Black Women, Strong By Default

After having a screaming battle with someone I love and that I have a motherly instinct to protect; I took a sip of my Mimosa and said fuck it. It is normal for a black woman to protect. Smothering. Sometimes Imposing our care on those who don’t need or desire it. The fear that one’s we love may get used, hurt or worse. The audacity of always trying to be a nurturer. Always trying to help. The strength of a black woman is limitless, selfless and unappreciated. 

No sympathy, I’m not writing this because I’m sad or feeling shame. I just feel aware. None of those Tyler Perry break out songs to get your attention. No shade intended, I love Tyler but this ain’t that moment. He always comes to mind when I see depictions of black women such as myself.  I digress…

I just have so much on my heart and mind this morning. All I have been through 37 years, 19 of them an adult. And in all of my years I have mastered being there for everyone but myself. I took pride in being someone else’s shelter even when lightning was striking. The need to constantly protect everyone but me. Putting constant effort into seeing others potential and growth outside of my own. Poor self-esteem, perhaps? Naw, not me. When I look in the mirror ~I’m that bitch. Well-rounded, educated, and fine. Ain’t no way I suffer from low self-esteem. However, poor self-esteem can be disguised in the ability to make continuous efforts to build up others and not have the same interest or focus in building up yourself. A constant trait I see in black women especially mothers. Wrapping ourselves up in our family’s identity to neglect our own. Dimming our light to help someone else shine and calling it strength, resilience, persistence, dedication and loyalty. No fuck that. Excuse my French. We don’t want that. We want balance too. We are not just a body who is of service to others. We have just been groomed that way due to circumstances, but our spirits deserve wellness, it craves purpose and it needs rest. 

My goal this month is to stop being so strong. To sit back, let the cards fall how they do. Stop spending so much time trying protect others and neglect myself. Put everything into watching me flourish, unapologetically. Use my strength where it is intended but seek help when it is necessary.

Where my help is rejected, end it. I ain’t gotta be a superwoman. I can love and give. I can be of service without being overworked. And where I am not appreciated, I can keep it moving.

_Tahnee Cole

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