I looked up the definitions of the words strength and vulnerable when I found myself battling internally with strength and vulnerability. The definitions below are accurate, yet certain words stand out and poke at my heartstrings. Words like strong, beneficial, quality, talent, temptation, helpless, powerless, and weak. All words agree to some extend with the primary definitions of strength and vulnerable, yet are averse to the mental, physical, and spiritual truth in regards to the power of the Black woman, for we are strong and vulnerable at the same damn time.
Strength– noun| 1. The quality or state of being strong. 2 a good or beneficial quality or attribute or a person or thing. Synonyms: advantage, asset, forte, aptitude, talent, skill
Vulnerable– Adjective| 1. susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm. 2 open to moral attack, criticism, temptation. Synonyms: helpless, defenseless, powerless, impotent, weak, susceptible
So a few weeks ago I had the privilege of interviewing for a documentary of which the topic was the four dimension of Black Woman hood. Ironically one of the questions posed was in regards to how my strength affects my intimate relationships. The irony exists in the fact that the post for this week was scheduled to discuss the same hot topic. How does the strength of a Black woman hold up in a relationship?
Well, for starters, we are strong by way of nature and nurture. We came out strong. We were bred to be strong. Black woman, and I speak from experience, were taught to be strong coming out of the womb. My father taught me the art of hustling, so I could learn to provide for myself. My mother taught me the art of self- sustaining. Historically speaking, we had to be “strong” while are physically strong counterparts, or source of protection was also being subjected to dehumanization. So there you have it, we have been bred to be strong and to fend for ourselves by any means necessary. I was also taught not to cry. I was taught to be strong, even if it meant ignoring my emotions. In my adulthood, I find that there is more to me than a strong spirit. I am also a soft, nurturing heart.
Society has a way of boxing Black women into categories. We are either sapphire'”Domineering and aggressive/ Devoid of compassionate understanding/ Crazy”(from Three Black Faces), Jezebel; “goldiggin welfare queen”, or mammy. Based on our stereotypes there is no middle ground. There is no room for vulnerability. Yet, the ideas and traits that make up who I am, or who Black women are or what benefit we add to the world can not be placed into one category or stereotype. The defiance of boxes it what makes our power magical. With that said, we can be fireballs, nurturers, gangstas, philosophers, healers, teachers, and Beyonces that cry.
Break it down, B:
I have spent many moments in my life rejecting my emotions. I have tried to often be strong for myself, my family, my friends, but sometimes–often times– I want to cry. I want to be comforted. I want to feel comfortable having a shoulder to cry on.
Yet, I have found many conflicts between strength and vulnerability within my relationships.The first issue with vulnerability in a relationship–I speak from my past experiences– is that I have never felt comfortable enough to let my guard down, but boy I would love to submit fully to a worthy fellow. Unfortunately, the emotional safety was absence. (I have my theories–until the next post shhh) Nor, have I ever been in or seen a situation of which a woman was able to live without working voraciously without a guard. Quite frankly, if I, or the women I have observed did not, everyone would have starved. Nonetheless, SOMEHOW the men in my past fled. I was even told once “I feel like I’m dating a man,” but my bad playa..I was just trying to eat. An ex in a recent conversation revealed to me he did not like the fact I was ahead of him, but again my bad pimp..I was just trying to build. It seemed as if the men in my past were intimidated by my strength and the success it manifested; however (comma) those are not my problems. *Sips tea*
On another note, believe it or not, the strongest women, are those who embrace their vulnerability. The strength lies in the fact that when the tears dry, when the tissues have been soaked, when the mean and hurtful things have been belted out, when vulnerability has had its season, strength reigns like the sun after Hurricane Matthew. I’ve recently learned that it is okay to be vulnerable. It is okay to have weak moments. It is okay to feel embarrassed. It is okay to feel pain, as long as when the emotions have done their job, you-we, keep pushing toward our destinies while understanding God is walking right there with us (Psalm 23:4)
I have been going through y’all. These past few weeks have been very strange. I visited my tarot card reader recently, and he has confirmed that I am about to endure yet..ANOTHER…transformation. Nonetheless, the work required to become my greatest version has not been easy. I cry a lot. I have yelled at God–a lot. I have felt confused, often. On the contrary, in those moments of disarray, memories of faith in God comes in to support me in my moments of vulnerability. Patiences comes in to alert me of the fact that pain is temporary, and my season of prosperity is on the way, tears and all.
Remember: High tides and low emotions are apart of the process. God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers because there is something greater in store for us and we need to be prepared. Lastly, Fuck boys ain’t ready, so wait patiently for a King.
Say: I am love: vulnerable or strong, in or out of my evolution.
“Embrace the change, no matter what it is; once you do, you can learn about the new world you’re in and take advantage of it.” – Nikki Giovanni
Salute: What does not kill you, makes you stronger, so get BIG!
be light. Work your talents. Together we can spark a light pandemic.