Audre Lorde is an absolute inspiration to many people regardless of self-definition, in terms of gender, race, sexuality, and feminist location. The ongoing evolution of self-discovery and self-definition are significant aspects of Lorde’s writing, poetry and activism and she is undeniably one of history’s most powerful, yet accessible female voices. She was born in New York City on February 18, 1934 and in honor of her would-be 80th birthday today we've rounded up a collection of some of her most inspiring quotes. 

“The more I use my strength in the service of my vision the less I am afraid...” 

“When we define ourselves, when I define myself, the place in which I am like you and the place in which I am not like you, I'm not excluding you from the joining - I'm broadening the joining.” 


“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” 


“I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.” 

“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” 

“Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet all too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication; it becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are, the ultimate protection for changelessness.” 

“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” 

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”


“But the true feminist deals out of a lesbian consciousness whether or not she ever sleeps with women.” 


“I want to live the rest of my life, however long or short, with as much sweetness as I can decently manage, loving all the people I love, and doing as much as I can of the work I still have to do. I am going to write fire until it comes out of my ears, my eyes, my noseholes--everywhere. Until it's every breath I breathe. I'm going to go out like a fucking meteor!”


“Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society's definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference - those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are black, who are older - know that survival is not an academic skill...For the master's tools will not dismantle the master's house. They will never allow us to bring about genuine change.” 


“... Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.” 

This list could last forever. Audre Lorde’s work can sometimes feel limitless, and we are living in a world that has been greatly affected by the sharing of her voice. What are your favorite Audre quotes? How have her words influenced your feelings of self-acceptance, of feminism, or as a socially conscious being? 

 

images via genderpressing, zocalopoets, sistaoutsider

thanks to goodreads

Tagged in: Quotes, intersectionality, happy birthday, feminist quotes, feminism, Audre Lorde   

The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.




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