“Good Morning… Good Morning, love…” John Legend bellows the start of the morning. I chose this song in particular for its softness compared to harsh sounds associated with most alarm bells programmed in the latest iPhone edition. But there is nothing sweet about it or the rise of depression in Black women. Especially when your mornings aren’t good and you have no love for it.
Growing up, as most Black women would agree, you were told to be tough. Coming from a single-parent household, it was normal to see my Mother fatigued and frustrated: long hours with not enough pay while taking care of a child alone. Sure, there were times when she would admit to being tired, annoyed, and absolutely done with the world but she was never fragile. Fragile is not being a Black woman.
They say boys are never allowed to make a fuss or shed a tear but Black women were raised with the same amount of fear at being vulnerable as our brothers but in a different way. Where as boys are expected to be monetary providers with a heart of steel, Black women were raised to be a formidable combination of tough as nails and household caretaker where, if need be, provide the finances, boast an immaculate home, and keep the children in check when masculine power was unavailable. “Why are you crying?” was not just reserved to little boys when they received cuts and bruises but also to us Black girls when ever a moment of weakness overtook us.
So naturally, emotion is not something I am accustom to. Are should I say unnaturally? The pursuit of scholarly achievements, the good job title with the right bank account, and the ability to show of those “successful” qualities in mundane social battles of rank, emotion kinda of got lost in the list of priorities.
As a Black woman, you are thought to be bad, bold, and in charge of your life 100% of the time never stopping to recognize the wear and tear of your foundation but simply place duck tape on your troubles behind that plastic smile and ice framed eyes of “I’m fine.”
For me, those panic situations were buried under the belief that good grades would make up for the lack of feeling I was denied which later transited into an obsession of burns and cuts on my left forearm as the only means of release to becoming a young adult bent on showing off material success of an apartment, car, and wardrobe just to said “Look, I’m doing okay!”
But is it okay to not want to get up in the morning? Is it okay to cringe at every phone call and email you receive? Is it okay to have sleepless nights worrying if you will make it through another day? Is it okay to constantly wear a facade of well being when the wellness of your life is not built on what is inside but on how the world perceives or dictates you to be?
Seemingly now the dreams that I had as a little Black girl, successful and independent with a briefcase and cherry red Blackberry Curve, appear to be so outdated and tragically disappointing that I do not know what to look for in terms of real fulfillment. I am starting to question that as a parent, should we be teaching our Black girls that emotional stability should be as highly regarded as financial security. That dealing with the trouble in your mind is as important as obtaining that job. That being tough does not cancel out the heart. That being fragile is being a Black woman too.
I am not afraid to say I have been struggling. That the alarm in the morning is scarier than most horror films. That I can’t stomach the feeling of doing something in the fear that I am not good enough for the job because of my anxiety and inferiority tendencies.
But I also understand it does not make me less of a Black woman. Less of a professional. Or less of a person. That with work and time, that person can shine based on the notion that she really is okay without needing to compensate for the ideal image that society has placed on her.
Yes, I am a Black woman. Yes, I have depression. But no, they are not mutually exclusive.
As always, make you sure you like, comment, and follow this blog as well as connect with me on my other channels. Links can be found on my main page. Until next time, keep feeding your weird.