I’ll never forget the conversation I had with one of my older cousins where I referenced that I felt alone and her response was, “ you ain’t alone, you just ain’t got nothing to do”. Now, this response may have gone over my head in that moment or anyone else’s head who may have been expecting her to say something different. Also, it may have gone over my head because of how she referred to my loneliness as a result of me not having something to do rather than not having someone around.
Even if that wasn’t the response I wanted to hear, it was the response I needed to hear and that is why, out of everything she may have said to me on that phone call, this statement seemed to stick with me the most, especially in those moments where I felt myself feeling “lonely”. It’s like every time I felt myself going into “lonely” mode, this statement would suddenly pop in my head and I would realize that I needed to find something to do and quick. I mean quick like when your mother told you to go find you something to do before you get hurt and you got out of her way as fast as possible quick.
Being able to reflect on this statement, made me realize that my feelings of loneliness didn’t stem from not having someone in my presence because I could be in a room filled with people and still feel this sense of loneliness. I could even be laying next to my significant other and still feel lonely as hell. It’s because my loneliness stemmed from a lack of fulfillment and not living in my purpose. Simply put, I was not doing what it is I should be doing to fulfill that sense of loneliness, and the conversation I had with my cousin helped me put this in perspective. Therefore, I’m sharing this story with you to help shed light on those feelings of loneliness you may be experiencing at this moment.
I encourage you to find your peace, your joy, and your fulfillment to eliminate those feelings of loneliness and the best way to do that is by finding you something to do and quick. Also, realize that sometimes solitude and being alone is necessary to focus on what it is you need to be doing for yourself, and loneliness isn’t cured by having someone around. You can have company and still feel misery, but be alone and have immeasurable peace. So take the time to reflect on what you need to move along your journey peacefully and purposefully.
How do you not live a bitter life when you have experienced your own share of loss and hurt?
Last weekend, I attended the home-going service of a very special woman to me, Valerie who touched the hearts of every person she had ever met because of her beautiful spirit. You wouldn’t know from the way she carried herself that she too experienced her share of loss, hurt, and pain at an early age. However, after reading her obituary, I learned that she too lost her parents at a very early age, just like I did, but the way she lived her life, you wouldn’t know that was her story.
She lost her mom immediately after she was born and as a result, she ended up having to live with other family members, just like I did, but again, the way she lived her life, you wouldn’t know the negative effects she may have experienced from losing both parents because of how positive, encouraging and hopeful she was. I rarely saw her get mad, she was always so mild-mannered and filled with joy even though she grew up in this world without the two most important people in her life too. This never seemed to interfere with her ability to connect with people and build meaningful relationships. Even though she didn’t get the chance to develop an attachment and bond with her parents during her infant and childhood years, it didn’t appear that she had an issue with building healthy and long-lasting relationships, as I did. Usually, they say that children who fail to develop a bond with their parents or caregivers end up having issues with connecting with others and developing healthy relationships.
As I continued to read her story, reflect on the person she was and how everybody who knew her, knew she lit up a room with her radiant spirit. I asked myself, how did she not appear to live a bitter life? Although, I didn’t know what other challenges she may have faced along her life journey. Nor did I know what living without her parents meant to her. I knew for me, losing my parents affected me in more ways than one and it kinda made me develop a bitter spirit at times because there was this void in my life that I couldn’t seem to shake. I asked myself again, how did this woman not live a bitter life? How was it that, I never picked up on a sense of resentment or pity in her demeanor even though she never got to experience what it’s like to be with her parents?
Seeing the way she lived her life and the way she made others feel and the way others felt about her, inspired me to want to live life like her, bitter-free, loved, and loving to myself and others. To be honest, I felt like losing my parents and experiencing a multitude of hurt and pain along the way, caused me to fail to love myself and others properly. However, that didn’t seem to be the case for Ms. Valerie and it was evident by the way she treated others with love, kindness and care.
Although she was truly a southern belle at heart due to her upbringings in the South, she was just so graceful and hospitable to others and again, I just wanted to know how did she not develop a bitter spirit? Because the bitterness that I developed from losing my parents at an early age hindered me from connecting with others and truly being the joyful and calm person I wanted to be and know I was destined to be. That is why I was dying to know how Valerie didn’t let the traumatic experience of losing her parents diminish her and keep her from still being a loving person? I wanted to know because I needed to know what I needed to do to stop living a life of bitterness, so that at the age of 53, I wouldn’t still have a bitter heart that I’d leave this earth with due to the hurt and pain I’d experienced and never healed from at an early age.
