Today I had a good cry.
The truth is I don’t feel safe or protected as a Black person, or woman.
Every day of my life I’m aware of my perceived inferior birthright. And each year, it pierces me a little bit deeper. I become more sensitive to it and it painfully eats away at my heart. Being Black and female is one of the highest taxes to pay in this country. Out the womb, I couldn’t hide…we can’t hide. When I became conscious of who I was, I almost immediately knew I was doomed to deal with a lifetime of B.S. I absolutely couldn’t help because of how others naturally perceived me.
Truthfully, I feel disposable. Now here is the crazy part…I know I’m strong, and powerful, smart, resilient, gifted and yet here I sit with broken self-esteem that only improves when I accomplish a thing. How many of us feel like we have to accomplish a thing just to be worthy? My therapist swears this is the recipe for a disastrous burnout and I agree. But the pressure is on because in the back of my mind I know that I, We, Black women are expendable in this society and we have to act to belong. We have to do things to be valued. We have to prove ourselves to be deemed worthy. I’ve heard this sentiment expressed in variety of ways from many women, I just never realized what it was. We’re stepping stones to our men, the unhealthy crutches for our families, the overworked and under-appreciated-slash-paid at our jobs. Fetishized, over-sexualized, and drained of our sensuality and joy until we have nothing left to give. Then we’re passed on when we’ve given…everything. We’re left feeling useless and wondering “why.” So I cried for us today.
I cried, because I wish people knew just how awesome we were. I wish we didn’t have to fight to be thought of as more than 3/5’s of a human, or smart, capable, and not just some aggressive Black b**tches or “whores” that are ran through and emptied. I cried because Black women are phenomenal even through brokenness and the only folks that cry for us, are…us.
The media has repeatedly perpetuated the stereotype of us with trash behavior, gold digging tendencies, and as people who hate and fight one another but I haven’t experienced it in my life that way. I do acknowledge that negativity exists and stereotypes stem from real places, however there are so many of us who lift one another up. The people I feel who most love and protect me are Black women. We are our “for better, or for worse.”
And I cried because the Black women I know are dynamic and beautiful. We are not perfect and we have shortcomings just as everyone else, but we are forgotten. Who is the ally to a Black woman in America? Who invests back into us? Who doesn’t take from us emotionally, physically, or culturally without giving back? Who comes back to say “thank you” for what we’ve contributed, for the leadership we’ve provided, and for the life we breathe into this world? Who celebrates Queens? Other Queens.
My therapist told me I was grieving today. I didn’t even know my emotional shutdown was to protect me from how I truly feel…alone, unless surrounded by the love of Black women. Again I say, we are our for better or for worse—we are each other’s keepers.
Forget the Will and Jada drama. Breonna Taylor deserves better. Black women deserve better. Underrepresented people deserve better. And if you are a Black woman reading this- know that you are loved, you are appreciated, and you are everything.
Your sister, cousin, friend <3