“I tell you what freedom is to me…. NO FEAR!” – Nina Simone
A black girl or woman that uses her voice to empower herself, is the most resisted against on this planet. Many will call us sassy. Many will call us angry. Many will call us an attitude having, mouthy, loud, or obnoxious bitch. Yet, if you don’t have your voice, what else do you really have? Many will try to imitate us, and make a mockery of our pain. What else do you have if you can’t speak for yourself? Who will speak for you? Who will tell your story? Who will understand your experiences? If it can’t be myself, who will it be?
Many resist against a black woman standing in her truth. They will bash you, before they understand you. They will label you, before you define yourself. They will make you a caricature for their entertainment. I look at many videos from black men and women that constantly perpetuate negative stereotypes of who they perceive us to be. Its not very often I see a depiction of our loving and caring nature. Our struggles is merely entertainment, and we further desensitize the actual work in progress that we are. There is hardly any room for patience or understanding. Yet the number one topic I see all over social media is about black women and who we are portrayed to be. While simultaneously trying to keep us silent so we can speak for ourselves.
“If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.” – Zora Neale Hurston.
One thing I had to learn, was let go of my fear of death. There are too many issues that I see black women have to actively resist against. We have to be perfect wives and “ride or die” to imperfect or struggling husbands. We have to be silent on many forms of abuse such as molestation, rape, or domestic violence to uphold the black male image. Or to keep the family thriving while we remain silent on our pain. We have to risk being out-casted if we don’t surrender to a plan that does not benefit us or satisfy us. We have to be independent in our finances, healing, and raising children. Yet also expected to be desperate and needy for a male presence in our homes and lives. There are too many expectations placed on the shoulders of black women. I did a video where I said that to be a black woman and exist without constant resistance, is to be deaf, dumb, blind, and mute. Can I as a black woman refuse this without being hated or labelled as hateful? Can I as a black women break free of these shackles without being called rebellious? To me its my own personal freedom. If I had to choose, I would choose to be free. I would break down my own barriers if I have to, if it meant just breathing. Just to get an exhale every now and then, when I feel choked up on the words I was forced to swallow.
If I couldn’t speak, I learned that one of the main ways I could tell my own story was to write. It was to draw it out. It isn’t to garner sympathy, but so I could speak for myself to gain a mutual understanding. Many don’t care to understand black women, but will surely speak for us as if they do. Many will not try to deeply explore the nuances that creates the beauty of being a black woman. Can’t stand to see a black woman who stands firm in her own truth. Can’t stand to see a black woman who explores the depth of her own mind and soul. And pours it out no matter who it upsets or who gets uncomfortable. They will surely capitalize off of it, without giving you proper credit. It’s much more worth it, being comfortable in my own skin. I choose to be that woman. I spent so much of my life being the opposite, knowing on the inside it was a slow and painful death. And not many will even care, so it become apart of my own self care. I made it my responsibility to set my own self free. With every word. With every thought. With every moment where I stand my ground and look the resistant straight in the eyes.
Feature Photo Credit: Sheeba Maya
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