I have been told many times that I have ‘Potential.’
You can imagine how frustrating it is then to feel that I’ve never quite achieved that so often noted potential. Life seems so have been one, never-ending merry-go-round ride of resistance, under achievement and frustration. Despite working consistently hard, diligently and at times as if I was the great god Hercules himself, I somehow find myself back scrabbling around in life and patently aware that…
- I am not living my best life,
- I’m not realising my potential,
- I’m not living and working ‘on purpose’ and definitely
- I’m not seeing that purpose translate itself into Abundance: material, financial, spiritual or emotional.
- I’m not serving in as great a way as I know I am able
So, what the hell is going on? From what I read in blogs and various news feeds it would appear I’m not alone in experiencing these feelings. BUT…
How do we break the cycle?
How do we show up and step into the version of ourselves we know we can be?
Because girl, I sure as hell ’aint got it down yet!
It’s in this space that I find myself. I’m sure some of you can relate?
As a black woman in a white world you’re not expected to have potential. In fact, your potential is more often than not a threat or a problem. At times, even others within your own cultural context see your ambition and striving as you getting ‘above yourself,’ your ambition appears too persistent, too lofty.
On the other hand, when you are consistently speaking your vision into being and yet somehow you’re still incapable of getting within touching distance of your vision, even you can be forgiven for dismissing that oft quoted ‘Potential’.
It’s excruciatingly painful not being able to fully feel your power, to inhale the fullest expression and your truth.
Much of the black woman’s experience is one of containment. Well, in my experience and those of my friends, this is what I observe. I’m talking mostly of those black women of my generation ( those of us who are somewhere between mid 40s and our late 50s) who were almost exclusively fertilised in the soil of a White Western Cultural Context. It’s been a socialisation that mostly denies who we are and what we’re capable of achieving.
- Denies the inherent Goddess nature of our spirit
- Denies the wisdom and power of our ancestry
- Denies our connectedness to Mother Earth.
- Denies that we are Original Woman, from whence All huemankind originated.
As such, those of us who have reached the lofty heights of a fulfilled life often do so against insurmountable odds and doesn’t society just love that narrative? It’s one of the limited roles we’re allowed to wholly inhabit.
The strong black woman rising against adversity, beating the odds is one of those tropes that make for great tearjerker movies and reinforces the stereotype that we do not need emotional support. Instead we inhabit a world where we are stoic and resolute, we have no need of sisterly support, we have no need of our men and their protection, we have no need for fair and equal consideration because we can get there anyway, despite the challenges, despite the trials… all on our own!
This and other nefarious tropes we are allowed. I’m talking about ones such as; the single black woman or the angry black woman. These are the limited templates we are allocated and they’re socially ingrained. As a result, society and its systems deliberately limit our opportunities and access on all fronts so that we have no option but to fit one or other of them.
If we don’t then we’re simply dismissed.
Quite frankly “Mi tyad a dem!”
They say to write well, you should write what you know and what I know is being black, female, a mother, a grandmother teacher and proud descendant of my ancestral lineage, yet at the same time displaced, not fitting and not even in possession of my original name.
I am a humanitarian and proudly descendent of the continent called Afrika; a seeker a peacemaker, a teacher and idealist. As such @Notes on a Lazy Sunday will lean in a slightly different direction.
At times it may be controversial and provocative, at others cuddly and warm either way you are at liberty to comment, discuss, argue or agree and at the very least share with someone who may be similarly illuminated or enraged by the content. Isn’t that the great thing about social media, anyone can comment?
Well, back to the limiting templates I mentioned earlier: Let’s examine them shall we?
Now there’s nothing wrong with being single you understand, but when I notice it seems disproportionate to other groups in society, It gets me a-thinking and a-musing.
The Black woman and her features are coveted, but only deemed acceptable or beautiful when attributed to women of other races. The full lips and hips, the almond eyes, the small waist and high, tight, full bosom, the copper, coffee, cinnamon, vanilla-choco-latte complexions (god forbid not the cocoa or ebony hues though…lawd Jesus NO!) are all deliciously coveted.
The wrinkleless, smooth skin, muscular definition lustily sougth after and acquired via artificial enhancements by many are rarely (if ever) deemed to be ‘acceptable’ if your skintone veers towards the cocoa/ebony/onyx end of the pantone chart.
And so, society slowly and consistently, with a drip, drip, drip programmes men, women, girls and boys into the notion that beauty is defined by a white/creamy/Latte colour chart. Result: Black men and boys disproportionately (at least in my experience of the UK) and increasingly marrying white/creamy/latte coloured women.
White men marry white/creamy and Latte coloured women. There is always the ODD exception who will step over into the territory inhabited by the duskier hued beauty and the men of other races and cultures invariably marry within their own cultural and religious groupings.
Another result of this programming is that some of our white/creamy/latte coloured girls and women subconsciously see themselves as superior. (I know…that old chestnut! – well, guess what it’s still happening) – It’s not overt, but subtle; in ways that they communicate, or assume they go first or that they should be the one’s approached if men are around.
And so, you have the creation, on masse of the ‘Single Black Woman:’
- The strong independent black woman – Single
- The single parent black woman – Single
- The ambitious, educated black woman (Corporate) – Single
- The adventurous entrepreneur black female – Single
Some of us lament the situation. Others of us are saddened by it. There are those of us who have given up and become sexually and emotionally anorexic. With no meaningful relationships in which to test or sharpen our emotional selves and not being taught by our mothers and grandmothers that it’s okay to feel, we deny our sisterhood, suffer in silence and alone. We ignore each other’s plight, choosing instead to perpetuate the dysfunctional cycle.
The Angry Black woman
What our men and society fail to realise is most of us have had so many hurtful experiences in both life and love that: we’re not angry…
We’re F*@%ing hurt!
Beyond imagining. And it’s not just our hurt we carry. But the epigenetic traumas passed through our DNA from the kidnap, rape and torture of slavery to the humiliation and denial of our being today.
We’re not allowed to be vulnerable, needy or sensitive. Instead we’re expected to be strong, disregard or refuse to admit we have needs, and are encouraged instead to be the eternal, stoic mother caring for the needs of everyone but ourselves. I mean we’re all so familiar with the powerful, strong ‘she who is to be obeyed,’ wise old matriarch aren’t we? After all Tyler Perry has made multimillions from his depictions of her.
From girlhood we are taught to be strong, to negate our feelings and just ‘get on with things.’ Invariably because there is no-one to lean on we have no alternative. If we do not comply, we are considered soft or weak and god forbid we decide to impose our own boundaries, then we are considered ‘bougie,’ ‘stuck up,’ or ‘cold’ and so the nefarious pattern continues its destructive cycle.
Where do we go from here?
I’m sure we have all noticed that the earth is seriously in trouble. We have entered the Age of Aquarius and most New Age philosophers are advocating for greater balance on the planet, namely embracing the feminine essence as a counter to the predominantly masculine energies we have been living with for a millenia, in the hope the earth may begin to rebalance and heal.
In my view, Society’s first consideration should be to remember to honour the primary feminine essence that is the ‘Black Mother’…
The Black woman as Ancestor/Daughter/Granddaughter/Sister… and bring her energies, her nurturing spirit and the wisdom she possesses back into the fabric of our lives.
If we are to fulfil our potential as ‘huemans,’ and have any hope of reversing the damage we’ve created or of saving the planet for future generations then the ‘Mother,’ the Black Woman, the original life giver & energyforce needs be restored to her rightful place as the SOURCE, the wise one from whence we all came.