“Peace.” That’s my motto. I offer that blessing or something similar at least once or twice a day. Everyday. Why do I constantly offer “peace” to just about anyone I communicate with? I’ll answer that, but I’ll start with a little background about where I’m from and how I even have peace to offer in the first place. Truth is, most women (especially women of color) from where I’m from neither have nor know how to attain peace.
I’m Mutha Tung. I’m the peace-iest, singing-est, graphic designing-est, homeschooling-est mother, CEO-est, producer-est, tea ninja-est, and multitasking-est multitasker in the world. Yes. I do much. I always have had the need to be creatively busy. Imagine me as a 4-year-old eating a PBJ while dancing and singing my own lyrics to “Disco Lady.” When lunch was over, it was time to get back to cleaning out milk jugs for my recycling store in the garage. After that, when I’d finished writing love letters, I’d get back to drawing Snoopy inside cubes. Creation was peace then. I did and do still find peace in creation. There was an endless supply of artistic inspiration with barely any notable distraction in the rural area I’m from. In the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA), we’re country on a higher echelon. I speak with a drawl. I can smell when rain is coming. I make homemade wine from scratch. I can smell infection and have a natural remedy for almost everything. We’re country like that. But, I stuck out like a sore thumb because I was obviously unaware that I was expected to “know my place” as a Black woman. I was supposed work at the textile mill or poultry plant until I retired or died, get married just to get out of the house or have children for the welfare check. Though mentioned among the most beautiful places on the Earth, setting foot in the CSRA is instant time travel back at least 50 years. Racism, sexism, and the slave mentality so blatantly evident will at first rock your senses. The slanted judicial system, the prison preparatory school system, the easily available welfare system, the lack of adequate resources for single citizens, and unapologetic prejudice all play vital parts in an environment that seems designed to slowly pick at any strong, elegant, peaceful spirit. Peace struggles to survive in such a dark vacuum of a depressing trap. And, I fell into the trap and did exactly what I was expected to do. I self-medicated. I was depressed. I became an alcoholic. It happened so effortlessly that I didn’t even realize I had tossed my inner peace away for alcohol. It’s how I coped with illnesses, pains, and all other traumatic experiences. And there were plenty illnesses, traumatic experiences, losses, and anguish in depression to keep that liquid addiction fueled forever. I never felt addicted. I felt I wanted, not needed, to drink so I could relax because I had a bad day. Eventually I realized no peace ever came from any bottle or substance ever. It happened suddenly out of the blue one day. I made a decision and I quit. I’m not saying it was easy, but I’ve gotten stronger each time I’ve chosen myself instead of a drink. My peace comes from my own strength and knowing whatever might arise my reality is determined by my own maturity and mentality. All the thousands of dollars I spent on liquor and all I needed to pay was attention. I constantly offer “peace’ because where are the ads in music, on TV, billboards, and magazines telling us all to just open our minds for instant parties, peace and happiness? Where was an ad for inner strength, peace, and wisdom when I needed to see that shit everywhere like I saw beer commercials? I campaign for peace. Peace is free, green energy, calorie free, organic, and 100% recyclable. I keep it on deck and you can get some. Peace.