It is no secret that there are two equal parts that make up who I am: my blackness and my womanhood. Often, these halves can feel like the double negative that everyone else is happy to have escaped. It has taken time to grow into who I am and feel comfortable enough to navigate through this world in harmonious duality. It feels good that little black girls today are growing up in a world where blackness is becoming more promoted and celebrated. I see more black female leads in movies and TV shows without the alterations, just authentic black female bosses.
Now, don’t think I always get the balance. Sometimes, I feel like I’m too on one side. If I’m too pro black I forget to stick up for my plight as a woman, if I get caught up playing my part in women’s equality I push aside the black man I hold dear to my heart. I know life is all about the daily challenges that need to be overcome, but 24 years is a long time to endure the same struggle, inflicted from society and myself. Imagine spending that long being unhappy and confused about all things you. The lack of representation never registered to me, and I certainly didn’t realize I was internalizing hatred and believing that everything would be better if only I could change into something else. If I could fix this or that everything would fall into place, but I was really just waiting on external praises, affirmation, and appreciation of my worth. Every decision I made came from an empty place or places filled with misrepresentations both inside and outside my home.
Now that Black history month has passed, this is the first time I reflect on the sense of pride it brings me abroad. I have always centralized my focus on blacks in American forgetting the rest of Africa and her diaspora. Taking the time to understand the black experience all around the world is something I wish I could give to every child. We are one people, yes there are differences in culture that separate us: language, food, values. One thing remains, we live in places where our race is not readily explored or the issues candidly expressed. I have to hold onto that feeling I get during Black history month and remain educated rather than normalize and become desensitized to the degradation, shame, and overall racism.
I also indulged in international women’s day via social media, reading the stories and seeing the support and empowerment coming from all outlets, I couldn’t help but be inspired. I often forget to seek inspiration to build strength within myself on a daily basis. I remember the shame of being a woman started around middle school, the time when most girls get their first period and have to change in the girl’s locker room for the first time…ah the nostalgia. Although we were all girls I was still ashamed to be on my period, I was consciously and subconsciously comparing myself and searching for the inadequacies. The only standard I had was what someone else was doing and receiving. I was so young and trying to shave every crevice of my body with a spec of hair because you know anything natural on a woman is disgusting dare I say even unhygienic. It was disgusting and shameful to have desires and experiences. To be a woman was to be perfect, always an unachievable standard.
As you age and go through the trials of life, you realize who I am is who I create myself to be. You never needed anyone or anything to confirm that. I write my blogs sometimes feeling good about my content sometimes feeling like just another face in the crowd. I can check the stats for my blog and equate the numbers to my worth; I can get frustrated with not having the money or materials to create the content I’ve been sitting on for what seems like years. But the question still remains, if I could do everything I wanted right at this moment would I be happy? Would I be fulfilled or would I still be in search of that one more thing to “have it all”? I do not want to define my success for something outside of myself but rather because of who I am. I need to find the glue to hold together the many facets of me.
All things external will not fill the emptiness or replace the self-love and acceptance I needed from myself. I need to be happy and fully satisfied with my thoughts, path, and experiences. No matter what life is feeling like or looking like, no matter what I am feeling like or looking like, I had to know that all I needed resided within me. When everything else fades and changes with time: who, where, and what will I have become?