As you grow up and begin to fully embrace your Blackness, you see the special beauty that only Black women possess.
For one woman, she also picked up certain lessons about being a Black woman along the way that her mother never taught her. Below are some things that she wished she had learned sooner in your journey.
My family never talked about race. We were all Black and agreed racism existed. We tried to integrate into western Canada's white society.
I've hated my blackness and let it keep me from loving myself. As I got older, I began to embrace my Black lady beauty. My mother never taught me some things about Black women. I wish I'd learned these eight things earlier:
1. Divorce and single parenting are real threats, so pick wisely.
A study analyzed the marriage patterns of Black, white, and Hispanic American women. Black women married later and were less likely to marry than other groups. Black women's marriages were deemed more "unstable." According to “research,” Black women's divorce rates were greater than white women's at all ages.
Researchers feel this shows that Blackness is still related to economic disadvantage. Economic considerations affect marriage and marital stability, hence the marriage rate in Black neighborhoods has declined, creating a racial marriage divide.
What does this study teach Black women? First, don't base your worth on your relationship status. A guy (or woman) should bring happiness, money, and more. You'll always be whole on your own.
Second, don’t automatically believe “research” and allow outside numbers -- which can be manipulated or agenda-driven -- to determine your destiny. While we must choose life partners carefully, we must be equally careful whose advice and dictates we accept unequivocally.
2. You may be the problem if you can't get along with other Black women.
Although the media portrays Black female relationships as dysfunctional, Black women are all we have, and Black female friendships can be some of the deepest. Black women are the only ones who comprehend the nexus of gender, womanhood, and Blackness.
We realize the cost of getting our hair "done" and striving to meet today's beauty standards as a Black woman. Black ladies aren't cattier or pettier than others. If you're having trouble making Black female friendships (the greatest type), you may need to talk to yourself about why.
3. Making a commitment to social justice and activism may come with a price.
Black women are activists, but few individuals discuss the mental toll of battling social injustice.
First, dwelling on all the wrongs in the world is unhealthy for anyone, and while it's important to notice how the world mistreats you as a Black woman, it will weigh you down. Instead of getting caught up with all the injustices against Black women, focus on specific methods to improve the community.
Supporting Black female entrepreneurs and companies that promote the Black female image. Support media portrayals of Black women as valuable, deserving of respect. Buy from Black-woman-owned businesses and stream Black women's music. Ensure your own success.
4. Black women aren't indestructible; get help for mental illness.
Many black women are depressed... It happens more often than we realize. Why not? From childbirth deaths to domestic violence to low wages, the world is not the most welcoming for Black women.
Well-meaning loved ones often reply to despair with "leave it to Jesus, he'll take your suffering away." This kind of thinking is problematic because it implies religion can cure depression, a psychiatric condition that requires professional care. Seeking help doesn't make you a weaker Christian or person. It's a sign of strength to ask for help, so don't be shy.
5. "Strong Black woman" is unflattering.
How do humans treat strong things? The "strong" buddy of the group rarely gets asked how she's doing. People expect sturdy, durable goods that resist pain well. Black women have been labeled "strong" for too long.
It's time to be vulnerable, gentle, charming, dainty, silly, and feminine. We can't always be the rock. "Strong" is a name society gives us to justify injustice and abuse. We're not "magical" or "superhuman" all the time.
6. Feeling gorgeous is okay, even if you don't meet media standards.
You're gorgeous. Yes, you—even if you have dark skin, a button nose, and curly hair. Because of your looks, you're lovely. While traditional Bantu traits aren't valued in society or the media, you shouldn't feel terrible about yourself or consider surgery to change them.
Be proud of your full lips and curves. To overcome the media's toxic (and discriminatory) beauty norms, embrace your innate attractiveness.
7. Take care of your health and wellness.
Obesity is a problem for black women. From high cholesterol and blood pressure to breast cancer and diabetes, we must be health-conscious. If possible, don't skip doctor visits. Annually have mammograms and screenings. Eat well and exercise regularly. Your mind will also thank you.
8. Imposter syndrome is a liar; you deserve your achievement.
Many Black women experience imposter syndrome in their professional careers. Imposter syndrome is more common among women, African-Americans, and other non-whites. However, you can't let impostor syndrome stop you from finding opportunities to shine.
You deserve the achievements you've earned and more. As Black women, we must demand better and more regular media promotion of our beauty, worth, and value. One or two Lupita N'yongos won't do. More are needed.
Black women have challenges. We must be careful about who we let into our lives and how we speak to and treat ourselves. To be our best, happiest, and healthiest selves, we must value ourselves in all we do.