So we have all said it and most of us have even been called it at some point in our lives. You know what I'm talking about...the "S" word! STRONG! The pressure that comes with that word is so intense. Many of us have been called "strong" when our very existence was fragile and in jeopardy. Being the strong friend, sister, aunt, mama, or whatever strong hat you might wear can be a slippery slope. While on the one hand, you are revered and likely appreciate being sought after when people are in need, on the other hand you are often completely forgotten about when you are the one in need. The reality is every strong woman needs a place of refuge or solace. Strong women are not superhuman, we are SUPER human! In light, that means that while we may be able to help others navigate their murky waters, we sometimes need people to help us navigate our own. Honestly, it's a bit exhausting when you feel like you are always wading alone.
Myth: Black women are strong because they want to be viewed as such!
Fact: Black women are strong because historically we have had to be strong to deal with the ridiculous amounts of oppression, racism, sexism, patriarchy, misogynistic behaviors, microaggressions, and abuse that we encounter on a daily basis.
Fact: Black women are strong because the success and sustainability of our families depend on our strength.
Fact: Black women are strong because we have to be.
But I ask this, who will be strong for us? When will the strength that we possess, that has been so revered, be appreciated in a way that builds us up rather than simply acknowledging its existence. If we don't have our strength restored we will sustain, but it will be at the expense of both our physical and mental health! We can not afford to keep this up! Even the strongest warriors need a break to rejuvenate!
I harp on the importance of self-care often, but I can admit...I have not been the best steward of my own self-care. I am working on correcting that toxic behavior daily. I know that in order for me to teach my girls the importance of self-care, I must first demonstrate it and model it for them.
Often times our strength is viewed as a replacement for our gentle nature. We are viewed as hard rather than soft. For many of us, our greatest quality is a feminine nature and our gentle spirits. If people would take more time to engage us to understand the weight of our strength they would learn that we are truly the flowers that bloomed in the midst of adversity and therefore are the most beautiful of them all.
This is my charge to you to bloom sis! Be the gentle warrior that you were destined to be. Let no one mistake your strength for a lack of gentle femininity.
From one Dope Black Woman to another, it's ok to take off your cape.
***This post was written while holding a toddler who couldn't quite grasp the concept that 2 more minutes would actually come if they let me use both hands to type! Lol!