So how does one not live a bitter life after experiencing pain and loss? I say choose to live a life like my good friend Valerie, carefree, bitter free with the ability to love and be loved even when you have experienced, loss, hurt, and pain.
What does depression look like on black women and girls? Hmmm....interesting question, seeing that a lot of us seem to battle with depression daily, yet don’t even know that we are because those feelings of sadness, unworthiness, and hopelessness have somehow become a part of who we are and how we feel to the point we start believing that we are deserving of those feelings.
Oh and let’s not forget how easily those feelings get overlooked and swept under the rug by the very women, mothers, aunts, and grandmothers around us who have once struggled with these feelings, yet had those feeling dismissed the very moment they were told this certain phrase, “Oh you will be fine, stop that crying girl, you gotta put ya big girl panties on and be strong”. Taking those very words and using them to dress up all the hurt, pain, and feelings they’ve been forced to hide and disguise on the outside. All the while, they are hurting inside and there’s this deep, dark space within them that feels like a void that no matter what they do or who they do, it never seems fill that void. Well, I know too well about that empty, deep, and dark space that we try to disguise and dress up to keep from looking a certain way to the world because I’ve been known to get up and throw on my best I’m Fine attire.
Every day, I get my melanated self out of bed, even though I don’t want to, and I put on my bestest; I know that’s not a word, but I put on my finest “I’m Fine Attire” that only us “strong black women and girls” know how to rock so well and I face those daily challenges awaiting my arrival. Just like countless other black women I’ve encountered who get up every day and fight through the hurt, the mistreatment, the pain, the challenges, the abuse that evoke feelings of hopelessness. Showing no trace of what she has been through because she learned to struggle with faith and grace.
Now, what does depression look like in Black Women/girls, you ask? Well, I’d say it seems to disguise itself in such a way it’s often misunderstood, overlooked, thrown under the rug, and misinterpreted as anger when it’s deeper than meets the eye. Yes, It’s deeper than meets the eye that is why it is often overlooked because she is supposed to be nothing short of slayed and snatched in her best” I’m Fine Attire”.
And honey, Fashionova ain’t got nothing on this fit here because this fit right here is priceless, it can’t be duped and not everyone can make it look as good as my Strong Black Women do because it’s not for everybody. You want to know why? because not every woman can say that they were forced to watch their husbands snatched away from their family, told to keep it together, and left to fend for themselves and their children. While still remaining graceful and strong in the face of fear.
Not every woman can say she was raped and degraded because of the color of her skin, the features of her face, and the curves in her body with no regard to the effects this abuse has on generations before and after her.
So what does depression look like in black girls/Women?
It looks like a young woman forced to figure it out on her own as she is faced with raising her child(ren) on her own because the man she chose to put her trust in, left her to fend for not only herself but her child as well.
You still want to know what depression in Black Women and girls looks like? It looks like the young girl who was told all her life how ugly she was because of the darkness of her skin, the kinkiness of her hair, and the uniqueness of her features, which sets her apart from those who are considered the standard of beauty.
Oh, are you still confused as to what depression looks like in black women and girls?
Well, it looks like the young lady who is searching to be loved, so she gives her all to any and everything just to receive nothing in return but heartache and pain, which now affects how she interacts with the world. If you are still unsure about what depression looks like in black girls and women, it looks like the young lady who is afraid to be her self, so she acts out of character because she fears being judged and misunderstood by those who fail to understand her.
Now for everybody who still doesn’t know what depression looks like in black Women and girls, it looks like the young lady who has been constantly told to get over it, you went get through this when deep down inside you feeling like giving up, but you feel like you gotta remain tough.
The truth is black women and girls you will make it through and it won’t be easy, you are going to cry, you going to get angry and you are going to want to move some furniture. You might even lose yourself in the process, but you will get through it, even though you might have to put on your best “I’m Fine Attire”. Know this, it is okay if you don’t always want to dress up those feelings you are feeling because the healing starts when you realize that you won’t always have it together.
With everything you do in life it should be done with purpose in mind. You should never just be out here doing anything with no reason or desired outcome in mind.
