I hope you have been keeping well and your month is off to a good start. I have incredibly missed this space and even for the few times I tried to forget this space, nearly all my friends incessantly reminded me that they were waiting on my new posts. It’s been a long and hard past two months since I disappeared from here and my Instagram but I am back. I’m so excited to start churning out more content for you and I hope you’ll welcome me back with open arms. To start, I’ll be sharing two lessons being a woman has taught me seeing as Women’s Black History Month just came to an end.
(This post was inspired by several conversations I’ve come across on Twitter and different articles across the internet.)
Be soft, stay soft. Growing up, this is one of the biggest things I have struggled with. I’ve found it and still continue to find it difficult to let myself just sit with my feelings without feeling like I should be stronger or I’m letting pain overstay. This is partly because I’m an over-thinker and an over-feeler too so I already have to be very intentional with ensuring that I don’t disappear in myself, in my head and in my feelings. Besides this, the image of women, especially black women, presented before me all my life both by the media and in reality, has been that of strength and resilience. Not to say this is a bad thing, but I believe that the image of an unwavering and greatly praised black woman for her hardships and ability to triumph without dependence has subconsciously led to my struggle with remaining soft.
Being and remaining soft for me has meant that despite all these factors that make this difficult, I am intentionally reminding myself to be gentler with myself. A few ways I am trying to do this is by not going over and above to present myself as okay, which is second nature to me, when I am not okay. This means taking time off social interaction when I need to without feeling guilty about it but also being honest with not only myself but the people around me that I am not okay even if I’m not willing or ready to speak about it. Learning that it’s okay to need other people, as slowly as this is happening, has also been a very integral part of this lesson that womanhood has taught me.
“Being tender and open is beautiful. As a woman, I feel continuously shhh’ed. Too sensitive. Too much. Too wishy washy. Blah Blah.
Don’t let someone steal your tenderness. Don’t allow the coldness and fear of others to tarnish your perfectly vulnerable beating heart.
Nothing is more powerful than aligning yourself to be truly affected by things.”
Being soft and staying soft is teaching me that dependence is not weakness, softness is not weakness. It’s okay to feel, to feel deeply at that, to need help, to ask for it, to take time off to not be okay. This has also helped me remember not to let painful experiences steal my soft, that as much as it is incredibly poetic to want to keep this soft, pain will try me but I should push through and let it teach me to remain soft.
There’s no one way of being a woman. This, with regards to beauty especially, is something I’ve had to learn really fast with the crazy inconsistent beauty standards set by society and the media. Learning that I decide what beauty means for me and to silence all the noise from the world dictating what this should be is a constant struggle. Being a woman, and human in general, makes us predisposed to comparison but learning self love, self worth and my value in God is reaffirming that I don’t need to be like anyone else but I can be inspired by them. I can want something someone has but not because they have it but for me because it makes me better.
This in terms of my personal ideals also means that what I think is ‘womanly’ or ‘ladylike’ is not a one size fits all for all women and that’s okay. Appreciating what this means for me and that I define it for myself also means appreciating that other women get to decide the same for themselves and I don’t have to agree with it.
As well put by Adrienne Rich:
“The most notable fact our culture imprints on women is the sense of our limits. The most important thing one woman can do for another is to illuminate and expand her sense of actual possibilities.”
If there are any lessons you’d like to share from your personal experiences or even from other women, please feel free to comment or even email.
“By the help of your God, return.” Hosea 12:6
Be Kind and Be Courageous,