I want to grieve. I want to have the freedom to grieve without being judged or called weak. I want to have the freedom to sit in my house and cry all day without feeling like I am annoying my girlfriends. Sad to say that some of my girls are not equipped to comfort a grieving friend in any situation. The immediate response is for their grieving friend to “toughen up girl” or get “over it”. What if it is not time to toughen up? They refuse to let themselves appear to be weak and let the shell down to comfort someone else. If they do then the thought is that the person should quickly get over it. I want to be able to talk to about my emotions without feeling as if I am going to be labeled weak. Sometimes I do not want my reaction to be anger. Sometimes I want to allow myself to be vulnerable. I want to have the freedom to be sad without being told that I am being weak or I need to toughen up if I am crying.
I am currently dealing with the death of my Grandmother. Wait let me rephrase that. She was more than a Grandmother. She was my confidant, home girl, ride or die. She was my best friend. In dealing with this loss, I am finding that many of my girlfriends, and some family members are expecting me to “hurry up and get over it” or would rather not deal with the situation at all because they feel that by embracing me it would make them appear to be weak as well and they cannot embrace that feeling. In the Black culture and especially among other Black women it is frowned upon when a Black woman shows emotional vulnerability. She is expected to simply pick up and get over it. Take for example when a Black woman ends a long term relationship. While some other women from other cultures are allowed to fall out, cry, be depressed. Their friends are understanding of their grief and do no judge them or expect them to “hurry up and get over it”. As opposed to some Black women who experience heartbreak and are told by their girlfriends “girl get over it” or “he wasn’t even all that”. God forbid that in a moment of vulnerability that you are seen crying by your peers. Oh no. You have truly committed sin.
In the Black culture there is a stigma that the Black woman is expected to be strong at all times. In many situations she is the backbone in families and homes so she had to be strong. I understand it and I truly feel that there is nothing wrong with being strong. However, in being strong there should also be an allowance for being a whole person. A whole person is not always tough, does not always respond in anger when she feels hurt, is comfortable with taking the time to grieve over a lost loved one without feeling weak or as if she is inconveniencing others around her. Black women we are not machines, or shells without hearts, emotions, and deep feelings. It should not be an issue for you to take your time in grieving. Grieve over the man you thought you were going to spend the rest of your life with. If you are feeling sad then allow yourself time to be sad. Your immediate reaction does not have to be anger. It is a defense mechanism that is wrongly perceived as strength. A strong woman allows herself to cry, or feel weak if that is how she feels and she grows from it and keeps it moving. She should be allowed the time to heal and be angry, be sad, emotional, just as any other woman from any other race would. Grieving is a healthy way to allow yourself the time needed to fully recover from a situation. No one should ignore it and mock the act of toughness while whatever is bothering you eats at your insides and later appears as some form of heart disease of high blood pressure. Ask yourself, do you grieve?
For more of La’Juanda “LJ” Knight check her out @ yeahshesaidit.com.