I’m a black woman. I’ve always known I was black. From the moment I understood what race was. However, I never let it define me. I’ve just been a girl who became a woman. I never felt the need to put my blackness in the forefront. Never really saw how it affected me until recently.
When we talk about race, we automatically assume it’s about racism. Although I recognize that racism is all around us, this is not that kind of post. This is about me. A black woman. A black woman who doesn’t feel protected and I’m not sure if I ever have (with exception of my dad). And I’m wondering whose fault is that?
Protection does not just mean physically. It means emotionally as well. I have not felt emotionally safe in my relationships. I have not felt safe to rest. I have had to be strong constantly. I have had to be a work horse; always with 2 jobs or more. I have had to worry about everyone around me, take care of everyone around me, and neglect myself. I mention my blackness because this seems to be a theme for other black women I surround myself with and encounter.
And we are tired.
Who protects us when we have breakdowns? When we’re depressed? When we are exhausted? When we absorb all the anger and pain of our loved ones? When do we get to be soft and rest in our femininity?
Who takes care of us?
Is it our fault that we exude too much strength? Does it come from our distant past of being slaves? Working in the fields, in the house, taking abuse, being raped, breastfeeding all the babies, cooking all the food? Being ripped away from our husbands and children? Has that ability to take on pain just been passed down from generation to generation and we accept it as gospel?
Some could blame our men who have not learned to art of protecting, providing, and leading us. Most of them (including us) have been apart of broken homes and we have not been shown or taught what that type of household looks like.
I could come up with many excuses and reasons to why black women don’t feel safe. Many reasons why I don’t feel safe now. But the real issue is, how do we change it? Based on Malcolm X’s famous quote, this feeling, this issue is not new. But it’s something that needs to be addressed.
Protect the black woman.