The strong Black woman.
We all know her. We have all (at some point) been forced into filling her role.
The plight of the Black woman is to keep it all together. All the time. She is the foundation to the world around her.
It’s so entrenched into who we are as Black women that many of us wear this strength as a badge of honor. But why?? And is it really?
As the strong Black woman our emotions are so often labeled as overreactions.
Depression and anxiety are seen as sensitivity issues.
And yet, our cortisol levels are higher than other demographics.
The strong Black woman keeps us invisible, it keeps us shifting the weight of family burdens as we try to carry it all and keep it “together”.
It’s a construct made to keep us in a lane created for us. Not BY us.
Our families rely on us, but rarely stick around to make sure we are standing on two feet. They come to us for advice, emotional support, to fill in the blanks of whatever they need in their lives. We are the 9-1-1 call and the life preserver.
The Black woman has become the rehab center of the family.
But no matter if you’ve been depleted, certainly don’t overreact by bringing up your emotions. Besides no one stuck around to fill up your bucket once they got what they needed.
By the way. That sensitivity (you know reacting to your emotions) is probably why you can’t keep a man. I mean with those emotions, those lashes, the way you dress. Sis, you’re a sex pot. Why do you think you deserve visibility and *gasp* compassion?
Did I get all that right?
Here’s the thing tho…
When we release the need to be strong all the time (and meet the expectations of that implication) we give ourselves room and permission to fully feel all of the emotions we have been graced with.
We can grow by showing and being with those emotions. We can stand on the shoulders of our ancestors because we choose to feel our feelings and emotions that so many of them weren’t afforded.
If we aren’t growing as a generation, what are we even doing here?
Listen. The stress I feel even putting our daily aggressions into words is a lot. Stress impacts the life of a Black woman as such an intense attack it’s showing up directly in our health, leaving us vulnerable to several health issues.
And seeking help for those issues is another beast in and of itself. For starters, the medical field largely discredits our pain and our ability to articulate what is going on in our own body. They see it as (yep) as an overreaction.
Further, finding a Black woman therapist…….. Have you ever seen a unicorn? How about more than one in the same place?
We don’t need those odds stacked against us, sis.
I’m challenging you to take in the soft space of yourself. I want you to befriend your emotions.
And most importantly I want you to be vulnerable.
Let’s change the narrative of what makes a strong Black woman.
Okay, let’s do some wine pairing. I’m going to sit down and pair this conversation with a nice bottle of Raymond 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon. Why? Because the terrior (the climate, soil, etc that the grapes grow in) that has brought it to us present expressive dark, red fruit with integrated tannins.
Black women may walk dark paths at certain stages of our journey, but that fruit and toughness in our tannins is unmatchable.
It makes an expressive black currant and sweet cocoa taste, with the smell of cherries & plums. The beauty intertwined here screams Black woman to me.
2017 was a year that was met with extreme growing conditions.
To a Black woman, she says “Oh you mean every year?”
We got this.
Pair with heavy dishes. ‘Cuz we be hittin.