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56902480I 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.

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  • Damali

    Our family experienced many losses in 2008 (from age 2 to 85) and we all mourned without restraint. I noticed when folks are uncomfortable in the face of grief they just spout cliches but sometimes it’s better to say nothing and just be a shoulder to lean on. My condolences to you and your family.

  • Imani

    I Love this article…I can relate.

  • howlinglove

    I went through a complete break down over a decade ago. Something that was a long, long time coming.
    Let me tell you, I was broken. And I had to be fixed. It warranted a tedious and tenacious job. I had very little help. Those in the Black community rang out that infamous phrase of ‘get over it!’. I heard that over and over and over. I started to tell myself it too! But I’d rein myself in and understand, have compassion, and love for myself. I kept telling myself that I must give myself what I wanted and needed from others. And as long as I did that, the help and support would come. And it did. Not so much Black people that I know personally, but from Black people like you La’Juanda.
    Trust! This article has been Divinely guided, because it is in only articles and speeches that alot of Black people are getting the support and compassion that they need-and deserve.
    It’s made a difference to me!

  • G

    Oh. My. Word. Thank U 4 this, La’Juanda.

    My mother passed unexpectedly over 2 months ago, and my grandmother passed almost 2 years ago. I’m grieving in a weird way, I guess. I quit my job while my mom was in hospital, and now I’m slowly doing my best to resurface back into the outside world. I’m making attempts to get back into the workforce now b/c I feel I can manage my grief a bit better now.

    At any point, if ANYONE told me to ‘get over it’ or ‘suck it up’, they would have heard a huge cuss-out from me. No one in your life has authority to say how much or how little time you need to come to terms with any type of loss in your life. The thing about grief is, even when you think you’re back into the swing of things living your life as usual, there will be that ONE moment that will bring back a rush of memories/uncontrollable tears/strong guilt, etc.

    No one will ever know just how much your grandmother meant to YOU. They might say they do, but they don’t. You & your grandmother had your own dynamic that only both of you would fully understand. So don’t let anyone take away from the time you need to remember her, mourn her, and celebrate her. She is a huge factor as to why you stand here today.

    Peace,

    G

  • TRUE, True, true…

    I have always lived in a household
    in which I have been able to express
    myself whether it be tears, speaking
    (never yelling though…i aint crazylol)
    or even through writing letters.

    The thing that amazes me is I was not
    a big on crying. Around 17 is when I
    started using tears as a way to release

    although I was allowed to express
    it was more of a learned behavior.
    I think in my life ive only seen my
    mother cry 5 times. So I just learned
    that we just have to “get through” things
    now that im 20 and have learned more
    about the “real world” and what it is to
    become a “woman” I can now really
    understand why sometimes we do
    have to just get through things

    -PeAcE