacrifice, and struggle to survive. We say, let them have their final moment. Let them speak and reveal themselves so you can name them, offer them compassion, and then move on to the next one… the clever, confident, bold, delightful one… on roll call. 

Who’s up next? Shabooya, sha-sha-shabooya, roll call! Shabooya, sha-sha-shabooya, roll call!