Revolutionary Love: A Letter to my Kindred Spirit

A Letter for my Kindred Spirit:

I love you. And I love you for many reasons, but there are forty reasons why and how I love you divinely, recognize you as me and me as you, a beautiful and painful mirror. So it’s hard to look at you when I see you. I’ve read that that is one of the signs that the person you have encountered is a kindred spirit. An entity housed within a body that you are called to learn from, and ultimately teach, since isn’t that how learning happens? So yes, though I have been scared and hesitant in hearing that call and knowing what to do with it, I accept you wholeheartedly as a kindred a spirit: a divine companion where I can look upon myself, and see all the parts that need to be loved, held, cherished, pleased, and sanctified.

I have learned thus far that I am the yoni to your lingam, and for me that means that it is through my yoni work that I can bring us both to a healing place in our journeying here on Earth. I walk in the spirit of Audre Lorde, ready to do this work, coming to ask you, are you doing yours? Only you can answer that question, only the whispering voice of compassionate honesty can know, only you can devote the time and the space to hear that voice. What I know, is that it is through our work that we can work with and on and through the Universe, and create new life, new understanding, new vision, seeds for the people who are running towards a Promised Land, who needed it yesterday and the day before that.

Over the years that I have known you I have had many, many dreams of you. More dreams than I will probably ever admit to you. There we are doing yoniwork, creating life-energy, holding each other in sweet embrace as we do so. It is pure and simple, it is loving, it is that place higher than platonic, higher than romantic, higher than any orgasm a physical body can produce in an earthly context: the space is a place of pure unity, of wholeness, of divine harmony, peace, perfection, truth. It is the most honest place I have ever been. I’ve reached Nirvana in my dreams, and Nirvana was with you. And it is the kind of companionship that can be found between Rumi and Shams of Tabriz, but we are of a different time and place, different gender and different race, and that last part makes it tricky. And then we each have our histories, our traumas and accomplishments, different comedy and different sorrows. And then the history we have conjured thus far, which has been a rollercoaster and it hasn’t always been fun.

But it will be. I can already see it. If we can achieve what Rumi and Shams did, then the voids on our paths can discovered and be filled; that we can be made content, feel whole in Love, the way that they were so whole in Love. They were magical those two. They made Sufism seductive with their beautiful truth, their yellow alchemy. Hopefully my kindred spirit has read that story. I know there is already a lot on the plate, many earthly demands, many material desires. But there comes a time in your journey where you must work on the spirit, read books for the spirit: build that foundational force that will help you to live more authentically, more deeply, more freely; more compassionately, because to allow love to manifest your spirit, to know how to allow love to manifest in your spirit, allows you to be compassionate to yourself and subsequently compassionate with others. And so it undergirds all the freedom fighting you do, making it not just winning a war for our history books, but healing the spirit of our people in the face of oppression.

Our people needed HEALING WORK. We are dying, and if we are not being killed, if guns and prisons and rape are not killing us, we are killing ourselves. Some of us kill ourselves with worry or food or drugs or meaningless sex, abusive relationships or hypersensitive egos, but in the end, we all perish. Some of us take pills until our livers collapse, or pull triggers until the brain shuts down. How are we fighting this fight and fighting for our people’s spirits by doing the healing work? Yes, there is a time to shout out and at the oppressor, but how are we healing the oppressed as we bear America, as we live in an anti-democratic country that seeks to silence our history, silence our truth and then blame us for our misery.

And while we choose between two battles, we must find balance and learn how to be a quiet warrior in both. Because the most revolutionary thing one can do is find balance by loving ourselves in this present moment, in the place that hangs between those two war zones. It is the place where we actively love ourselves, not passively, not agreeing to someone’s question when we are queried, but actively and persistently looking in our mirrors with love in our eyes, even as we witness tears of pain. Aligning our mind body and spirit: breathing and breathing and breathing and telling ourselves we arepurposeful, and whole, and already enough, and already perfect because our Creator has scripted our flaws for a perfect reason, that all is truly in divine order; that we can we love ourselves in the way that we were suppose to, our own unique harmonic Way. That we were already free, and that the rest of the war that we win and that we are winning is all so that our freedom will be remembered by our children. That we were already at the Promised Land when we found the kind of love where we arrived at ourselves honestly and with courage and with conviction.

So read the The Forty Rules of Love, because it will best define how I am talking about love here, love for ourselves, love for the Creator that created you and l, and love for what that creation is suppose to be. The highest of loves that has been divinely scripted, already written before this time and place. It will be the love that is found when the void is filled, and we can be able to rest in divine contentment in who and where we are, and why we do what we do here, and how we get it done.

