I have so many feelings about This Will Be My Undoing. Awe. Frustration. Loyalty. Anger. Agreement. Pride. So many other emotions. Morgan Jerkins is a voice that absolutely needs to be heard, always. She writes with a rawness that is hard to find in this jaded world we live in. She puts her feelings, experiences, fears and expectations on the table, open like wounds, revealed for readers to see, touch, pick apart. At times, I wanted to hold her fiercely to let her know that she would be okay. That although life, racism, sexism, colorism and every other ism will try to crush her, she has a tribe to hold her down. Other times, I wanted to shake her because I wanted this amazing sista to stop being so damn afraid. To stop worrying or caring about how white people perceive her. To realize what a badass she truly is and to own the fuck out of it.
Ms. Jerkins’ work, which I’m not even done with as of yet, by the way, is simply outstanding. Many books have moved me, but this one shook me to my very core. It made me think about how I relate to this world as a woman, as a black woman, as a human being. When I read her chapter dedicated to Forever Flotus Michelle Obama, I felt like a proud aunt reading the words of a beloved niece. When I read the chapter about her trip to Japan and how light she felt, I could easily relate, as my experiences traveling abroad have been eye opening and refreshing. I nodded my head in fervent agreement when I read the pages on white women and their colonization of our bodies (like the Kardashians/Jenners) and retention of their privilege. The annoyance I feel when they are lauded for injecting our features into their bodies while we are vilified for what nature blessed us with. For wearing our hairstyles that go back generations, with meanings they will never understand, like the latest accessories while we are threatened with the loss of our jobs or school suspension/expulsion for rocking the same.
Even with the changes that have been made in recognizing that blackness equates to greatness, American society does everything in its power to stomp on that realization. To bury it like it buried Black Wall Street, Rosewood and other places that thrived on its own. Ms. Jerkins does not shy away from writing about what society tries to do to us and how black women navigate their lives through such toxicity. For such a young person, she writes like an old soul, someone who has seen too much already. But she also writes like someone of her age, full of hope, possibilities and youth. Her words demand attention without seeking validation. There is no need for said validation. The words speak for themselves.
Buy This Will Be My Undoing. That is all.