Unfortunately, there are so many people out here just existing in pain and not living in purpose. Don’t let that be you. Think about one thing you can do today that could get you closer to living in your purpose and do it. Good Day Good People!
Today’s topic is one of those topics birthed through a sudden thought that ran through my head and then immediately into my phone. I was hesitant to speak on this topic due to how controversial the discussion could be, but as a writer, speaker, and business person, I know controversy comes with the game. I just gotta be prepared and mindful of my reactions.
With that being said, I want to talk about learned behaviors turned into generational cycles and curses. More specifically, as it relates to the dynamics of black women and their relationship experiences and how it differs from white women’s.
Growing up, I can’t lie; I never saw what a real relationship looked like, my grandmother wasn't married to my grandfather, my mom wasn't married to my dad, and my aunt never seemed to be in a genuine relationship, more like a partnership/business. These were the first three women I had to look up to and learn from, so don’t fault me.
Let me stop playing, these are some strong women tho, but like most of the women around me they weren't married and if they did get married, they were in very dysfunctional relationships, even if it appeared normal to them.
So again, I never really seen what a loving, committed, happy and cohesive union looked like because my grandmother treated my grandad pretty bad and made it clear he was nothing more than the father of her child, which she barely respected him as that.
Now my aunt, I never saw her disrespect a man or vice versa; however, I never saw her show love, compassion, or care in any of her relationships.
Then I grew up not really knowing how to be in a relationship, yet yearning to be in one that wasn’t so full of dysfunction, but filled with love like the ones in the movies. Then I started dating, and it suddenly felt like I’d never be able to experience such love because it seemed unreal, unobtainable, and definitely not meant for me to experience, especially being a black woman.
Just talking about this makes me think about all the many other black women who have grown up subconsciously adopting learned behaviors and attitudes they’ve watched the women around them display because what they’ve observed appeared to be normal.
Like that young girl who has witnessed her mother scream on countless occasions, “ni**as ain't shit, yet turns around and let an ain't shit ni**a lay up on her with no job, no respect or care for her. I mean, how conflicting is that for a child who is soaking up everything and learning as she goes?
Very because those same young girls, if they haven’t learned the proper way to love and be loved, end up going down the same path as they step into womanhood.
Now, I know white people have their set of relationship issues as well, and white women are susceptible to the same experiences and not all black women are doomed in the relationship area. However, statistics show that black women have the lowest marriage rate, and that has to account for something. Plus damn near every black women I know struggle in the relationship department.
From the time little Sarah starts walking, her mother speaks a good husband into little Sarah’s future, saying, ”One day you are going to be the most beautiful bride to an awesome husband.”
Not to mention, little Sarah also grew up in a two-parent home, and any drama between her parents was out of sight and out of mind, so yea, her idea of a relationship may be based off of a little CAP. They still modeled what a husband and wife dynamic should look like, and she is good to go.
Now my good sister, little Tisha on the other hand, grew up watching her mother scream,” Ni**as ain't shit, and you” ll never find a good man out here, they all dogs” as she struggles with sustaining a committed and stable relationship.
I believe the differences can be attributed to cultural differences, learned behaviors and a few other things outside of our control, like the effects of slavery on the black family.
However, we wonder why so many black
women develop these self-destructive behaviors and distorted thoughts, it’s because it’s learned behavior that they’ve subconsciously perceived to be normal. How can she believe that she’ll one day find a respectable, loving man who will make her his wife if that’s not the narrative she knows. Or If she’s been taught that she”ll never get a good man.
With positive influences and the determination to break the cycle, her point of view and her mentality can change. She can learn how to love the most important person that she should have learned how to love first and that’s self.
How were relationships modeled in your family dynamic? Did you have healthy relationships modeled growing up? When do you feel like you learned what healthy relationships looked like? If you haven’t, I want to know your thoughts about healthy relationships as well.
The Black Women’s Plight: She wants to protect and love herself, yet she’s conflicted between protecting her man and protecting self because she’s been taught this is the only way to be loved by a man. She wants to live up to that “down ass chick” position because those are the expectations of her. Or if she doesn’t, she risks not being loved. Or if she doesn’t, she somehow loves him less and doesn’t get his back.
