I’m probably not qualified enough to write this post. I’m probably too young, there is a whole world out there I am yet to experience, a whole life still waiting to be lived. But I believe that I don’t have to cry the tears myself to know what will bring me pain.
There is one major problem I have observed among black women: we don’t support each other.
If we have a similar upbringing, it is more than likely that you too would have been told: “you have to work twice as hard because you’re black”. When you’re black, everytin na double double! When it’s bad, it’s twice as bad and when it’s good, it’s twice as good and because of that, everything feels twice as hard. For some, you feel as though you have to do it all alone, you have to be independent, otherwise, someone can snatch this glory away from you and you’ll lose twice as bad.
I’ve watched black women around me get so caught up in doing things well and doing them alone. So much so that I believed it was the only way things could be done. But being ‘strong’ and ‘independent’ will take its toll on you. It will suck the life out of you and leave limp on the street.
You are not a machine.
It’s okay to break down.
It’s okay to take the time out for yourself to relax.
It’s also, most importantly, okay to ask for help.
Receiving assistance doesn’t take away from your independence and taking a break doesn’t downplay your strength. Yes, life might be a little harder for you in some cases, but this isn’t a burden you should carry alone, neither is it one worth digging a grave over.
Self-care is very easily lost in the hustle and bustle of making it to the top, regardless of what your field is; but looking after yourself and prioritising your well-being is just as, if not more, important. You can’t work efficiently if your mind and body aren’t working efficiently.
Black women all over the world are doing their best to make it to the top and this isn’t something they should struggle to do alone. Black women have a right to be independent just as much as any other woman does, but this does not stop us from supporting each other along the way. Helping a sister out doesn’t cost you too much in most cases, even if all you do is remind her that she needs to take some time out for herself.
A problem some SIBWs face is being labelled career focused in a way that resembles a disease. Do not let society’s stereotypes of being smart-mouthed and angry deter you from being the resilient and indestructible black woman you are. Your strength and courage are the very reason you may be the only person in your office who walks around in a skirt and high heels. Your quick thinking and decisiveness may be why you are one of few in your company with a significant amount of melanin. Do not be discouraged.
Pursuing a successful career is not a bad thing, but letting it consume you is. I’ve noticed this amongst many people, not just black women: they become so career obsessed that they forget to live the rest of their lives. In addition to being strong, remember that you have already worked twice as hard as everyone else, every once in a while, you deserve to relax. Don’t push people away because they aren’t running the same race as you, take the time every so often to embrace the love from those around you. You don’t have to be alone to be independent.
You are allowed to love and be loved.
You are allowed to fall and get back up.
You are allowed to make it to the top as yourself- black woman included.
This constant need to prove yourself to people who will never understand or appreciate your struggle is hindering you from enjoying all that life has to bring. Stop striving for the standards of success that have been set by people who cannot relate to you. Create your own standards. Stop missing out on the life you have now, to sit at a table where you know you don’t fit in. Sit at the head of your own table. You are strong. You are independent. Most importantly, you are a black woman- stop viewing this as an obstacle and revel in the magic you possess.
You are already more than enough.
This week’s shoutout goes out to Zac!