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One of the questions I’m asked most often is how are you so vulnerable. I used to answer by saying I have no shame. Then one day Shame paid me a visit and told me I was wrong. So, the question remains how am I able to throw caution to the wind and be so vulnerable? Therapy and Truth Tuesday have had the biggest impact on my vulnerability. Last year, I posed the question, “As a black woman do you find it difficult to be vulnerable and if so why”. Every single woman that answered this question said YES. This week’s Truth Tuesday I want to talk about black women and vulnerability.
“By nature I’m a very sensitive person, but as a black woman I must be strong to the outside world, and it’s difficult to be vulnerable because ish gets hard for me too”. “It’s difficult as a black woman to find empathy when I’m vulnerable”. “I’m stuck between keeping it real but being strong while doing so”. “I feel judged and weak when I’m vulnerable.”
The above are some of the quotes I received from black women relating to their relationship with vulnerability. Reading those makes my heart break! We’re all human and God created each of us with emotions, but as black women we find it difficult to find safe spaces to emote without judgement. One thing I’ve noticed while sitting with groups of black women is the word strong constantly being used incorrectly. One definition of strong states it’s having the power to move heavy weights. If you’re constantly holding things in and attempting to convince everyone you’re good then you’re not being strong sis because you’re not moving that heavy weight. When you’re vulnerable and let that ish go that’s STRONG!
Trust me, I get it, it’s easier said than done. For most of us we can’t just wake up one day and suddenly stand in our unfiltered truth. It’s hard and can be extremely intimidating. So, how do we combat this stigma? We tell OUR stories! We’ve all sat in an audience and listened to someone speak and said under your breath oh good for you Jim, but I couldn’t do that because the path wouldn’t be the same. We relate to people that have experienced similar things to us and look like us. When I got pregnant my doctor said throw what you know out the window because it’s different with twins. I don’t have a twin mom in my life so I love my Facebook group because it’s only black moms of multiples. When I was blogging about date nights every once in a while someone would reach out and ask about a date. Now that I blog about my life, I get messages from people that feel safe sharing very personal things with me. They trust me because they know I can relate and I opened the door of vulnerability. This let’s people be vulnerable with me without being judged.
Before you go out and become vulnerable with the world, I’ve got one more gem to drop. BE SELECTIVE who you share your vulnerability with. Recently, one of my friends told me that I’m guarded and initially I was offended, but then I thought about it and agreed. There are several people I talk to often and they will learn more about me through reading my blog than talking directly to me. Since that comment I’ve had two other people tell me something similar. I can’t nor will I argue with that statement. I’m extremely vulnerable on my blog, but it’s curated to give you what I want you to know. If you catch me in the real world and ask me something I don’t want to share I’ll totally ignore your question (via text) or if we’re in person I usually say hey I don’t feel comfortable discussing that subject. There’s nothing wrong with setting boundaries within your vulnerability journey.
I’ll leave you with a few thoughts.
- Strong means moving that heavy weight NOT holding it in and doing it alone.
- Black women should continue to tell OUR stories because there is another woman out that that NEEDS to hear it so she can be seen and start to exhibit true strength.
- It’s totally acceptable to be guarded and vulnerable at the same time (I do it daily).
- If there aren’t any spaces for you to be vulnerable, START ONE (I did with the blog).
- Vulnerability is a process, dip your toes in before doing a cannon ball in deep end.
Until next time…