My mum was the one to hold me tight when my spirits got caught in metal fences, dust
storms, our leaky house and dying dried lawn. She taught me resilience against the kids at
school who said hurtful words and later in the wide world. Resilience like love for my culture
and my earthy skin. Even on days when I felt ashamed, she would rain down on me to be
proud because how could I hate
The skin I was given from my Grandmother and my Great Grandmother. She gave me
Maya’s words to live by and to “dance like I’ve got diamonds at the meeting of my thighs”. To
feel that high as a strong woman in a world wanting to beat us down. Our beauty isn’t
defined by you – our beauty is from within and radiates from our skin. Our skin is a map of
the terrain of the mountains and rivers and the dreams of our people.
Memories of Sunday night roasts in the sticky Mildura heat, I would sit with my mother and
think; women have raised me despite the violence outside our front door. She taught me to
rise like the sun in the muddy red sky and to rise like the milky kirdikur.
Many people don’t like it when Blak women get angry. But I am an angry Blak woman and I
feel the pain, joy and healing from generations ago. I look up to kind, intelligent and angry
Blak women who encourage me to harness my power and use it. Whether it be through
writing, music or art. It’s crucial to start pouring all our love and energy into the lands beating
I want to speak with grace laced with fire like Sacheen Littlefeather saying “no” to a sea of
To walk like every step has a purpose on this land. Every footprint I leave behind I hope will
inspire the future women in my family to continue to reach for their dreams. I stand strong in
Country. Even when stopped by a white passenger reminding me that “this is first class”.
Even when people laugh in my face when I tell them my race. Even when I walk down
Swanston Street screaming at the tops of my lungs that someday our people will take back
Our women are daughters of the sea, sun and sand of this old Country. When I emerge from
the ocean’s embrace the salt clings to my thighs and nestles on my face. The red dust of
crumbling cliffs encrust my fingertips and settle at my hips.
I remember these conversations with my mum in the softness of the orange sunset. About
things like the boys at school who made fun of me and of feeling insecure about my body,
mostly my skinny ankles and arm hair. Like Kathy Freeman who held her culture on her back
and ran laps with a smile on her face and a fire in her heart.
“Be proud” she’d whisper to me as we sat on the concrete steps. Shadows in the sun’s
burning glow. Recharging our energy so we can continue to grow.