Depending on the time and culture, she’s been called crone, mother, elder, a Titus woman, wise woman and especially in Caribbean culture ‘aunty’ or ‘tanty’.
I see her on TV. Especially in black movies. She’s smart, sassy, tells it as it is but in a loving, you-need-to-know-this-shit-boo unapologetic kind of way. Often, she is an older woman,deeply spiritual and has been through stuff that has shaped and molded her into the woman she now is. She loves her community and does her part to encourage, mentor, help and steer others on the right path. She doesn’t sit and lament on the demise of today’s youth because she knows that serves no purpose and every generation has their issues.
I wish I knew her. I wish she would make herself real to me, especially right now. I wish, because we all need someone older, wiser, someone with insight and intuition to guide us and talk to us when we may be struggling or headed down the wrong path.
I used to know someone like that who was very instrumental to me in my twenties. I called her granny but she was not related to me. She would sit me down and say, ‘chile, that boy ain’t nothing but chubble you know’. Her favorite was, ‘doh get in the motor car before yuh watch the drivah face. Some ah dem taximan blasted wutless’. Or ‘don’t forget to push some money in yuh bra. You know it have real bandit in Port of Spain’. I always received her wisdom with love sometimes I wish the old lady, would just stop talking and trying to dish out knowledge all the time.So I’d be glad to get back on a plane and head home to Grenada and once I got here, I’d miss her. Because her concern and love for me was real. It wasn’t based on manipulation, or control. She just wanted the best for me because I was her baby. She babysat me as a child and saw me become a woman.
I wish she was here now because the struggle is real. Sometimes I need someone that is genuine, sincere, confidential (gosh some people can talk eh? Ugh!) with the love, frankness, perspective and wisdom that age can bring. I need her to sit me down and knock some sense into my head. Someone to help me with my struggles, decisions or to just hear me out. I’m not saying I don’t have those people in my life; I’m saying I just wish that there were more of them around. Those women who said what they meant and meant what they said because they love you and only desire the best for you. Whether it was to tell you to leave that no good man or stop spending your money on foolishness or just share a personal experience that bore the answer to your particular challenge.
Depending on what I was going through, I’d share it with gran. Oftentimes she’d never say I think you should so this or do that. Nah, she’d give a story. Gosh, always with her stories! About how she got on a boat and left her warring family in St. Vincent and sailed to Trinidad and built a new life. Or about how she raised all her children on her own because she would not tolerate any cheating man, husband or not.
In her stories I saw bravery and possibility. I saw that even with her lack of education and all the challenges she would have faced coming into her own in the 1930’s, she was brave enough to venture into the unknown because she knew she deserved better. She was willing to walk away from people that hurt her and failed to serve any true purpose in her life. And she did it because she realized she had one life to live and she wanted to spend it being happy.
How I wish more women like her would share and present themselves. To teach us younger women how to live and walk in our divine purpose. They generally have a good eye for spotting that gifting and talent that the Divine had blessed us all with and they help you unearth and walk in it. We need more of those women. Every community needs one, every family needs one, every church needs a few. Sadly, you can’t even find them in the churches. But when you find them, hold them tight and keep them close. They are a rare commodity, a dying breed. And learn from their stories, share your heart with them and distill the wisdom they espouse. Usually, it’s good for you.
Today’s (younger) women face unique challenges that no other generation have. So many of them start having children in or just out of their teens and are oftentimes still maturing when the role of motherhood is thrust upon them. Many of them have parents who would have had them around the same age, if not slightly older, so it’s not uncommon the see grannies in their early 30′ s and 40’s. It poses a special challenge in that many of them, albeit amazing parents and grandparents, just don’t have those wise women to lean on or they don’t really have older generations around.
That’s why I’m really invested in seeing FemmePowered become a community. I want that women of all ages, regardless of their story or situation can find others to mentor, encourage and support them. A wise woman does not necessarily have age lines etched on her face. She can be young, with an old soul, or someone with a heart for others with a knack for giving good advice and wisdom. I know a couple of them but oftentimes I yearn for those older, old school wise women. The thing is, no man or woman is an island. We don’t grow independently as we like to believe. We can all learn from each other. Let’s encourage and support each other and become someone’s gran or wise woman in the future. Let’s get a movement and community going. Signing up for the upcoming conference is a start.
Happy Saturday 🙂
Carlana Charles is the visionary and editor-in-chief of FemmePowered. She is a womanist, writer, speaker, story midwife and facilitator of meaningful and engaging conversations. When she is not working in or on FemmePowered, she can be found resting, baking, reading or scribbling furiously in her journal whilst sipping wine or coffee, sometimes both at the same time. She is currently working on her first book and hopes to release it in September 2018.