The Black Woman's Plight is loving and not being loved. Giving and not being given to. Fighting when she is the only one in the ring. Trying to fix when she is already broken. Trying to heal when she is not healed. Protecting and not being protected. Caring when no one else seems to. Going through the pain and enduring the hurt to uphold that, “I’m a strong black woman who can get through anything, I’ll be fine” demeanor.
Feeling the need to protect her man is an ideology that she learned through experience and modeled relationships around her. Being taught that if she doesn’t protect his feelings, his freedom, his reputation, his name, and his position, she’s “just another bitch, he can’t trust.” So she must compromise her well-being at all costs.
Even though, the love, respect, trust, and loyalty that she needs to feel secure and protected is conditioned on whether she successfully goes through hell and back with a smile, while still holding things down that continue to weigh her down.
This black woman’s plight is something that not only I’ve witnessed other black women struggle with, but I’ve had my share of struggles with this as well. I've protected someone else's safety and well being when I didn't receive that same regard and felt obligated to do it.
I stand with black women because I know this shit is hard living in the life of a black woman striving to grow, learn, love and be loved when the world thinks you are the least expected to experience love and life without heartache, struggle, and pain that comes from so many different angles. We are still likely to be like the ”other woman,” act like the ”next woman,” when we aren’t given the same respect and regard as those ”other women.”
So how does she have anything left for self? How does she still stand strong and not fall? How does she still function when she's been through so much? It's The Black Woman’s Plight!
If you are a black woman reading this on today, I continue to pray for your emotional and spiritual strength. Feel free to share your struggles today as we all are going through some shit that we just gotta fight through. Keep your head up. #selfchecksunday#blackblogger#lisareneespeaks #SoulfulSunday#protectyasanity#blackgirlstruggles
For some reason, I am having a hard time processing all that is going on in today’s world. When we were going through the beginning stages of COVID and all the changes that came with this pandemic, it was really hard for me to mentally adjust. Going into stores that I would normally just go into with no problem, had now presented a problem because, life as we knew it, was no longer that way. I think the hardest part for me was how my mind perceived and processed this experience I was going through for the first time in my life.
Being black while shopping already presented its own set of problems, but being black during this epidemic while shopping wasn't particularly easy either. I already had to deal with feeling like I was being watched as I shopped in stores, now I'm feeling like I can't sneeze, cough or show any signs of sickness out of fear that people would think I was infected. Having to be extra cautious when navigating the world, left me feeling like I was this tainted person that needed to be approached with extra care because people who looked like me seemed to be the most affected by COVID.
Every time I would have to encounter the world to do my essential shopping or attend doctors appointments, it like I felt I was being judged or looked down on like something was wrong with me or like I was this nasty person needing to be avoided at all cost. Even though, I was aware that this was a pandemic that not only affected me but every living, breathing being on earth, I still seemed to process this experience differently because my race seemed to be at the forefront of the pandemic.
Not being able to just go into a store or make contact with other people because the fear of being infected compromised our normal way of living, did something to me. Of course, I understood how serious this matter was and how important it was to function in this manner, but mentally it was hard to truly process this new way of living.
I didn't really mind the downtime, nor did I mind, staying at home because I truly am an introvert who enjoys time at home and to myself. I had a problem with my choice being taken away from me. Not having the privilege to just go out and have a drink at the bar or dinner at a restaurant when I wanted to was what I was struggling with and I found myself experiencing some major frustration every time I was reminded of this reality. I went through a moment where I was in denial that this was real, then the anger started to set in, which made abiding to this new normal presented challenging on a mental level.
My problems, like everyone else, didn't just stop at dealing with COVID. I was dealing with so many other things in conjunction with dealing with COVID and trying to stay mentally sane was the biggest concern with all of this. I was pregnant, I was going through a bad break up from a 16-yr relationship, I was experiencing major anxiety and depression and I was forced to stay at home in my room and in my feelings. Day in and day out, it was just me, my phone, and my four walls because I was also without a tv due to the breakup. I was lonely, confused, and confined to not only my home but my feelings as well. I not only had to make some changes with the way I had to function due to COVID. I also had to adjust to the changes of pregnancy and boy was that challenging. I was losing weight due to horrible morning sickness and emotionally I was going through it because I just didn't feel like myself any more.
