How, as a young girl, I was taught that the world would not take it easy on me so therefore this household could not either.
These past six months have been crazy!!! From interviewing for faculty positions to trying to survive during a Global Pandemic, I have neglected my blog but I never stopped writing. Over the past few weeks I will release a series of essays that I have written between interviews and wrote at airports around the world. These essays are specifically for black women and they come straight from my heart.
Dear Black Women,
We need people that protect us, too. For our mental and emotional stability we need to be vulnerable. We have to be emotionally intelligent. We need people who show us genuine compassion and unconditional love. It’s tough to always have to be strong or resilient or better yet elastic. Why are we never allowed to show emotion without judgement? Quite often I think about my childhood along with the childhood of both my male and female cousins. How, as a young girl, I was taught that the world would not take it easy on me so therefore this household could not either. But this was my home…the place where I should feel the most protected and yet I knew that anything other than perfect would not be accepted. I enviously watched my male cousins be able to show frustration when they failed at an activity or relax when they had a long day. While I (Us) had to suck it up and study smarter or work harder. There was no time for tears or better yet no one to wipe those tears away, no one to hold us and say better luck next time. We are taught to be problem solvers and to not stop until it is solved. Now don’t be confused, this type of upbringing has its pros. It is the reason we are the most educated group in America. We thrive in the face of adversity and are extremely self-motivated. It is also the reason why heart disease and stroke disproportionately affect black women when compared to other groups. We are forced to keep every emotion tucked inside because we are too complex. When colleagues disrespect us or make an ignorant comment about black/brown culture, we are not allowed to say anything due to the fear of being labeled the “angry black woman”. This is a tough life. People can not imagine the stress and anxiety that we face every single day. When we hurt in silence and cry in the dark. When we are ridiculed and judged for expressing ourselves even to our family and friends. Why can’t we cry when we are sad and yell when we are mad? Why can’t we have a bad day or heck, even a bad hour. Why can we not go through transitions like everyone else. When I think about the black men in my life, I only trust a few. I only know a few who would give their life to save mine. Who would protect and love me when I am at my worst. Why is that? We are worthy of kindness and love. We are human and humans have to feel things for good health. To be honest I am not sure where we go or who we go to. Gym? Therapy? Church? Of course, our black female groups offer us solace, but when the people we are surrounded by everyday shun us even that cannot take away that sinking feeling. I have lost count of all the times I have walked in my home after a long day, taken off my superhero mask, and curled in my bed and cried until I fell asleep. All while seeing a therapist. And, I know you have experienced this, too. I pray and long for the day where we can be an emotional mess. I am here for you and I understand what you are going through. The ability to be yourself is best gift this life gives. I am always thinking of you!
From Aeriel, With Love