Issues

Girl, Get out of Your Feelings! A Look into What It Means to Be a Strong Black Woman

By: Breanna Jackson

When life gets you down as a black woman, you have an unspoken duty to be strong. Perseverance then becomes second nature and you automatically know not to break, especially in the company of others. My closest perspective of this stems from the women in my family; If they were hurting you would never know it. I had an aunt diagnosed with breast cancer and I didn’t even know how sick she was until she was gone.

I found myself looking at all of the women in my life and wondering how the hell they kept it together. My life’s ups and downs seemed to wear on my face like the MAC pro makeup I glazed on each day. I started to question my strengths as a black woman and whether or not I was cut from the same cloth as my counterparts.

Now, don’t mistake me for the black girl with a woe-is-me mentality. I’m simply a scientist and I question everything, therefore no stone is left unturned. I wanted to understand why black women; a group of women so diverse have been burdened to share in the same ideologies and reactions to the challenges we face.

It’s almost unfair that we get to watch white women cry, be goofy, hell even indulge in a little self pity with little to no one looking down on them for their humanity. In some cases they are even applauded for their bravery in the midst of adversity. From my experience, black women aren’t afforded that same luxury and I am here to shed light on an ongoing situation.

Girl, get out of your feelings!

In moments of disaster and uncertainty I’ve always been put back on track by a good “get out of your feelings” nudge. The quick-fix that places shame on the person whose emotions it’s being directed towards. Works almost everytime, until it doesn’t. Well, I say girl get in those feelings and express them.

Analyze exactly what you are feeling and ask why. Get to the root of what it is that you are experiencing and then address it. It is my theory that a lot of us have underlying issues that we do not address due to the pressures put on us to be emotionless zombies that take a devastating blow, get up and keep moving like nothing ever happened. That only drives us closer to becoming damaged or damn near crazy.

Since when has stashing away emotions and acting like things don’t bother you ever helped a person overcome anything. It doesn’t! It actually has the opposite effect. Strong women, are strong enough to know when to release. And If you are incapable of self expression then how strong could you possibly be.

A black woman without restraint is unstoppable. If there were more room for us to be exactly who we are and respond in our own unique ways I wonder how much power we could attain. Once again, I would like to interject and state that these are simply my opinions but if you are still reading then possibly a part of you agrees.

People’s expectations of black women when it comes to our self expression are built like a prison, meant to keep us in check and aware of how we make others feel. Never let them box you into thinking that you have to bend your mood to fit what makes them comfortable. Pain is relative and no one can measure what you feel.

We are a rare group of women who encourage each other to say “forget it” and then genuinely be convicted in thought and action to move on. True warriors, fighting a seemingly never ending battle to be stronger than whoever to get through whatever life may bring. I admire our ability to overcome, but who knew that we could lift those expectations. Lately we have denied ourselves allowance to be human. We are black women, but we are human first, we are ever complex and we do have the right to be heard.

I believe, it is possible to be a black woman and go through life open and allowed to have feelings, good, bad, happy, or indifferent. Understanding that life will happen and when it does we can grow through it without the stigma of shame. It is all allowed and as long as we support one another in our journey for freedom then our song doesn’t have to be solemn and angry. It can be joyful and full of celebration because we are free in the mind and have peace within.

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1 year 22 days ago

Excellent column/article. Timely advice. Thank you!!

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