I saw a post recently that stated, “Black womxn need rest.” That’s all it said, four little words, and it was a powerful statement. My eyes immediately began to well with tears, because it was the exact message I needed to hear. See, I’ve been very depressed for the last four months. My spirit felt crushed under the weight of a global pandemic, the continued police brutality that led to the reinvigoration of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the denial of human rights to uphold capitalism and white supremacy. I wanted to engage in advocacy, meaningful conversations, keep up with the news and social media, and educate myself; but, it was at the cost of my mental, physical, and spiritual health. As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been exhausted in every sense of the word.
“When Black people are talked about the focus tends to be on Black men; and when women are talked about the focus tends to be on White women.”
Black womxn are at the crossroads of all social issues; poverty, racism, sexism, homelessness, homophobia, reproductive rights, and classism are only a few examples. The experiences and stories of Black womxn are unacknowledged and erased, yet, they are expected to bear the emotional and physical labor of pushing these movements forward. Despite being perpetually ignored and disrespected, they are on the frontlines, organizing, educating, and going to bat for Black men, non-Black people of color, and White people, especially White womxn. Society has deemed it imperative that they make their bodies, their minds, and their time, accessible at any cost. Black womxn are rarely granted the safety and comfort of rest, vulnerability, and fragility.
“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
In my own life, I was being called on to support, uplift, and analyze without reciprocation. It wasn’t until recently that I realized the extent of this collective experience. I needed to disconnect, hang the “closed” sign on my emotional labor awning, and take care of myself. It was one of the most radical decisions I could ever make. During that time, I allowed myself to feel everything that I was holding back. It was ugly, confusing, infuriating, and sobering. I had to reckon with the culture I was born into, one that continues to place Black womxn at the bottom of the social hierarchy and the different ways my status as a Black womxn was reinforced. I had to acknowledge that my parents, though it’s not their fault, perpetuated modifying my behaviors for the sake of White fragility. And lastly, I had to come to terms with myself and the ways I’ve knowingly, and unknowingly, done the same. It took about three weeks, but alas, my spirits were lifted, I gained much-needed clarity, and I felt rested.
“There is something so revolutionary about seeing a black woman chilling.”
Society wants to see Black womxn vilified, fetishized, commodified, broken, or relegated to supporting characters. Our peace of mind and our mental health are not a priority. It’s up to ourselves to make sure we stop, breathe, and look after one another, or not. Black womxn deserve protection, joy, love, respect, compassion, femininity, recognition, admiration, support, and rest. Seeing Black womxn truly happy and rested is revolutionary.