My gardening has taught me plenty. Recently, I was looking out over my garden and pondering what strength meant to me. I caught myself laughing and asking the seeds if it took a lot of strength to grow. I thought it was proper, I mean, it was only one seed asking another seed a simple question. We both have the ability to grow in various conditions. And surely, what doesn’t kill us will only make us stronger. When we are planted in an environment where nutrition is balanced, we continuously produce luscious and healthy fruits until death on this realm. From the minuscule experiences I have had and witnessed, it takes a lot of strength to complete this cycle of life.
The seeds never responded but silence hung for a few moments. I began to travel down memory lane. I could not identify strength as an infant. I recalled falling as a toddler and being told to get up, dust myself off, and don’t cry. Words of encouragement would follow, “You are alright”. If it was suitable, I would hear, “Try again.” Strength was not identifiable, then either. I would suck up my tears and keep it moving. Little did I know, I was building mental and physical strength.
Memories as an adolescent came. As a teen, I witnessed my mother complete certification after certification, all while holding down the fort to give us a better life. I didn’t know this experience would give me strength later on for my own family. A lot of things took place during those times, and I definitely did not feel strong, courageous, powerful, or durable. I felt abandoned in some aspects.
I recall the strength it took for me to face that I live within a system of the racism described by Francis Cress Welsing — physiological slavery. I recalled the strength it took me to attempt to break the chains of physiological slavery. I recalled the strength it took me to realize there was a queen inside of me and I could not allow her to lay dormant. I had to call her forth. I realized at this point that I identify strength with suffering and the ability to survive in rough conditions.
I began to get upset sometimes because I felt like I learned strength from struggling. I learned strength from places of distress, weakness, vulnerability, and sadness. I learned to adapt and survive systems that were built to enslave and destroy, but I am told they were built to make me stronger. I feel that this is the advice from those causing the affliction. It sounds like I should be grateful for being down in the gutter and learning how to come up and be strong. I want to experience strength from a loving place. I am tired of struggling and seeing others struggle.
Laquanda is a vibrant spirit moving to the rhythms of life. She was born in Selma Alabama! She believes freedom was given to her as a birth right! Laquanda has traveled around the sun 31 times! She has invested 10 years in growing one seed. His name is Kwami Malik Ingram! Her grandparents would say Laquanda is a good gardener because she listens! Gardening relaxes her mind and purifies her soul, drumming and dancing too! Currently, Laquanda is studying Geography Information Science at the University of North Alabama in Florence Alabama! She is an explorer and she loves adventure! Among friends she is better known as Que!