For Black Girls That Have Considered Suicide When Respect Would Have Been Enough
I did not watch the US Open a few weeks ago because well, I don’t watch TV. But when I heard of how the amazing Serena Williams was treated, I immediately and deeply felt her pain. I knew the pain of having your character questioned, in particular, when you were doing something that the person questioning your character could never do. I know that frustration that comes from being punished for expressing your anger, especially when it was warranted and righteous anger. I know what it means to have a public reaction when you wish it were a private moment, and then having to proceed as if none of it happened.
See, I’ve been a Black Girl in a white world. I’ve had my clothing choices and body policed by white men and women in power. I’ve had my passion mistaken for aggression, and my rightful defense of myself and my people seen as a problem. I’ve had my beauty and my magic challenged which has led to me doubting it at times myself. I’ve had people in power try to create standards solely to exclude me, and to be disheartened and simply move the bar when I’ve met or exceeded their expectations. I’ve had bright ideas that have been overlooked. I have the voice that advocated for those that looked like me in an environment that only valued us for quotas, but not our voice for actual diversity. I’ve been villainized and treated in a ways that had me dimming my bright light, as if God made a mistake when HE gave me shine.
I have considered suicide in a proverbial and literal way. It’s hard not to consider it on some level when your very humanity is questioned and chipped away at every turn.
For every reprimand for simply being yourself,
For every time your voice is pushed down for speaking truth to power,
For every secret meeting that was held about how to handle you, as if you are an animal that needs to be contained,
For every “encouragement” to dial it back because others are more uncomfortable with the truth that you SPEAK than they are with the circumstances that require you to SPEAK it,
For every time you were called angry, as if you didn’t have a reason and a right to be so,
For every time they tried to dim your shine because Black Girls aren’t meant to shine like that,
For every micro-aggression that chipped away at the core of who you were as if who you were was somehow too much or not enough,
For every time you have considered ending a relationship, quitting a job, quieting your soul, or building a wall to protect your heart from the onslaught of unwarranted negativity,
For all of the times that you’ve cried quietly and yelled internally,
For every single time that you’ve considered committing a proverbial or literal act of suicide,
Know that you are seen, you are heard, you are loved, you were perfectly created, and you are no less magical simply because others would rather convince you that you’re not than to rise to your level.
I love you my sisters. Keep fighting the good fight and take your magic to a place where it will be amplified and appreciated, even if it is a place that you have to create for yourself!
Never forget that you are worthy of this and so much more!