Lyvonne Briggs

After I rose from slumber
This morning I spent some time in the mirror

Before I dressed for the day
Before I even brushed my teeth
And I looked

I stood

Like the pearls of an exposed collarbone

I watched

Took in every crack and crevice
More numerous than the curves
Of the River Nile
More triumphant than Lake Victoria

I noticed

Peaks and valleys
Like the Ethiopian Highlands

I realized

I have an African woman’s shape

The bosom of my ancestors
The hips of my foremothers
The calves of my forefathers
The lips of my distant cousins
The smile of my tribe
The laugh of my kin

This is the skin that God placed me in

Because I am
We are
Created in the image and likeness of God
This must be what God looks like

What God looks like
What God

I am more than your dismissive glances

I am more than your judgmental stares

I am

Fearfully, wonderfully
By a God who rejoices over me with singing
And this ain’t no karaoke, y’all

This is an eternal love song
Written in the beginning
Composed just the same
A song titled with my own name

This is what it feels like
To love and to be

Minister Lyvonne “Proverbs” Briggs, a New York City native, is a minister, scholar, activist, writer, and performance poet. She graduated from Seton Hall University with a Bachelor of Arts in English (Honors) and from Yale Divinity School with a MDiv. She is currently pursuing her ThM at Columbia Theological Seminary. Minister Briggs is engaged in written and spoken discourse about the intersection of religion, race, gender, and sexuality, and hopes to continue this conversation in mainstream media. At the grassroots level, she fuses spirituality and the arts (dance, poetry, and drama) to create awareness of sexual violence against girls and women among various secular and religious communities. She hopes to empower communities, especially those of faith, to play active roles in the emancipation of women from violent oppression. In the future, she wants to preach, teach, and live the liberty found only in Jesus Christ.

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