We need our imagination to survive.August 8, 2019
Am I doing this right? What is the measure of doing it right?
If my kid eats all of his greens, am I doing it right?
If he says yes ma’am to his Mimi , Memaaw, and Maya- is that right?
When his play date takes all of the play dough and my kid punches him to get it back?
When I have that moment of pride that … yes… that’s my boy. He’’s a fighter seeking to redistribute resources more equitably😂. Now, is that right?
Lately, Oye is really into who Harriet Tubman was. He knows that she found a way to freedom and led others as well. His larger question is “how mama?” The answer I give him right now- Imagination. She imagined a better world than the one she was born into and she did something about it. Did Harriet have models? How did she know that freedom was her birthright when she’d been surrounded by the opposite?
I believe that Harriet’s imagination stretched across time. It walked across water backwards. It jumped at the sun forward. It’s how she remembered and visioned freedom.
Another world is possible, and it will be born- first in our imagination.
It has to be. What we have seen represented and presented as “the way” continues to turn up as a dead end.
And so, I mother and I ponder “Am I doing this right?” Oye sits next to me and says “Mama, I am a lion, a dragon, and a butterfly.”
I say “yes” to all of those things, hopefully forever.
Aloud, I wonder what wild and free creature he thinks I am. He says “you are a bird and you made the clouds.”
That means something.
Oye’s presence in my life demands that I reconvene with my own imagination as a requisite to accessing more freedom. How else will I recognize the world that he shows me is possible if I am not a student of the imaginary?
Imagination is not a pretend place. It is the place where creativity, possibility, and infinity live. My son calls on me to love, nourish, protect, honor, and engage his imagination as a measure of “doing it right.” In doing so, I must practice perceiving beyond my five senses. He implores me to be a student of what I cannot see, what is boundless, and beyond real.
Our survival depends on it.