Even though I’ve never met you, I feel a kinship between us. Why? Because whether you’re from the Dominican Republic, Ghana or Louisiana, we are sisters. Sister-friends, soul sisters...whatever you want to call it, there’s an inexplicable bond between us—born out of our shared experiences in a world that mistreats us. More likely than not, you have a good idea of some of the struggles I face, just as I have a good idea of some of the struggles you face, because we have to fight and overcome the same things, as black women.
Therefore, we’ve got to have each other’s backs at all costs, not solely for the good of our community, but for the good of ourselves as individuals.
The purpose of this letter is to send some love into the universe and to make the bridge that carries us black women, just a little bit stronger. I want to encourage us to collectively put our best foot forward in 2019, in every way. We don’t need to thrust our fists into the air and demand to be treated fairly in order to start a revolution, we simply need to start loving ourselves the way we want to be loved. That’s revolution enough. You see, the goal of white supremacy, colorism, featurism (and any other systems of oppression that work against you) is to convince you to hate yourself.
Therefore, if in spite of society’s negative influence, you learn to love yourself truly, deeply and fully, you have already won the battle. Embrace every facial feature and every curve of your body and work it to your advantage. Let your beautiful crown of hair continue to grow up towards the sun and to draw attention to you wherever you go.
With the New Year rolling in soon, take time to reflect over this past year and ponder over what you’d like the next year to look like. Discover what you can do to make this year your best year yet and remember to take advantage to everything you have access to. One encouraging motto or slogan to remind yourself of all throughout the New Year is:
You are deserving of all the love and joy that the world has to offer.
Black women, you deserve love. And if you search, you will find people willing to give that love to you. You deserve to be cherished by others, whether it comes from strong friendships, family or a significant other. But even if all the world were to love and adore you, you would still have nothing until you learned how to give that love back to yourself. Prioritize yourself and fall head-over-heels in love with yourself. Learn to love every quirk and flaw that makes you you.
And naturally, after having improved your relationship with yourself, you’ll find it hard to settle for romantic partners or friends that mistreat you or make you feel. It will be so much easier to find someone that treats you like the princess you are.
Black women, you deserve to look in the mirror and see beauty (regardless of whether you fall within society’s standards of beauty). And lastly, you deserve peace. The best way to achieve the happiness that comes with peace is to work daily to maintain your physical and mental health, and to be in touch with your spirituality. You don’t have to be religious to do this, you only need a little self-awareness. Take the time to discover your purpose or what gets you out of bed in the morning. What is something that you add to the world that only you can bring? Being in touch with your soul and developing a sense of belonging and purpose in this world will help build your character, improve your sense of worth and keep you grounded regardless of whatever circumstance you may be facing.
All this said, as a black woman, you are allowed to have depression, anxiety, mental illness, or other problems. You are allowed to struggle and to feel bad and to not be invincible. You’re not a robot. You are a human being. The media may portray black women as dominant, steadfast, resilient and always there to pick up the pieces, but that’s not real life. In reality, there are tons of black women who are not okay. There are many of us who still struggle under the weight of sexism and racism, and if that’s you, don’t be ashamed. Reach out for professional help from a black female psychiatrist or counsellor who can help you heal and move forward. Remember, it’s okay not to be okay.
Grace is a freelance writer and blogger from Canada. Her work has been featured on HerCampus, 21Ninety and Read Unwritten. She is a voracious reader, a dog-lover and a self-professed pop culture junkie. Her other hobbies include watching sappy romantic comedies, consuming too many strawberry-filled doughnuts and people-watching. Grace currently attends university, where is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Pre-Law.