One of the necessary obligations for Maidens, of any culture, is to enjoy the lightness of maidenhood. Of course, tending to the garden is a lot of hard work. Yet, the common misconception is that it is supposed to be, heavy. Such is especially true, as it pertains to the young Maidens of Black American gardens. We cannot forget the herstorical context, associated with it. We cannot forget the burdens plagued upon Black American female bodies, and the level of violence committed against them. In fact, we should never forget. Yet, we can release the burdens of a painful past. Yes, we can!

In a previous writing, I mentioned a certain aura (and stale stench), which has been projected upon Black America, and her gardens. It is a staleness, which covers the vibrancy and beauty of Black American aesthetics. Just imagine a dense, ,murky-colored fog, where such coloring establishes a haggardly appearance; an atrocious taste; a feminine presence is removed from feminine aesthetics. More of that to come for another viewing, and another hue. However, this stench within Black America’s gardens needs to be released. No longer can the maidens of the garden continue to ignore its presence. Like toxic weeds, it strangles the natural essence and beauty of such gardens. Not only must we air out that stench, but we must begin to wash it away from our own aura and hue. The stench is heavy and painful. Nevertheless, it continues to create a certain vibe of ugliness, which renders our womanhood as removed from those natural delights of femininity and womanhood. Of course, that is not entirely our fault. Though many of our foremothers understood the magic and whispers of their gardens, they were not always permitted to own them. On the contrary, we can. And, in the Spirit of our foremothers, it is our responsibility to return to them. Even if they have been chopped, exploited, it is our responsibility to return to them. For, as soon as we return to them, they will embrace us; as they have been in urgent need of tenderness and care. They have been yearning to be watered, fed, caressed, and grown in their natural state. Once we return to them, care for them in the way they need to be, then they will return nourishment back to us. It’s the way of nature. It’s the healing way.

A shift is happening in Black America, and her authentic, feminine presence is reclaiming her rightful place, within her gardens. It’s only nature for such to take place. No longer will we ever abandon our feminine identity for a faux notion, that such was to be abandoned for the “greater good” of the cause. After all, in any culture, it is the authentic feminine presence, which has birthed that collective of people. We have to think about it. Why was it that so many of our Sisters (or Sistas) accepted such an insane notion? Why were too many of our maidens willing to throw again their feminine essence, in order to support a form of hypermasculinity, which did not even honor them? Of course, we soon came to realize that it was not in our best interest. It never was! In fact, it was for the advancement of such men, who secretly hated the feminine imagery of their birthing. Hating it so much that they were willing to exploit her labor, energy, and presence for self-elevation; while abandoning her, at the end. It is very imperative that we come to understand, and remember that. Never again will such every happen. Because you see, my Darlings, when you embrace your gardens-when you cherish your cultural gardens-you understand just how sacred and precious they are. In fact, you understand that Earthly wisdom, that gardens are the best form of healing. No matter how many centuries the pain may linger, it can always be healed, when returning back to, our gardens. In fact, that’s what we needed to have been doing, all along. Returning to our gardens. Alice Walker had already made the call! And when Mother calls, it is only right for the Maidens to return. The question is when do we return, and how. Well, that is very simple. NOW! We return now. We’ll figure out the, how!

It has been mentioned before. Nevertheless, it must be mentioned, again. A significant portion is returning to the gardens, means that we have to acknowledge that they exist. Translation: Black American maidens must acknowledge that they have a culture of their own; one, which has been crafted and created through their very own existence. Such is very imperative. Once you understand, and embrace, your garden, you identify it. A name is required. It is a name, which reflects your own feminine existence. The garden reflects a woman’s country and culture. The term, Black American, is what is most suitable for our very existence. For one it is practical. Names and space address how one has access to the opportunities and fruits, within those gardens. Do Black American women have access to Black American culture? Of course. We create it! It is ours. Anything which you have not created from your own existence, culture, and womanhood, is not yours. You do not own it. Therefore, how a woman crafts a particular term for her people, must be practical! That’s the very first thing. Once there is a common consensus, then Black American maidens can do the work of centering their identity (and that of their sisters) around this particular term. Black American is the most suitable (and practical) for this peculiar group of people.

Of course, then it is important for Black American women to see each other as Sister-as fellow maidens of the garden, who are nourishing and growing treasures in the garden, together! Any strife, combative behavior, and negative perceptions of each other should be erased, now. We cannot afford to be enemies within the garden. It is nothing more than an invitation to hostile and destructive behaviors. It ruins our gardens and prevents them from gaining full blossom. It covers their luster and prevents the magical sparkle, which is known in our gardens. Heal and cleanse out the negative auras, so that we spend more time supporting our spaces, as sites of nourishment. Gardens cannot grown healthily, if toxicity continues to persist. That’s real. It’s reality! The weeds must be plucked out. Soil must be fed. Flowers must be watered. Such are the responsibilities when growing gardens. This time, we are able to grow them to our own accord.

Being honest with ourselves, the animosity among each other, and how many of us have felt betrayed and removed from the garden, has to be discussed. There are silent resentments, that too many Black American women have carried around. One of them stems from the frustrations in having been silenced for so long. Silent about being made invisible in their own garden. Silenced in watching women from outside of the community seemingly benefit more from their own gardens, then the actual maidens, whom it belongs to. Silenced in conveying their anger. Carrying this huge amount of emotional weight, while feeling trapped, out of fear of being deemed an “angry Black woman.” It all makes sense. Now, a sense of liberation has taken place. Now, the emotional weight is slowly being released. It’s been a long time coming. Yet, it is finally, coming! it has come. Now, we can breathe! And, after breathing, we can finally return to the gardens for the very restoration, which is needed. That heavy lifting. That heavy weight of emotional hardship is coming to an end. Finally! Finally! It has come!

Lastly, there is imagination and anticipation. What will those sacred gardens look like? What comes of their decor and nectar? What is their scent? How were they especially grown, and designed, just for our Being? Isn’t that delightful? Doesn’t it feel refreshing in knowing that we, too, have gardens of our own? Doesn’t it feel grand in knowing that there is a space on the Earth’s plane, which represents and celebrates those Black American daughters of US soil? Doesn’t it feel grand? Even more, doesn’t it feel relieving? And yes, it is a sign of relief! Now, we can truly breathe the very sweetness of our own air. Releasing generations of past pains. Releasing the suffocation from our very Spirit, mind, and emotional psyche. Finally, the garden’s work has begun. It feels nourishing to reclaim our femininity; painting it for our own sense of wellness. Comforted, nourished, and in deep connection with who we are as women. Never forgetting the past, while not remaining stuck in it. There is a wonder for such!

For other young maidens, it will take some time to get to the garden; let alone acknowledge it. However, journeying to distant paths has never been easy. It’s not meant to be. Yet, upon paradise’s arrival, the waters are Heavenly. The fruits are delectable. And, the vegetation sings praises for those daughters, who found the gardens, left for them by their Mothers.


  • Lauren K. Clark

    Lauren K. Clark hails from Atlanta, Georgia. Currently based in Cairo, Egypt, she is a lover of travel, studying different languages, the arts, and more!

    Coming from Atlanta, Georgia, Lauren K. Clark came to Cairo, Egypt for her graduate studies in Gender & Women's Studies/Migration and Refugee Studies. A writer, published in 6 countries, project coordinator, working with refugee/migrant children, and just enjoying the magic and power of life. The world of theater is her therapy, and the performing arts lavishes her world! Enthralled with the mysteries of the Universe, and all the beauties, Creation has to offer.