Mirror Mirror on the wall who’s the fairest of them all?
With so much going on in the world, I had to pause a moment and ask myself this today.
Today, I wondered, maybe for the first time, what does it mean to be a black woman. How does the color of my skin and my gender affect who I am?
Do not be confused. I love my blackness, but I have never taken the time to think about the ways that my black womaness effects my mental health.
I know. Strange.
I think over the last ten plus years of my life, I have looked at the issues that I have dealt with from a human perspective, as an individual and I have been able to understand and heal to some degree from this perspective. But as I am getting older, reading and watching more on race and being a woman, a different picture is starting to form.
As a black woman, I have been placed at the bottom of the food chain. My gender is of lesser value than its male counterpart and my race is of lesser value than of its white counterpart. As a result, the black women has been abused, raped, silenced, demoralized, and devalued. According to the history I was taught, I am worth nothing. I come from nothing. You can see how my or another woman’s mental health would be effected by taken on this belief system.
It’s a hard pill to swallow for any person.
Living in an urban community is beautiful because there is blackness everywhere and black is beautiful, but it can be damning growing up in the city because of the lack. The lack of money and resources creates an environment that subconsciously or consciously for some, solidifies the idea that you are less than. You personify the worst parts of the community as who you are and who you will ever be. Drug dealers, bums, prostitutes, and trash on the streets. Projects on every corner. This is what you see. This is what you come to believe in.
When you educate yourself, then you begin to understand that an environment was created to kill you or kill your spirit or both.
And it has killed many, many, many spirits; both spiritual and physical .
But is has not killed many black women. I am still able to stand. I know a many of black women who are still able to stand. I also know that the ones who are no longer able to stand, put up a hell of a fight before they died.
So, what do you do when the odds are stacked against you?
First I recognize.
I am a woman, much stronger, mentally and emotionally than I believe.
Second, I am black. My spirit may be tired, beaten, abused, down, away, but its never broken; not even in my unique circumstances.
So, I finally asked myself how does being a black woman effect me?
I believe that the circumstances in which I grew up were not fair. Not because my parents lacked anything, but because of the history of the black person; the trauma, the strife, the marginalization. Being a black woman, we have suffered from years of oppression from being both black and a woman. Oppression is like a deep dark hole that is so impossible to get out of that it’s a miracle so many of us make it to the other side without becoming the hole; deep and full of darkness.
From this introspection, I realize that these are tips of my roots; the trauma, the pain, the suffering, but I am so much more, rooted in my blackness and in my womanhood. Being a black woman is truly magical because quite honestly we are, in fact, not at the bottom of the food chain. The origin of civilization is black and the beginning of civilization is woman, so if not for me…
No. Really. Let’s stop playing with people’s lives.
I realize that I have not been taught the truth about who I am, but I also realize that because of who I am, I am who I am. Magical. Systems were put in place to set me up for failure, but like Maya, I rise.
I rise above the tall tales.
I rise above the systems.
I rise above the colorism.
I rise above to my truths.
Truth is I am strong.
Truth is I cannot be broken.
Truth is I can be healed.
No more lies black woman.
Mirror, Mirror on the wall who’s the fairest of them all?
*statistics show that black women are the least likely between white men, white women, and black men to commit suicide*
**I encourage you to speak with a specialist, if you are in need of professional mental health advice **