Decolonization Is The Boldest Love Letter I Can Write

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To accept the divine invitation to decolonize is to commit to writing the boldest love letter yet.

But you won’t realize this for a while.

At first you will feel your spirit brewing a dangerous cocktail of rage and lament. There is so much brokenness around you—in your neighborhood, in your community, in your newsfeed, in you.

Once upon a time, you were committed to fighting for justice and building a better world. But you got weary and you gave it up. You had a little bit of growing up to do.

But now, you sense deep in your bones that it is time to take up the call once again. After all, there are too many dominos that keep toppling down.

Charlottesville.
#MeToo.
Children in cages.
ICE raids.
Flint and the Neskantaga First Nation still have no clean water.
Atatania Jefferson.

Now that you are a little older and a little wiser, you know the name of the monster you have been daunted by for so many years. You know the name of the system that has robbed so many of their narratives and continues to divide, conquer, steal and destroy. You have heard the name before in history classes and uttered by the justice seekers. You know the name—colonization.

You wonder which parts of your life and your story haven’t been touched by colonization. You can count a few, but not a lot. And that is not OK.

You want to rise to a better story. You want to re-write the narrative the next generation will grow up with.

You hear the divine whisper roaring at you: It is time. Decolonize.

Yes, it is time to reclaim what was taken and honor what is still here.

But where do you begin? What does it even mean to decolonize?

How do you begin to deconstruct the colonial narrative of the superiority and the privilege of Western thought and approaches?

Resident SheLoves Visual Storyteller Chervelle Camille said it best: “Start at your origin story.”

She’s right. Every hero has an origin story. So you begin with the stories of your people. You spend time with Hindu mythology. You purchase books written by Indian women and study about the geopolitical history of your ancestral home. You practice this faithfully as a way to keep these memories alive and to remember who you are.

In this quest and study, you find ancient truths, beauty, and healing—gifts you were surprised to receive.

And surprisingly, you find holy anger.

Anger, you were taught as a child, was not for a delicate woman. It is for those who were brash and rude, reserved largely for men who clumsily wielded power and authority. Women who dared raise their voice and speak up in anger were shunned and shamed. You were told that they did not know their place nor were they women of valor.

But that’s not true, is it?

Holy anger is the divine in you responding to the world around you.

Anger is the spirit bellowing because it senses the evil and hurt. Anger is your body crying out for Shalom. Anger is truth-seeking; it acknowledges the trauma of your people, of your ancestors, of the marginalized and oppressed people of your community, and of your own body and spirit.

Holy anger faces the truth, and dares to say, “No more.”

The colonial narrative tells me that dark bodies aren’t as beautiful as white bodies. No more.

The colonial narrative tells me that Jesus was white and intends the church to worship in one way. No more.

The colonial narrative tells me that sexuality is not a spectrum and that other cultures’ deep understanding of its nuances and depth is sinful. No more.

If my journey of decolonization is a love letter, then I will begin to write it with: “Dear Beloved. No longer. No longer do you need to live in a narrative that reduces us to a single story and keeps us from reaching true liberation.”

This love letter is also for the generations that are yet to come. It is your way of telling them that you will do what you can to leave a better world for them. You will not idly sit by and let a broken world continue to break more. So you will heal what you can heal. You will speak light into the dark corners. You will reclaim what was lost and honor what is already here. This is your way of telling them (and perhaps yourself as well), “You are meant for an expansive life, one that is built on truth, justice and love. You are meant for liberation. You are not named by your colonizer’s narrative. You are named by something bigger and grander.”

 

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Leah Abraham

Leah Abraham

Leah is a storyteller + writer + journalist + creative + empathizing romantic + pessimistic realist + ISFP + Enneagram type 2 + much more. She lives in the Seattle area where she works as an education reporter and features writer. Bonus facts: She loves the great indoors, hates to floss, and is obsessed with Korean food and her dorky, immigrant family.
Leah Abraham
Leah Abraham

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