Is the Strong Black Woman Hurting Her Health?
Today is the first day in almost a week I’ve felt close to myself. Since last Thursday, I’ve been in a funk for a lack of a better word. I‘ve always known that Thursday wasn’t my favourite day of the week. I mean, the way most people feel about Mondays, is usually the way I feel about Thursdays.
See, I’ve always chalked it up to the fact that by the time Thursday rolls around, I’m tired.
I mean, I’m usually on the go with my one-on-one clients, meetings, speaking engagements among other commitments that by Thursday, I’m just tired and wants the week to be over with.
On one of those days, my mom called and she could tell by the sound of my voice that something was off ( mother’s can sense these things I’m convinced) and inquired, “What’s wrong?”. My response was, “I’m feeling tired and burnt out and I’m not sure what’s going on”. Her response was, “Get up and be strong”.
Now this really irked me because I felt this was a problem in our community, the community of black women. Instead of being asked, “Why do you feel the way you do? What’s going on?”, basically probing more to determine the root cause, we were taught “to be strong” and carry on.
I know many black women wear the terminology “Strong Black Woman” as a badge of honour, but in honesty, I resent it.
I find subscribing to the doctrine of being a “Strong Black Woman” insinuates we must bear our burdens and crosses all alone. That we should nurture everyone else except ourselves. That we should not express emotions. That we should suffer without asking for help because asking for help is seen as a sign of weakness.
Think about it, how many times growing up did you hear the phrase “Strong Black Woman” used, either at home or in the media? We perpetually convey this message from generation to generation. Forcing our daughters and nieces to bear this heavy unrealistic burden.
I don’t know about you, but I find being a strong black woman physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting.
I want to do my part to stop this. To put an end to the unrealistic and undue pressure it places on us. The impact this superwoman state of mind, to figure it out, be a full warrior, to conquer it all has done to our health.
I want to change the narrative to reflect and redefine a “Strong Black Woman. I want the definition of a ”Strong Black Woman” means, she needs to take care of herself, to know that she doesn’t have to do it all by herself. To know she can ask for help and by asking it makes her human, not weak and vulnerable or less of a black woman.
How do we do this?
Instead of complaining about the issue, I decided to do something about it, to create a platform. A platform where we can address how not being taught to take care of ourselves has affected us mentally, physically and emotionally.
A platform where we not only talk and address the issues this epidemic has caused, but realistic, practical ways to help us conquer this. To change the tradition being passed down.
Please join moderator, Vivian Kaye of Kinky Curly Yaki Hair as moderator, Celeste London, Shantel Ellis, Lydia and myself as we offer expert advices on how us black women, can start taking care of ourselves.
To join us on Wednesday April 24, 2019 at 5:45 pm in Toronto, please click the link below to purchase your ticket.
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