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Audre's Scribes (Where my Sister Outsiders???)

Sister Outsider: Essays & Speeches by Audre Lorde

I am seated in front of my computer in my bedroom reading highlighted selections from Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider. She’s so insightful. She speaks my language. She articulates my fear of language and my fear of what I have to say.

I also thought of the late Mrs. Gloria Peterson. She was the wife of Pastor Willie Peterson in Dallas. She was the keynote speaker at a women’s retreat I attended in the mid-90s. At that time, I was not a “joiner” and was the least likeliest person to go on a religious retreat with women I barely knew. But for reasons unknown to me I was one of the first to sign up. It’s one of several memories where I felt the Spirit of God gave me warm, safe assurances about my choice. I didn’t have to “pray about it.” I signed up, marked my calendar and was ready for the journey. I now believe it was God giving me a glimpse of what transparency, authenticity and security in self looked like. It was also a glimpse of how one person/one meeting can permanently mark your life with good stuff. That was always my desire - to mark young women’s lives with good stuff so that they, too, would grow up and mark other people’s lives with good stuff. I wanted to be part of a holy, loving contagion. For me, it started with Mrs. Peterson.

The first thing I liked about her was that she didn’t have a bunch of titles on her name. She was simply “Mrs.” I also liked the opening song she sang. It was a hymn sung in a heavenly operatic voice. I can’t remember the song, but I remember immediately reaching for the box of Kleenex. I was in the presence of someone so gracious and pure and holy. As soon as she opened her mouth I knew God was present and that transformation was near.