Dear diary...writing this for a friend...
I was born into a broken system. Subsequently, I’ve grown up in a world where much of my identity has already been defined for me.
I am a woman (and) I am black.
As such, my job is to find my purpose within the walls that have been built around me and then to stay ever so calmly and content within them.
I was born into a system where I live as a juxtaposition.
Where I am expected to be strong yet sensitive simultaneously. Where my tears are a representation of weakness and vulnerability and/or my hyper-emotional nature.
I am expected to have some deep intrinsic power running through my veins because of the colour of my skin.
Yet, I am expected to be unintelligent and lacking social grace because of the colour of my skin.
I am expected to have some deep intrinsic peaceful and nurturing spirit, because of my anatomy.
Yet, I am expected to be superficial and wildly unhinged because of my anatomy.
I am expected to either be Maya Angelou or Shanaynay but no one in between.
I am expected to exist within multiple spaces; work, home, school, extra-curricular, etc, and seamlessly code-switch between them so as not to appear divergent.
I live in a world where I experience much, but am not afforded the opportunity to speak freely about how those experiences affect me.
If I do speak outside of the rules defined for me and how I should present myself, I’m either too feminist, or I’m a bitter, black female.
There’s just no in between.
I’m supposed to allow people to treat me how they define me.
I know this because it wasn’t until I decided to step outside of these rules that I realized other perspectives of my identity are not yet fully welcomed or understood.
Disclaimer: this is NOT a complaint. This is fact, and is meant to encourage thought into how we view women; to encourage a dialogue that is long overdue.
Women are not static or passive creatures.
We are not pets meant to be trained, or to execute carefully instructed actions on cue.
We are not victims of our pre-determined circumstances although it may seem that way.
We women are fluid in our identities. We are free thinkers.
Finally, in this era, it is becoming more acceptable to discuss the truth about women’s identities although not yet entirely acceptable to accept these alternate views.
Things are changing; slowly, yet surely.
There’s a movement on the horizon. Make sure you’re on the right side of the conversation too, men and women alike.