“Her favorite thing to say, don’t worry I got it.” Neyo, Miss Independent
(That’s likely not her favorite thing to say. Try again. )
“You never ask for anything.”
Translation: You got it, you don’t need anything!
(Wrong again, everyone needs something at some time.)
She’s Self-Sufficient, Reliable, Responsible, a Perfectionist, Uber-Successful, Fearless. Did I mention self sufficient!
She’s the quintessential “Strong Black Woman”
(Call it what you want but it’s exhausting AF,cuz…)
The Strong Black Woman is every Black woman, some Black women, and no Black woman. She’s a mythical figure just like her superhero status. She’s a combination of the mule, the woman who has to work twice as hard to get 1/2 the success because she’s Black and female, the caped crusader, and a dope ass chica. She’s a role model modeled after roles past. She’s supposed to be the the antithesis of the Welfare Queen, the skeezer, or your trifling ass cousin who always needs to borrow money, but has the best Peruvian Wave bundles with the flawless closure. The a Strong Black Woman is rabbit in the hat magic, not Black girl magic! Hocus pocus.
Reality is better than fiction. She is strong and weak. She is independent and reliant, responsible and irresponsible, perfection at moments and mediocre at others, fearless and fearful. She is not one thing. She is all the things. Her humanity makes her better than any leotard clad superhero.
And contrary to popular belief, sometimes she does…Need something.
“I get by with a little help from my friends“-The Beatles
Sometimes we need something, someone. Sometimes we need someone other than our mother to ask us how we are doing. Chances are we are checking up on and checking for, many more people who just assume that we’re good because we are presumed superheroes without capes. The fact is that, we aren’t invisible, we can’t walk through walls, don’t fly, and can’t freeze people. We don’t have special powers that give us any more time in a day to accomplish something worthwhile.
Sometimes we need someone to recognize that being the person that gives and is available to, and is often called upon by, other people all the time, and never asks for it to be reciprocated struggles sometimes. We struggle with exhaustion and with loneliness. Very rarely do people reach out to us, check on us, ask us what we might need. And by nature we just aren’t the type to ask, but instead start processing how to get what we need before the need arises. But it’s just simply decent to check on folks who check on you.
It takes a lot of time and energy and internal focus to be this responsible. Yet it is expected of us like its simple. We are expected to do well, when mediocrity is accepted from others. We are expected to put in more effort, work ourselves until exhaustion, and risk our lives and health. And sadly, we get used to it. We are used to validating, not receiving validation, so we don’t broadcast our successes. Be clear, validation isn’t the goal. Most of our validation, 95%, comes from the actual accomplishment of the goal. But instead of calling us strong, call us successful, smart, accomplished. High five us for that awesome job. Stop feuling narcissists, another topic for another day, and show up for the folks who show up for you!
Don’t check on me because I’m your strong friend… just do it because you care. Let me know you see me. No fanfare needed, just a lil …
“I’m good all by myself… but ” Neyo
Yes, mostly I’m good. Mostly I’m good and I’m a movement. I get shit done. I get shit done in grand style. I set and break the curve. All that. But every once and awhile I need some help… and believe me as much as you think I don’t, I wish I didn’t. Eventually you start to believe you really are Wonder Woman, Super Girl, Miss Indie Pendant. But alas, superheroes are fictional.
So we have to learn to accept help. We have to be open to it, unashamed about needing help, and willing to embrace it fully and completely as a gift to my forward progress. Needing support doesn’t make us weak or incapable. Accepting help doesn’t make us needy or dependent. Realizing that despite our search for perfection, we will always fall short, and we are sent help mates the same way we are sent as help mates is imperative to our success. Alot of chess pieces surround the Queen so she in turn can do her job. She doesn’t act alone! She truly gets by with a little help from her friends…
As great as you are solo, imagine how much greater you could be with the right people in your corner…” I’m a force when we’re together!”
May the force be with you! Glow baby…