Black women are expected to be a few things, except soft or fragile. We are given expectations for our life long before we even discover who we are. For years, black women have been labeled as “hard to handle”, “difficult to work with”, or even the five letter curse word that references a female dog. Recently, the television series How To Get Away With Murder aired its starting episode to the series finale. Each season brings a shocking revelation of murder and mystery connections. Yet, Annalise Keating always comes out on top of the scandal.
Annalise Keating is known for being a high profile attorney, with a powerhouse mindset and unmatched candor. However, underneath all the Black Girl Magic, she’s hurting like we all do. On the opening episode of this season, Annalise is in a rehab for addiction. She uses alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with the world she’s immersed in. She’s identified as having a “save everyone” mentality while she suffers in silence. While watching this episode, it hit me like a bag of bricks — so many women of color are forced to deal with trauma quietly. Our rapes aren’t documented. Our degrees still don’t qualify us. Our experience is overlooked. Our bodies are sexualized. And our hurt? It’s like it never existed. We’re forced to find unhealthy coping mechanism for daily survival.
Black women aren’t allowed to have a bad day; we aren’t allowed to be emotional; and we aren’t allowed time to heal as we should. We aren’t allowed to be handled with care even when we’re broken. Malcolm X once said that “the black woman is the most disrespected woman.”
I agree with that phrase, but we’re also the most underrated.
We aren’t given enough credit for all that we overcome, even in our brokenness. Even when we’re broken, we’re expected to be amazing mothers, wives, educators, doctors, etc. Yet, the world doesn’t stop to acknowledge our hurt. The world doesn’t recognize our tears until AFTER our breaking point.
We’re only seen and heard once were dropped, never when we’re tipped over. We aren’t allowed to just be soft or vulnerable. We are forced to protect ourselves long before a helping hand is extended. Black Girl Magic exists simply because the world forced us to create it. Black women aren’t aggressive. We aren’t angry. We aren’t difficult. Sometimes, we’re just tired. Tired of being seen for our thorns, but never acknowledged for our petals. Black women are the flowers that grow through concrete… yet sometimes even we need a little water to grow.
Handle us with care.