“If I were really asked to define myself, I wouldn’t start with race; I wouldn’t start with blackness; I wouldn’t start with gender; I wouldn’t start with feminism. I would start with stripping down to what fundamentally informs my life, which is that I’m a seeker on the path. I think of feminism, and I think of anti-racist struggles as part of it. But where I stand spiritually is, steadfastly, on a path about love.”
– bell hooks
Some souls enter the world to show us what is possible; to give it voice; to give it vision; to give it life. bell hooks gave life to the notion of agency; to radical, transformative love; to speaking one’s truth; to critical thinking; to knowing that you are enough. She was masterful at boldly naming the thing, but not allowing us to fixate or become stuck by also offering a mental picture of what the thing can be.
I am thankful to her for providing the words to guide me to forgiveness and compassion when I didn’t think it was possible. I am thankful to her for underscoring and normalizing that “knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving.” I am thankful to her for showing that critique and love can and do coexist. I am thankful to her for not being exclusively defined by any one identity or classification. I am thankful for her vulnerability, honesty, boldness, and her persistent path of love and freedom. I am thankful that she chose the path of educator and writer and is forever eternalized through a rich body of work that we get to rediscover over and over again.
rest in power queen bell hooks!