Once I got through that experience, which ended with me losing the baby, I was now trying to heal and move on with coping during the pandemic. Then we were presented with yet another challenge, which again, had another effect on my life due to the color of my skin and that was the murders of unarmed African Americans at the hand of white cops that sparked riots, protests and just an all out race war.
I have to say with everything that has transpired from the personal things in my life to the pandemic and the murders of unarmed black people, 2020 ain't so clear after all, the vision has been lost and shit looks real blurry right now. I am experiencing a lot of uncertainty, doubt and frustration as I strive to maintain my sanity and the little peace I have, but being reminded of these traumas and unprecedent events around me on the daily basis, doesn't help.
If you can relate to just feeling uncertain about the future and experiencing some issues with your mental health, I urge you to give yourself a mental break from all the news and social media exposure. Please speak with a mental health professional because not only are we dealing with shit in our own personal lives, we are dealing with shit on a national level as well. No one cares about your mental health and how everything around you might be affecting you because again we are all going through this together, so it is important that you care.
I'm have so many fucking feelings right now at the shit that's going on, I can't fathom why this looting and burning down businesses is okay. If these people weren't so concerned about fulfilling a personal agenda they would have thought about how this would affect all of us in the long run.
Now y'all running to Indiana after y'all burned all y'all shit down, buying up all the food out here. What y'all was doing was for personal gain, living in the moment, not thinking about how this could affect you in the long run.
I don't care that your justification is that these stores are ran by other races and they should suffer for our sufferings. Those stores still hold are necessities of life. Maybe if we come together, build our community and open black own stores in our communities, we’d start to see some change. Nah, y'all burning them down too. These lawmakers and politicians could make it worse than it already is in your neighborhoods. Y'all already gotta travel outside your neighborhood to get real groceries, what y'all think y'all about to do now? Once buildings get burned, I very rarely see them built again, it's either torn down or abandoned. Then you'll trying to break in people’s house and rob them. I'm never dismissng that there's a bigger problem at hand, but this is a problem too.
Congratulations you are pregnant”, were the words my doctor said to me after patiently awaiting confirmation of what I already knew. I’ll never forget those two bold lines plastered across the screen of the drug store pregnancy test I had taken the night before because it left me in total disbelief.
I thought I’d never hear those words because, in mind, I wasn’t able to have children. I had declared myself physically and mentally unable to have a baby, so receiving confirmation that this was happening, made me have mixed feelings. I quickly realized I was embarking on a new chapter that evoked a lot of feelings I didn’t know how to handle.
I was 31 years old and for the first time in my life, I was going through life events I thought I’d never experience, especially not at the same time. Everything in my life was happening so fast and so unexpectedly that it took away my joys of pregnancy most women experienceduring this time in their lives.
I thought I’d be excited to learn that I could indeed have children, especially after being in a 16-yr. relationship where I never ended up getting pregnant, but with everything going on around me, this moment seemed to be overshadowed by hurt and uncertainty.
I not only found out that I was pregnant by a man I barely knew, but I was also dealing with a bad breakup from a man who I had known most of my life and thought I’d be experiencing this moment with.
I have to say that both experiences forced me to step into a new chapter of life, that for me, was scary as hell because of the fear of the unknown and the changes that ensued. I was no longer in a relationship with the man I thought I could never live without, I was trying to find myself and now I was no longer able to focus on me because my focus was now on becoming the best mother I could be even amid my brokenness.
The resistance I was having with embracing this new chapter was due to the difficult time I was having with adjusting to the challenges I was facing as a new mom-to-be. I was experiencing changes with my body, changes with how I normally did things and changes with how I functioned overall. I was already losing weight due to stress, but now I was battling horrible morning sickness to the point that I couldn’t eat and all the clothes I had once fitted perfectly, were falling off my body. I didn’t like the way I looked or the way I felt and couldn’t understand how women could go through this chapter in life and still be happy because I wasn’t. I found myself crying every day and it even got to a point where I was praying for a miscarriage because I couldn’t bring myself to get an abortion, but I was struggling with embracing this new chapter in my life.
I later learned that what I was experiencing was resistance to change during what was supposed to be one of the most amazing and life-changing chapters of my life. I should have been joyful that I was able to bring another life into this world because so many women wished they were able to do so, yet they can’t. Although, I did experience challenges with embracing motherhood, I did learn the importance of embracing new chapters in life, even amid adversity.