The following extract comes from Candice Brathwaite's highly anticipated second book, Sista Sister, a compilation of essays about all the things Candice wishes someone had talked to her about when she was a young Black girl growing up in London. From family and money to Black hair and fashion, as well as colourism and relationships between people of different races, it's a fascinating read that will launch some much-needed conversations. This particular extract explores her discovery and implementation of the law of attraction, a philosophy suggesting that positive thoughts bring positive results into a person's life, while negative thoughts bring negative outcomes.
Every other Sunday (I won’t lie and say I attended each week), I would watch as a preacher decked out in an eightpiece suit (nine if he was wearing a toupee) would take to the pulpit and remind us that it was tithe and offering time. Depending on how much time he had, he would recite lyrics about how the size of your offering would reflect the size of your blessing, and if you really wanted that new house or for your child to get into that university, or for the good Lord to zap that cancer out of you, then you sure as hell better put your money where your prayer was. Then the bucket would pass around, and those who only had a few pennies to spare would place their hands right to the bottom of the bucket, so that you wouldn’t know they weren’t dropping fat pound coins, which always made a heavier, thudding noise. The arrival of card machines in the church made this process a little less awkward.
As soon as the service was over, off the pastor would ride in a car that looked like a bullet-proof Bentley, whilst waving at the very same members of the congregation who had started to walk home, unable to afford public transport. Their bus fare had long since made haste with the pastor. And if you didn’t get the new house, or your child didn’t make it to university, or you still had cancer? Well, as the pastor explained, "Even if God doesn’t make good on his promise in this lifetime, he will make good on it in heaven. Let us rejoice and praise Him."
Now hold up, wait a minute, rewind, selecta.
You mean to tell me that these people, myself included, were giving their last, having to accept that the pain and suffering we were currently experiencing might go on forever as we know it, and whilst it was going on forever, we were supposed to rejoice and revel in it? Oh no, honey child, this cannot be.
So when it seemed that I was finally able to make the LOA [law of attraction] work for me, alongside being amazed, I was also very fucked off.
Did other Black folks know this? Did they understand that the power we thought could only be bestowed on us by our boss, our significant other, even our pastors, was already readily available within? Now, being able to create this space for yourself doesn’t automatically mean that there still aren’t other universal hurdles like racism, sexism and all the other -isms in between. But the cool thing with this is that when the energy says ‘it doesn’t see colour’ or something of that ilk (which often feels like a cop-out when said by others), this thing actually means it. For about three months, therefore, I relentlessly shouted about how accessing this level of yourself was the most life-changing tool you could ever be blessed with, and guess what? You didn’t need to put your bus fare in a bucket to get it.
My advice wasn’t met with the excitement I expected.
‘You stay there, that sounds like voodoo to me.’
‘Please, girl, whatever I can manifest for myself, the Lord can do better.’
‘Are you on drugs?’
As much as I tried to explain that changing the way I thought didn’t mean that I was totally ruling out the idea that there was a larger force that could help us, no one wanted to get on board with the belief that the first port of call was a strength that was inside them.
Somewhere in my mind, this revelation made me feel as though this is how it must be to be white. You wake up in the morning, free from the weight of the world’s stereotypes and microaggressions. You make your coffee not worrying if today is the day the police will assault or kill you. You take your whole self to work because no limb nor pound of flesh will be considered too different, too black, too strange. And most importantly, no matter the circumstances you were born into, you always take for granted that the world was built to tip in your favour.
I often see a meme which never fails to make me chuckle.
Maybe you manifested it.
Maybe it’s your white privilege.
Maybe it’s your white privilege.
The meme speaks to my soul because in the last few years especially, manifestation, tarot reading, meditation, yoga, crystal work – everything that could possibly be tied to the practice of the LOA – has had a serious Goop moment. To show how I myself cannot escape the advertising of big magic, let’s talk about the fact that I was only today-years-old when I learned that white sage, which is often used to cleanse bad energy from spaces, is not only part of an important religious ritual called ‘smudging’ (burning herbs) for indigenous people, but as recently as 1978, it was illegal for Natives to actually practise their religion within the United States. Yet in desperate times, I have found myself purchasing ‘smudge kits’ from white women running online businesses for ‘spiritual awakening’, many of whom I doubt know the roots of the practice from which they profit. Now am I saying that white people shouldn’t use all the tools available to help them introduce the law of attraction in their lives? No. Am I saying they need to thoroughly educate themselves on where these practices derive from? Bingo. Because these items – like so many things that were taken from communities who were, and in many ways still continue to be, deemed as outliers – get repackaged and sold at a level that means those who can claim it as their heritage are now priced out of the very thing they and their ancestors fought to preserve as their own.
Because Gwyneth did say she popularised yoga, right? LOL.
That is all I ask that we be mindful of. White people will most definitely have a jump-start in regards to making the LOA attraction work for them because our society already does a really good job of that. But if you are not white, it can work for you too. I was gobsmacked by how, all of a sudden, the things I thought were proper hurdles just didn’t seem to be blockers for me. I always got the job (after years of convincing myself of the many reasons why I wouldn’t), I built a loving family (after years of chasing men who only loved themselves) and most importantly, I really started to believe that things wouldn’t end how they had begun (after spending decades listening to others telling me not to have high expectations).