“Black women can be a lot of things, but we can’t be weak. We can be fat, we can be ashy, we can be broke, we can be a lot of things, but we cannot be weak. That’s our kryptonite. We have been taught that our feminine side, our soft side, our vulnerable side, our receptive side, our open side- we’ve been taught that’s a weakness. And it isn’t.” Who agrees with Iyanla, am I the only one? I love Iyanla Vanzant, Beloved she drops gems and tells truths. As I struggle with the perfect balance of strength her words resonate with me more and more. There is a certain power that comes with “being strong” that can dually become a prison.
Women who are labeled or seen as strong most commonly had to be strong for one reason or another. In life we all deal with traumas small or large I am no different. How I cope can be reactive to a situation I have absolutely no control over. I personally believe my strength was birthed and necessary for survival. That sounds very dramatic but the truth is I was the youngest child, I was bussed out meaning a lot of the times I was the only Black girl in the room, In my neighborhood I stood out because I didn’t go to school with everyone else, and I lived in the hood. Because of those circumstances I had to know how to speak up for myself, and not be fearful at a very young age. My strength was created out of necessity but, the truth is it feels good to be strong. I know for a fact I am a human being but there is an indescribable feeling I get in my gut when I am able to make it thru something that seemed impossible. That feeling can motivate me at times. The power in this strength is it can be transferrable. When I conquer something, I don’t care what it is-motherhood struggles, financial struggles, surviving a life plot twist all, I want to do is encourage the next person they can too. People find strength from knowing they are not alone in a struggle, even more when they see with their own eyes someone conquering an adversity that they themselves can identify with.That is where the real beauty and power lies in being strong. It is inspiring somebody else, I feel like that is a part of my purpose. The most empowering part about being strong is having the mindset “I am going to make it” because all strengths start in the mind. If you believe you can, then you can.
Merriam Webster states prison is a state of confinement or captivity. Prison doesn’t always have to be a physical building. I am a multifaceted person there is more then one side to me but for some reason I can be perceived as strong and that’s it. Being confined to that one emotion or personality trait creates unrealistic expectations of me. When others align me with a fictional superhero like “Wonder Woman” it feels good until they start treating me like a s fictional character. It translates to feeling like I am being treated as if I am not human, although that’s not the intention it’s very hurtful. It feels absurd to have to remind people that I am a human being with feelings and being strong is not always the state I am in or feeling. The worst part is when I create the prison for myself! The feeling I can conquer anything is like a drug and I can be chasing that feeling and taking on more then I really can. It also leads me to ignore or try to deny my true feelings. When I set the unrealistic expectation for myself and I don’t accomplish it I feel bad about myself even though it wasn’t reasonable to begin with. It’s a constant battle within myself to allow myself to be vulnerable and not having to live in an “I am strong” state all the time.
The reality is that I am a strong woman. But I am also a sensitive woman, an outgoing woman, a considerate woman, a thoughtful woman who I am is not limited to being “strong”. My strength comes from my faith and my DNA. I encourage you to check on your strong friend today and tell her it’s okay to be soft. As always thank you so much for stopping by.
Wishing you no pain unless its champagne!!