Monday, March 29, 2010

Strong Black Women(SBW) Blues

Why do we ignore pain? Whether it is physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Generally, usually, mainly pain is trying to get us to pay attention to something. Pain is both the initial wake up call and the final ‘nuclear’ option. Initially pain can be the short sharp shout telling you to pay attention to your lower right abdomen, something isn’t right. Get this checked out. The pain may even subside, after all it has called your attention to the ‘not-rightness’ of the situation. If you choose not to act then sooner, rather than later, the pain goes ‘nuclear’ it switches on and stays on. It is amazing how long pain can last!

SBW and Pain

We (for this post ‘we’=BW) are used to ignoring pain. We think we are strong women when we ‘work through’ the pain. We wear pain as a badge of honor!

We ignore the pain we feel in our chest for hours until we notice it radiating to the jaw and down the right arm. And then we still ignore the pain until we are about to pass out and yell for someone to call for an ambulance.

We ignore the pain we feel in our heart when some woman calls our house or his cell phone at 9:pm wanting to know where is our husband/fiancĂ©/boyfriend and wondering why you (the wife/fiancĂ©e/girlfriend) are answering his phone. And we don’t confront him.

We ignore the pain we feel in our mind when we know, when we just know a situation or place is not safe or trustworthy. And we stay there in the place or the situation.


SBW and Strength

We think as strong women we are supposed to accept a man who has a relationship with more than one woman. Strong women can share a man. Strong women don’t have to rely on a man.

We think as strong women we are supposed to fix, uplift, and upgrade broken, toxic, unsafe communities. Strong women go to church in dangerous neighborhoods where people shoot into church. Strong women stay and fight for the lives of these people.

We think as strong women we are supposed to help the men in our lives be men, so that, as men, they can lead the family. (The family we are currently leading.) As strong women we should make men feel like men; help men become better men; accept men as they are; stop demanding so much from men when they come home; and praise men for doing the things they are supposed to do. (I read this on a blog, don’t blame me for the contradictions.)

This is how strong women roll.

Seriously?!

This is how strong women roll?


Letting go of the SBW Stereotype

Where is the reciprocity?!

If a woman you helped in the past does not return the favor, what do you do? Do you help her again the next time? Oh I don’t think so!! I think you tell old girl you don’t have the time, money, resources, or whatever. Maybe you are nice about it. Maybe you are not nice, reminding her how she didn’t help you out when you asked for help. However it goes down, you most likely don’t dole out the assistance.

So why is it different with a man, or an organization, or a community?

Black women have got to let go of the stereotypical strong black woman crap. We hold on to this stereotype to our detriment. This stereotype is just as injurious to us as the ‘mammy’ or the ‘sapphire’ stereotype of the early/mid twentieth century.

The pain we are feeling is not a wake up call. The pain we are feeling is the ‘nuclear’ option. Either we address what ails us now, or we will continue to suffer. We will continue to throw good money after bad, give valuable time to losers, and waste precious resources on toxic communities.

And when I say fix what ails us, I do not mean to fix what ails the community, I mean fix what ails you. Individual. Black. Woman.

Because when you are clear-eyed and pain-free, you can determine your next best move.

Peace

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