Black Women's Empowerment

Carrie: “As a black woman, when am I allowed to give up? “

I am bitter. Desperate too. Jaded. Did I miss anything?

In today’s meme-generating society, few emotions are permitted, while others are outlawed. As if this re-codes the double helix that is woman, we trek through our days masking our true feelings in fear of being recognized as a dreaded stereotype, the black bitch. We have to hold it down, bring home the bacon, fry it, and become sex goddesses after 11-hour days, and cannot utter a single sigh nor complaint.

I was scrolling through my newsfeed, ducking and dodging the latest cheeto-dust toupee tweets when I came across a video of Senator Coleman Young of Detroit. His arms outstretched, flailing to and fro, he proceeds to beg the questions, “…As a Black man, when can I protest, when can I show frustration and anger? Don’t I have value… Don’t I have meaning? Don’t you look at me and see a man that bleeds?

Senator Young’s point was much larger, about the black spirit, and how easily our outlook can be diminished and prospects even extinguished in today’s inflamed, geopolitical climate. But I’d like to pose the same questions in a much more personal context. As WOC, there are certain things we’re deathly afraid of doing or being perceived as publically: ghetto, loud, weak, poor, bitter, or heaven forbid desperate.

As a black woman, when am I allowed to give up? When am I allowed to fall apart? When am I allowed to admit that I need help? Is strength the only thing that I’m known for and is that facade to my detriment? What does a black woman look, feel, and sound like when she’s the scribe?

Black to the title, I mean back. Bitterness is often thought of as, some burlap sack of ugly-eyed potatoes lugged by your strongest arm, preferably alongside the body of a woman and bitchy queen. But, is bitterness a negative emotion? Can desperation be a yearning for something above your sight?

I’ve certainly raised more questions than answers, and good, that was the plan. I am bitter about the men of my past, but not so bitter that I refuse to believe that I’m 100% the issue and that no man will ever court me, or ask about my last thoughts of the night.

Is it possible the things we strongly denounce, like bitterness and desperation, could inspire us to move up the greasy rungs to our latter days? I’m asking you to embrace so-called negative emotions and use them as tools to ascend.

We’re all bag ladies. You don’t carry the same burlap sack as I, but bitterness and desperation are essentially jack-in-the-boxes that we crank up and out in our relationships, if we don’t deal with them while we’re single.

While I am no psychotherapist, I do deal with the most egomaniacal people on earth (welcome to Hollywood, California). And if you open the doors to the Bugatti, Pagani, or Maserati, it’s the same cold pillow and empty-heartedness that we all feel, even in the arms of the wrong lover.

Expressing vulnerability not only sets you free, but it gains the trust of others.

Black women, it is okay to NOT be Major Pain, Sergeant Cutthroat, and Sweet-talking Sally. Take a break. You’re still magnificent on your last shred of energy and after all gracefulness has left you. Say what you feel. Eat that slice of pie. Hit the joint.

Men may call you “drama” for uncorking your emotions. Concealing your hand is may be necessary dependent upon your situation, but it’s a heavy barbell to bear. If we bleed the same as we must allow ourselves to be shattered, occasionally helpless. Release the weight.  Save what fight you have left. Allocate your energy wisely.

Carrie Thompson is a writer who live in Los Angeles.

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