Lastly, I want to give thanks to my yoni for bringing me to this place of understanding, it has been through my yoni work that I have been enlightened so: it has been the work I needed to do and that I need to do to attain the spiritual growth I have been called to experience, and the spiritual enlightenment that I was born to obtain. It has been the yoni worship and the yoni dancing, the breathing, the painting, the yellow candles and the yoga poses; the chakra clearing and balancing, the mirror work and the affirmations, the building with sisters and brothers and co-creating life energy, through cooking, or teaching, or laughing. It has been the baths and the quiet alone time, the creation of tears, all the times I rubbed the tears all over my face, because I wanted my skin to capture the strength that filled my tears. It has been the courage to be vulnerable, to be seen and to not be afraid of what others might think. Because others will always think, but I had ownership over my own reality, and my thoughts were the only ones that managed all others, and I am finally trusting in that management because I am finally giving myself to the goodness of the Universe, that my management submits to Love. This allows myself to understand I am a creator, of the reality that I sought and reached for, and the reality that the Universe needed. And that it needed it more than me, that the need was bigger than any of m insecurities because ultimately, it was bigger than me.

It was bigger than you.

And it was so much damn bigger than we.

So I pray you read this letter and find it a letter of revolutionary love, a letter full of the love and fiery truths that I truly believe Mumia Abu Jamal has found during his long captivity in the death camp of America. I believe that you and I can reach that place of freedom, and that we can do it together, because it has already been written. Alas, let us allow it to be so, through your work and through mine.

Your kindred spirit,

P.S. Though it might seem like this letter was for you, it was also for me, to write, and read, and hear, and see as an undeniable truth.

That I was, that we were, worthy of love.

Rage, Conviction, and Our Radical Imaginary: My Experience at Slutwalk with My Mother

I first learned about Slutwalk at my job at Temple University, where I am both an Urban Ed doctoral student and writing tutor at the writing center. A young white female freshman wanted me to help revise her paper. She was focusing on Slutwalk and its use of social media. Intrigued by the chain of events that led to Slutwalk and its ideological attack on rape culture, I did more research on the march after our session. The message seemed multilayered and cumbersome: it was about problematizing and reappropriating gendered words; exposing the patriarchal underpinnings of those words and how they shape the ways in which male (and female) authorities talk about accountability; reframing how the larger society privileges avoiding rape as opposed to not raping; and more viscerally, reconceptualizing the body as a cultural text where messages are communicated. This last part was what had made Slutwalk a spectacle and controversial. There seemed to be so many competing and seemingly conflicting messages about what to make of “scantily clad women”: Was this sluttish? Was this attention seeking? Was this real freedom? And if this was an attack on rape-culture, how did the exposed body engage in this attack? Akiba Solomon and Keli Goff further questioned, what did this exposed body really do for the vulnerable bodies that had been raped?
As a rape survivor, an urban woman of color, a feminist activist, and a burgeoning scholar deeply invested in issues of gender and sexuality, I have thoroughly appreciated all of the discussion and critique about Slutwalk. Black Women’t Blueprint unveiled questions I hadn’t thought of when I initially (and quickly) applauded the radicalism of Slutwalk. Their critique of how Slutwalk failed to acknowledge the historical and social context that brings women of color to this conversation in different and unique ways, was undeniably valid. It offered another reason for why it was important for me to enter and entitle myself to a space in that walk, even if the organizers or my fellow white marchers had the privilege to not think about that space, and the cultural baggage that kept them from fully understanding it.
But I walked that day for other personal reasons as well. The day before the march, September 30, marked the 3 year anniversary of my rape. A week before the march, I thought about the deep wounds of that event, all the ways it had unraveled me and all of my notions of trust. I thought of the 3 year sojourn of healing: the tears, the blank stares, the difficulty in naming it, the dancing, the candles, the baths, the yellows, the breathing, the sharing, the silences, the anguish, the memories, the affirmations, the frail hope, the rage, the conviction. No, I would not allow that anniversary to be a day of mourning, but rather a time in memoriam of the healing. I decided that in carving my own space at Slutwalk, I did so as a survivor with conviction; a survivor who craved a public space where I could be fully enraged, who was finally healed enough to make that rage public. And that is what Slutwalk was for me. It was the public space I needed to honor the anguish and to honor the rage, even if that anguish and rage was not fully understood within its cultural context.
My mother’s participation in the walk made the experience that much more powerful. Her support was crucial, but it was the fact that we could share this experience and this space together; it was how she crafted her own space as a mother of a rape survivor. Slutwalk was a space where this elder could share her anguish: that despite all of her conversations with me about not leaving my drink unattended, not riding elevators by myself, or not riding the train so late, that somehow, someone had hurt her baby, badly, and deeply. It was a place where she could cry all the tears she had denied herself, since here was a safe place where everyone agreed we can’t be silent about this any more. It was a space in which she could be angry about that silence, where she could release that anguish into a war cry, a cry that came from deep, deeper than the place where I was born, and closer to that ancient place that Audre Lorde speaks of: “a dark place within where hidden and growing our true spirit rises, ‘Beautiful and tough as chestnut/stanchions against our nightmare of weakness’ and of impotence.” And her cry shook the walls of my own buried rooms of darkness, as we both roared: “This is what a feminist look!”, “What do you do when you are under attack: Stand up fight back!”, “A dress is just a dress, it does mean no and it doesn’t mean yes!”, and her favorite, “Hey rapists, go fuck yourselves!” The space was what I needed, and it was what my mother needed. It was what we needed at that time and in that way.
My mother, a moderately conservative woman, once argued with me that girls do need to watch what they wear, that there are messages that they put out to men, even if they don’t want to. I was so angry that my mother could hold on to such a myth, be so defeatist in reframing the conversation to what we need to tell our boys. But that day, as we walked behind a woman who only wore a sequined bra and a thong, I studied my mother’s face, and I could see her thinking. I could see her thoughts changing shape and changing colors, and I could see her mind making room for radical possibility. I could see how she was embarrassed and then offended and angered. And then astounded and bewildered; I could see her appreciate the beauty of this woman’s body, get lost in it and then, remember where she was, and why she was there, and what all this was about. And finally, mami nodded, turned to me with a tear in her eye and a gaze of understanding, and said: That’s right, we should be able to walk these streets naked without fear. We should have that right, damnit. We should have that right. She continued to roar, a war cry that she felt entitled to and empowered by, a space she crafted for herself, as a mother of color, the mother of a survivor, and a survivor in her own right.
It is my hope that in sharing my experience with Slutwalk, I add to the larger and critical discussion that women of color have had about this spectacle of event, and the individual experiences that women of color have had at Slutwalk. So that when Keli Goff begrudgingly asks, what this walk did for rape survivors, I am so grateful that I can answer, it gave me and my mother a space to walk without fear, a space to walk with conviction, and a space to fight back at all the silences enabled by rape culture, including my own profound silence which disabled me from fighting off my violator. My trusted friend.
I agree that the colorblindness dangerously enables young white woman like Erin Clark to hold up racist signs that extinguish the Black female existence. And I agree with Aishah Shahidah Simmons that there is something critical in coming together as women and there is something dangerous in not doing the difficult work of working through differences. And I wholeheartedly agree with Salamisha Tillet that, “In order for it to be more than a passing fad, it has to become a healthy marriage of substance and spectacle, a movement that builds on the anti-rape activism of black women, like civil rights activists Fannie Lou Hamer and Rosa Parks.” To all of this I add, that I hope we might think of Slutwalk as a space where radical possibilities can be imagined and enacted and that we understand it on those terms. That the march is but a small piece of this larger movement, but an important piece nonetheless. It was and is not realistic, but it wasn’t meant to be realistic for this time, for this place; for me, it was meant to be idealistic for a future we want for all of our girls, in the hood and in the suburbs, and in every patch of earth in the world. A world where we can walk naked, and vulnerable; and still be safe, and still be free.


