Death To The Black Super Woman

Graphic by: Peter Palmer || Contact: peterpalmererii@hotmail.com
Graphic by: Peter Palmer || Contact: peterpalmererii@hotmail.com

Growing up, I’ve always witnessed Black women be strong. No matter how hard life gets, black women have been able to press forward, shed little to no tears and smile as if everything is ok.

The ability to exude strength in dire situations used to be a trait I admired, but now I think about the cost that comes with being strong all the time. I can’t help but wonder, is being strong about EVERYTHING helping or hurting us?

While you ponder on that, I’ll be the first to say it if no one else will: this Super Woman mentality that has been conditioned into Black women since birth is damaging as fuck. See… while we’re so busy being strong for everyone else, I can’t help but wonder who is strong for us?

I’ve watched countless of Black girls and women literally have to talk themselves out of sadness and depression, because to show any other sign of emotion is apparently a sign of weakness in everyone else’s eyes.

I wonder how many more times throughout the rest of my life do I have to see Black girls and women force themselves to smile and think positive when things are destroying them on the inside……

Mental health among black women is something that often gets ignored, and the journey to battling racism, sexism, and defining your own womanhood can be a burden that leaves many of us weary.

But for some strange reason, society advocates for us to suppress our emotions, otherwise we’re too angry, too loud, too opinionated, too EVERYTHING.

I’ve known this Black Superwoman for a very long time…. I’m sure you have too.

She has saved me from a lot, but at the same time, she has been the reason for a lot of pain and suffering as well… and I guess you can say our relationship is very toxic.

& Enough is enough…. I need to put this Black Super Woman to death.

Dear Black Super Woman,

I’m putting you to death because I’m tired of walking around like everything is ok.

Don’t I get room to be human too?

Dear Black Super Woman,

I am TIRED of saving everyone else.

Who is going to save me when my time comes?

Dear Black Super Woman,

I’m putting you to death because I am tired of my anger being used as something to oppress me. Why is my anger being used as a weakness? Why is my anger being used as something to dehumanize me? If I endured a lifetime of pain and anguish, don’t I deserve to be angry sometimes too?

Dear Black Super Woman,

I’m putting you to death because I really want to know why everyone, including US thinks that we are incapable of being depressed? Some days I feel really good, and other days I feel like getting out of my bed is one of the worst things I can do. I’m putting you to death because I want the mental health of black women to be something that is taken seriously, and no longer have taboo, or “white people problems” like other black and brown people like to proclaim. I’m putting you to death because I believe black women deserve access to adequate mental healthcare, and I don’t think I’ll ever get that if I’m forcing myself to be Super Woman all the time.

Dear Black Super Woman,

I’m putting you to death because so many people think that they can define my womanhood for me. No I won’t wear my hair like this or that, dress like this or that, speak like this or that, or fit into YOUR box of what you think my womanhood should be. If I have to change myself just so the world can respect me, then I don’t believe they respected me in the first place.

Dear Black Super Woman,

The most important reason why I am putting you to death is because I don’t think you understand that it is okay to be both strong and vulnerable. I don’t blame you for your tough exterior but I want you to understand that it is ok to be both resilient and emotional. Hear me loud and clear: EMOTIONS AREN’T A WEAKNESS. Since I get this, why are they still trying to force me to act like a robot sometimes?

To all my Black Super Women reading this, I want you to know a few things:

Remember that it’s ok to take off your cape.

Remember that it’s ok to be your emotional, complicated, multi-dimensional self.

Remember that even though you may feel like falling apart some days, you’re still worthy enough to press forward on other days…

Remember that it’s ok to talk to someone, whether it is yourself, a therapist, religious leader, etc.

Remember that silence is not okay.

Remember that if you find yourself unable to play Super Woman any longer, then that doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you… it means you’re human.

& on this day, May 5th, 2015…. Black Super Woman was laid to rest.

I encourage you all to share your thoughts with me in the comments, or connect with me on Instagram or Twitter to share @KiaSmithWrites

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