A series of things happened to me in the last week between my professional and personal life that has me thinking about how I perceive myself and how the world perceives me. While i deal with these thoughts often, sometimes it just takes an incident or comment to make you realize just how unique black womanhood is. We are everything and nothing at the same time. Our uniqueness places us between the land of mythos and reality all at once, That can be a hard and isolating road to travel, even if you have a guide or mentor to help you along the way. But it is still a very personal journey because of our one of a kind experiences.
I like to start with the myths or stereotypes that we face because that is the one thing we all have in common. From the moment we come into the world we are considered weaker,inferior, a burden, worthless simply because we are female. Then you add our deep rich mahogany color and we become lazy, unintelligent, savages,ghetto, not human, all of this added to us and we haven't even taken our first proper breath yet. Let's jump to puberty because we all know that black children don't actually grow up. We get stuck in an incubator and within the hour we magically become delicious adults.
The sexualization begins, we are conniving, ratchet, cold hearted hoes and bitches. But on the plus side we sassy, strong, independent and sexperts. I can't tell you how many times it was assumed that I had sexual knowledge, simply because i was a black teenage girl. Granted I'm sure you realize that I'm being sarcastic but these are the layers that we have to fight through before we can get a true glimpse of the real person beneath the surface.
The reality is our growth as women is stunted. Partly because of the stereotypes attached to us and because we put so much effort into not becoming a stereotype that we harm ourselves in the process. When we try to express ourselves we are shut down by external forces We stop ourselves because we don't want to be judged by others and ourselves. Fifteen years ago i had a bad car accident and i was given steroids to help with pain and healing. In the process of my recovery i went from 150 lbs to 300 lbs, I also became a diabetic. While I knew why these changes were happening, the only thing in my mind was shame because I had become a stereotype.
Society teaches us to hate ourselves because of our uniqueness, yet still our beauty is monetized. if you want lips, tits and ass go to the plastic surgeon, he can hook you up. if you want that beautiful glow and dark skin head to the beach or hit the tanning bed. if you want that full volume and thick hair go to the salon and get a perm, then use a bunch of products to achieve that hairstyle. If we do the same thing to achieve their beauty standards, we are laughed at, scorned and dismissed even more. Double standard much???
How do you reconcile what is in your mind with what you see outside? That is a hard question to answer, and one only another black woman would understand.
That is the journey we are all on, walking that road between myth and reality. It's hard because we didn't create that myth, it was created and expounded on by others. No matter what direction we choose we face the same demons. Depression, low self esteem, self hatred, shame, anger, fear, helpless and hopeless.Yet still we keep striding forward because we can see that outline of our true self calling to us. That is our trophy, our love of self and when we obtain that nothing else matters.
Welcome to the journey of a lifetime.
Moonfreesun – “My favorite color is blue, and my favorite food is coconut. I love to read, write,listen to music, play video games, swim, travel, and spend time with family and friends. My interests include: books, electronics, sports, science, food, knowledge and people.”