"Well my name is Daphney and I'm so so fine, if you mess with me I will blow your mind..."
LOL! Don't you remember those days? A tawny to chocolate colored group of your closest girl friends rockin' big fluffy bangs, Brandy braids, ball-balls, barrettes, and the most colorful sets of beads kickin' it on the playground (or the back of the yellow bus where my old elementary friends and I got it in on the way to field trips), taking turns reciting the lyrics to the latest tween songs and playing hand games. I've always wondered about the origins of these school yard rhymes and how they have managed to survive from the 90s to present day with only minor changes. Quite fascinating the ways in which we interacted with one another back in the day as youth versus now. Yes, we're all grown up and our Youthful Essence has been challenged by the Test of Time- but it still lives in us, right? Most definitely!
Although the song came with its own lyrics and the introduction was the absolute same for everyone- there was still this anticipation about the opportunity to show off the flava you were adding to it. Imagine that the rest of the lyrics were not about you assuring someone else that you didn't "take her man" (lol, that's a whole 'nutha topic that we are just going to park for a while), rather an opportunity for you to assert yourself as an individual among your peers while building a sense of belonging. It was also just fun as hell! We all took turns, cheered each other on and bopped our heads, as one of us "butterfly'ed", "tootsie- rolled", and twirled about while reciting the song. The awesomeness of life, right?
Yaaaaassssss, Baybi!! Now, its all coming back to you. Have you recited the whole song yet? Did you feel yourself get excited and come alive a bit?! What they (whoever the hell "they" is) didn't tell us is that this was one way to tap into our, now a famous hashtag and movement, #BLACKGIRLMAGIC. The circle (most of the times we were in a circle), the clapping, the rhythmic incantations, bearing witness to your peers induction into the circle, and the repetitious time & place we linked up to do it, was all apart of creating the experience. This was our ritual. At least, in hindsight, for me it was the first time I can actually recall expressing & conjuring up the Feminine Divine in a communal experience.
Yes, I did state in the beginning that this circle was filled with "a group of your closest girl friends", but I do remember doing this in many spaces, with many different friends. It was something that as long as you knew the words you could join in. If you didn't know them but stood there long enough you would surely learn. This time of great innocence, purity (of heart), fun, and attitude & sauce was a straight up GIFT. I know all about the Test of Time, I'm in my early 30s, and I have some times were I felt like I lost myself. Fortunately for me, I've learned ways to tap into and keep the stream of my personal Youthful Essence flowing. How? Through laughter, doing my healing work, listening to music, bringing the things I loved as a youth into my womanhood- skating, tutus, lip gloss, diaries, dancing, crafts, time with friends, sparkly things and more. These are all things and practices that can be acquired to help us along the way. The Youthful Essence is joy, passion, fun, spontaneity, giggles and so much more. These are all things that are never lost and can be tailored to who YOU are as a person.
The Youthful Essence that I spoke about- how do you tap into yours now? Where is your confident display of flava? What is the signature dance you bring to the table? How are you cheering on and supporting your home girls as she steps into the circle to declare who she is?
Youthful Essence. We need that. Let's bring it back. Now introduce yourself.