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The World on Our Shoulders

Black women often carry a heavy load.  We wear so many hats that include mother, lover, friend, professional and more.  Our words and actions are constantly under observation for others to decipher.  Any small mishap or true feelings that humans endure are then deemed as frightening or troubling to others.  Our country was built around our struggle, hardwork and nurturing hands; yet we are always undervalued.  

Social media and reality television can sometimes play into this stereotype as well.  However, at times it can also portray the realness in the eyes of some Black women.  We are often the ones who run our families.  We often also run our own businesses.  We often lack time for self-care and reflection.  So when all of these obstacles pile up, one may explode in various ways.  For some that may result in using our words in a different light.  For some that may result in removing yourself from certain situations.  For others it may also involve physical aggression.

Although physical altercations may be frowned upon by some; many were taught to defend themselves by any means necessary.  For centuries, this country has taunted us and treated us as less than so wouldn’t physical aggression seem likely?  No you cannot solve every or any problem physically but that fight or flight nuance is real.  You can’t continue to poke the bear, in a sense, without any reaction taking place.

In the latest episodes of the Real Housewives of Potomac we saw this scenario firsthand.  Thankfully no one was seriously harmed.  However it shed light on how people often taunt others and are not prepared for any sort of retaliation.  Despite the altercation it was notable for Monique Samuels to request a meeting to discuss what happened and how she prepares to own her behavior.  That’s adulting!  That’s accountability.  We’ve seen several non-black women in similar situations who get praise for fighting, more ratings, more praise and so on without even acknowledging their role in a situation.

Is it a double standard?  Of course but it’s the unfortunate reality of Black women everywhere.  Even if attacked, your fighting in self-defense, can be deemed horribly.  So what can we do to change this narrative?

  • Avoid toxic people and situations. Things can happen at any time.  But if you have a recurring “beef” with someone then avoid attending that gathering.  That’s taking the high road and avoiding potentially drastic situations.  You may have to hit that “unfriend” or “unfollow” button on social media or block them from your phone but so be it, if it will ruin your peace.

  • Heal your mind. No one knows what troubles you may face internally, emotionally or etc.  So seek that counseling help to address any past trauma, current stressors and more.  Therapy is a sense of self-care for your wholeness and well-being.

  • Have open communication with those in your life. If a situation is troubling you or them; discuss it out in the open.  Don’t let feelings of anger build up and fester into your livelihoods that can result in further miscommunication or physical aggression.

Although no situation is perfect, these are some initial steps towards maturity.  These are steps towards changing your narrative and leading a life of greatness without constant strife.  When in doubt, reflect and be accountable for yourself despite how others may portray you.  Move in grace. 

Writer, C. Scott, is a mother of one; author, social worker, early literacy interventionist and entrepreneur. Follow her on Instagram as @curls_coils and @mysweettealife. 

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