Words by Aaqila Harvey.
Right now I’m choosing to celebrate life. I’m choosing to honor legacy, and I choose to embrace the lessons that the departed have left behind for the living to take heed to. I am honoring the late Jasmine ‘Jasfly’ Waters because she left behind a legacy and lessons that are deeply rooted in life’s unpredictable journey. She was a light and a force that I, a total and complete stranger felt from the depths of my heart. She intrigued me and she challenged me. I looked forward to her perspective and her humor. She was indeed fly AF. Her death is an insurmountable loss that I still haven’t fully been able to grasp. But the lessons have been immediate and life-altering.
Here are the 3 lessons that Jas’s life and her passing have taught me.
- Black women are not unbreakable
Many of us suffer in silence just as loud as we take up space in certain rooms. We oftentimes speak up only to hear our cries on deaf ears. We arent these indestructible action figures that many like to see us as. We are fragile just as much as we are strong and we hurt just as much as we can heal. We are not a monolith. The fact that Jas took her own life and the pain and turmoil she felt to come to that decision further amplifies the need for black women’s plight to be more understood. Black women deserve better treatment from everyone. Period.
2. Go after your dreams and let nothing stop you.
With reckless abandon and passion. Take the journey into your own hands and go for yours. Jas had a dream since childhood to be a writer. She came from a rough childhood and overcame the odds set forth against her to do what no one thought she could. And that’s the funny thing about people and their thoughts and opinions. It means absolutely nothing when you know what you want and you listen to yourself and not the opinions of those around you. Yes you will stumble and yes you will have doubts, but you must not let it stop you from going after what you want. After all, the journey is the destination.
3. Black women and men need each other.
Somewhere along the way, our community turned into something like a black widow eaten our own. Somewhere along the way we’ve failed each other, going into competition with each other rather than lifting each other up. Somewhere along the way, we forgot that the sum is absolutely equal to its parts and that what happens to one does affect us all. We lost sight of many things wrapped up in our collective pain and suffering. This abusive cycle has to end. We have to stop failing each other. Not to sound like the Lion King, but there truly is a circle to this thing called life, and it is my hope that we as a community can break free some the shackles that hold us and get back to strengthing and building our communities again. We must rally behind each other for the greater good and not from break each other down from our sorrows.
All in all, Jas taught me that you simply aren’t the story that you come from but rather the one that you create. As she used to always say go forth and do dope shit. Heard you Jas, heard you.