This past January, we had a Super Blood Wolf Moon (this article explains what it actually is)but basically, this meant my PMS hit me hard. I spent a lot of this time crying, wanting to cry, stopping crying, and thinking about crying. It was a bit excessive, a bit much, and I laughed at myself – while wiping away tears. So January was a month of stinging eyes and breathing deep, while gazing up at a moon with too long a name and too much power.
In between the salty tears and the salty shade I was throwing myself for constantly showing emotion in a world that devours sadness, I still managed to sit down and visit with some of my good friends. I watched whale bones become accessories. I giggled at spilled hot chocolate and shared in echoing laughter on 20th. I sang loudly and off-key a rendition of Happy Birthday while simultaneously saying goodbye to a best friend who was moving back to her hometown across the country. It was a month of beautiful femme moments, moments that made me thankful for the women in my life.
Having grown up without sisters, I often felt that I could understand men and masculinity much more easily than I could relate to women. It took me a long time to trust women with my heart, to understand that we all go through that petty teenager stage and that doesn’t mean we still be bitches as adults (me, I was the petty teenager). When I was younger, I didn’t know that women could be the softest and strongest people in this world.
I say this now, laughing at myself, as I was the woman with nine bridesmaids when I got married (long story). I’m the woman who has a hard time with casual acquaintances so makes everyone a best friend. I’m the one with a bestie in every city, a squad of women and femme’s who I can call upon for visiting, a couch to crash, a coffee to grab, every time I drive into a reserve or a city. I never walk alone, and this knowledge has grounded me a many a time.
I guess all this is coming from raising a daughter, a single child. I remember once I took her to Wanuskewin, to see the pow-wow. She was a few years younger, maybe five. We watched the dances, the drummers. She ate popcorn and drank iced tea and watched with solemn eyes, long dark hair in a messy ponytail, setting sun warm on her shoulders. Finally, it was time to leave. The mosquitos were coming out, the moon was getting higher in the sky. I called her over to me, and she stopped in the space between me and the pow-wow.
“I wanna stay,” she speaks loudly, as usual. Feet were planted solidly on the ground. I recognized that stance.
“With who? I’m going.” I shrug. Silly child of mine.
“With my Aunties,” Aerie says this very adamantly.
“Cha, which ones?” I’m laughing now, because her Aunties aren’t here and this means she’s coming home with me.
“With ALL of them!” She spread her arms wide, encompassing all the woman who stood behind her – the kokum’s sitting in their lawn chairs and blankets, the young ladies walking by in jingle dresses, the women with kids in hand standing in line for more popcorn and hotdogs. They heard her, had been listening in, as women always listen to kids with one ear. They smiled, laughter slowly rising, raising one hand to heart.
Aunties. I’m raising a child that sees the Auntie in every Indigenous women out there.
So while I worry about her being alone too much, or her being in too many activities or not enough activities, about her getting enough sleep, about her eating healthy foods… I never have to worry about her walking alone through this world.
She is loved, surrounded by Aunties.
-tenille k campbell