The Yoni Project is an innovative workshop series that uses the creative arts to create a safe space for young girls to connect with their bodies. The focus of the workshop is to create a holistically healthy relationship with their bodies, particularly one of the least talked about parts: the vagina. The Yoni Project uses the word yoni instead of vagina, since its rich Sanskrit-meaning, "origin of life," recognizes the spiritually healing and empowering components of the vagina. Despite the yoni being one of the least talked about body parts, it is one of the most sacred, empowering, and healing. Each age-appropriate workshop works with a small group of young women and has them develop a language to both talk about the cultural messages about this private place, and to develop a healthy relationship. In developing a healthy relationship, young girls can have more a fuller relationship with their bodies, foster a healthy sexuality, and build a strong sense of self as a woman . Using various art techniques (creative writing, mixed media arts, movement), the girls construct liberating messages about their yonis, similar to what Eve Ensler's play Vagina Monologues has done for older women for years. TYP beleives that when we taught girls how to explore and love their entire bodies on their own terms, we taught them that nobody could define those terms for them. When we helped them to discover a language for these terms, we helped them discover meaningful power. Each yoni has a song. The Yoni Project teaches girls how to hear it, and become in tune with its rhythm.

The Yoni Project does not take for granted the fact that for many of our young girls, the yoni has been a site of violence, be it physical, or verbal. While 1 out of 6 women in the U.S. will be a victim of sexual violence, all girls in US society are inundated with negative messages about the yoni through the media and our communities. Such violence and negativity encourages girls to disconnect with their yonis, and not understand any relevant importance in connecting. The facilitator acknowledges the various degrees of this trauma and discomfort in every workshop, making it apart of the conversation, and offering tangible tools for individual and community healing and general orientation with the topic. Once again, given the sensitive nature of these topics, the Yoni Project employs several art and mediation techniques which offer girls a more comfortable and personal medium to connecting their yonis, their healing, and their strength.

For more information about booking The Yoni Project for your school, organization, or group of family members, contact Mari Morales-Williams at 718-790-9770 or