About a week ago my daughter showed me this beautiful video by a college student, Jefferson Bethke performing a spoken word piece about religion. So many things about this video stood out to me but one line stood out so clearly, it’s the one I quoted when I shared it with my friends on Facebook.
He says “I spent my whole life building this façade of neatness, but now that I know Jesus I boast in my weakness”.
I recently had lunch with a friend who I thought I was just meeting to talk about work type stuff. That discussion quickly went by the wayside when she decided to trust me enough to tell me about some difficult times she was having. One thing that stood out to me is that she had not told many people.
I knew exactly why.
As women, especially black, professional women, so much is expected of us. If we don’t appear to have it all together at all times, we are always afraid we will be immediately dropped into the stereotypical troubled black girl bucket.
We feel like we have to be relatable to our non-minority counterparts (like they don’t go through hard times). It’s an unwritten understanding that we have to be twice as good as our peers to earn equal credibility, thus, leave no flaws visible.
The other thing that happens among us is that we “hate” on each other. When we get a win; get a great job, find a good guy we are happy for our friend (sort of). But when we find ourselves in over our head in that new job, or that guys turns out to have a wandering eye, SOME of our friends are the last ones we want to turn to.
So we hide our weaknesses, and pains, sometimes to the point where we endure pain, abuse and worse in silence.
Momma said keep family business in the house, right?
I am as guilty of this as anyone, but little by little I am starting to open up. But to Mr. Bethke’s point our trials are our testimony.
I don’t have a ton of money, or lots of free time, but I do have my story. I have been through so many things, and with faith, patience, prayer and support I have come further that I knew I could, and I know I have more to accomplish. If five years ago when I felt like my life had reached a new low, someone would have told me “I’ve been there, hold on, it will get better” that would have changes so many things for me. I might have even gotten to this point faster than I did (I spent a considerable amount of time wallowing in my sorrow).
So if you’re reading this today, and you are going through something difficult, listen, I know it’s hard but if you push through it, there is something good for you on the other side.
Sometimes it’s hard to keep the future beyond the struggle at top of mind when you are going through something bad. I need reminders, for EVERYTHING. Write it down, big, and put it on your mirror. I know one woman who had it taped her steering wheel. It helps to keep reading it even if you’re not feeling it. Read it out loud, generally what you speak becomes your truth.
Finally know, you are not alone.
Others are standing where you have stood. If your friends don’t understand, or they are haters, find some people that do understand. I never ask parenting advice from non-parents, or people whose kids are terrible. Reach out to people who you think might k now what you are talking about and might be able to help. F what your mama said and speak your truth. It makes your human, and just might get you what you need to get through this thing.
If you can’t find anyone, come find me. My friends and I have unfortunately been through some pretty rough times, and we are all still standing strong, and being blessed every day. We’ve been broken too many times to judge you on your broken-ness.
And when you get through it, and I am sure you will boast in your weakness, and be there to hold the next woman up.