just a preview of a piece I wrote.
A brilliant writer by the name of Kola Boof that I follow on twitter said it best: she said ‘In order for a black woman to feel like she has an inch of humanity, she has to leave the black community.’
Wow. The sad part is? That has entirely been my experience, so I can vouch for and say that it’s truth. The places I have felt fully at home, fully human, accepted for who I am, allowed to feel and not apologize for it? They were not in the black community.
America makes it complicated to be a black woman, so does the black community as a whole, as well as the black church.
How do I deal with being a black woman in the hip-hop generation, listening to lyrics referring to women as garden tools and female dogs? Am I valued, am I listened to, are my feelings valid? Or am I just expected to suck it up and be strong, fight for my brothas who obviously have a complicated relationship with me? How can they say they love me but then cuss me out the moment I don’t give them my phone number or respond to their advances?
How do I cope with the fact that as long as white privilege & black male privilege exists, I am a double minority, meaning I often end up at the bottom of the totem pole in society?
How do I reconcile a God who loves with a religion whose doctrine damns people to hell? And how do I deal with not being able to find a church that feels like home? Do I just sit it out? How do I deal with the longing for a community, one that accepts me for who I am, that pushes me, challenges me, is willing to challenge the status quo and love people the way God does, unconditionally?
As a black woman, how do I allow myself to be vulnerable in a culture that praises strength? How do I take care of myself in a culture that often criticizes selfishness and expects everyone else’s needs be met before mine?
How do I say I want a different life from my mother without any examples in front of me of what different looks like? How do I say I don’t want my identity to be wrapped up in being a wife & mother, being in someone else’s shadow? How do I show the world that as a woman who is young, gifted and black that I have something to say and much to offer the world?
As a first-generation college graduate, how do I reconcile the ‘do what you love the money will follow’ advice with the ‘girl, don’t leave that stable government job right now, the economy is a mess’ advice? How do I cope with student loan debt when I know I eventually want to own a house? Is the American Dream of a good job, a nice house with a picket fence going to be out of reach for me?
And how in the world do I navigate a kids-free marriage (so far) when every other married couple around me seemingly has kids or had kids within the first year or two of marriage? People tell me to enjoy my marriage, enjoy life with no kids…but it feels awfully lonely when all your single friends without kids don’t understand what it’s like to be married, and all your married friends have kids.
Fortunately, I’m in my twenties, so I have plenty of years ahead of me to find answers to these questions. In understanding who I am, I can find my purpose & hopefully help others to find theirs.