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The song of the Granddaughters



She is my first granddaughter. I am her Gramma Swinn.


Who am I when I strip away the titles the world has given me, the identities I learned and yearned to step into, the loving names I dreamed of being called all my life, and the roles I’ve earned with my body, emotional devotion, and unconditional love? 


The beautiful girl that used to belong, to serve, to include, to give so generously of every resource that I was made from - where do I belong without the ability to do? Who am I without a sound mind or body to perform? 


I am incomplete, without belonging, and inadequate, and to be clear this is not said with a feeling of self-pity or a seeking of external validation. 


It is both chaotic and peaceful knowing that belonging to myself is all I have right now, and I wonder if I can somehow both sustain the strength and  faith of my grandmothers and also establish a new power that I hope both of my granddaughters will expand on. 


If I had to name it, it’s not much more than stepping out from the shadows where I have been hiding. It’s growth when I want to shrink. I wonder if I am speaking ideas, finishing where they began, and standing up and taking action where they couldn’t. It’s not because they wouldn’t. They truly couldn’t. 


May the privileges I have be a thousand times greater for my granddaughters like mine have been compared to my grandmothers. 


May they love their strong bodies no matter how they shift and change, for how they survive the worst of what they endure and not just perform to the best of their ability 


May they never beat themselves up based on the shallow, ever-moving standards of the world. 


May they be creators and seekers of truth and pure knowledge so that whatever they create can be felt and experienced, without fear.


May they never be stagnant, May they change as they desire, never letting anyone outside of them dictate their tastes or beliefs. 


This will guide their behavior and anchor them so I never stray from their own ethics and beliefs about what is good and right while holding space for others to decide the same for themselves. 


If asked, they’ll give guidance because they value learning and expansion and the many paths to get there. Cultures and ideas, traditions and modalities - exploring the ancient, the traditional, the foreign, the vast possibilities. 


Who I am is not because of who my grandmothers were, but because of who I believe myself to be.


Who my granddaughters will become has nothing to do with me, but who they believe they are and who they want to become. 


I find my own belonging in the expansion of a world that opens doors for them, knowing that it is their decision; their becoming and their power will inspire me.  In a world of awe and possibility for many of our little ones, I mourn, I grieve, and I cry in desperation for the sparing of the innocent lives of the mothers and grandmothers - the daughters and granddaughters, who are stripped of these privileges - who cannot dream of expansion or belonging because the threat of hunger, or violence, or genocide threatens their life as they battle every minute for mere survival in a world of so much obscene abundance and power to stop it; to help; to provide.


I am confused at how a few hundred miles, being born under a specific set of circumstances, and a set amount of melanin in someone's skin can create such a massive divide in determining whether they will have access to food and water; to the right to life; I'm not confused, but angry at how the support of a nation that promised to maintain international peace and security and protect human rights together with all 17 sovereign united nations has massively failed and betrayed that promise.


I may not belong to any groups or have many friends left now that I can't serve the world in the same physical capacity, but who I am will always be a reflection of my unconditional love of humanity, my refusal to sit down for what is right, and my willingness to be the one who is uncomfortably outside the crowds, singing an unfamiliar anthem, crying out and calling out evil and injustice. I saw that in my grandmothers. I am proud to continue their song.



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