Strong Black Woman

I know us women think that Strength looks like being ultra-independent, a lady boss, self-made, and any and all things in between but, sometimes, strength looks like asking for help or being help for someone else. And if you’re in people bondage, saying no to things. 

You aren’t weak because you need help, you aren’t less than because you choose to say no to your loved one or friend. Let’s find strength in interdependence. It’s easy to block people out and build up walls, or say no to everyone and everything. But let’s do the hard thing, the strong thing. It’s okay to need another person. Defining strength may vary from person to person but let’s not put pressure on each other, and definitely don’t put it on yourself. What does strength mean to you? 

For me, strength has always been vetted through the auspice of a man in my mother’s household, probably because there was no man present. My mother was the ultra-independent, lady-boss-mom all women aspire toward.

And there’s nothing wrong with this but, inadvertently, she taught me that strength means a woman does and iseverything (like Chaka Khan’s I’m Every Woman). I saw her be mom and dad, work 3 (and sometimes more) jobs at the same time. She was mom, maid, handy man, bread winner, and nurturer. So I thought nothing different. Her example was what I thought womanhood meant. 

And I know my story isn’t uncommon. There is a single-woman-hyper-feminist narrative in popular culture today that says women don’t need men. Independence is strength and dependence is weakness. And I know whenever I hear that I get all empowered. I mean, who reallywants to be considered dependent? Like, yeah, I would be what some woman consider independent.

And sometimes I feel like I’m “better” than the woman that isn’t. I’ve thought for years that married women where weak for (1) having a husband provide for them financially, emotionally, physically and (2) submitting to said husband’s headship. And I don’t wanna get into a submission argument but I know there are plenty of females who feel this way. 

May I first say that this way of thinking is toxic (especially if you want to be married one day). Depending on someone isn’t a weakness. I mean, we do it all the time. We depend on our cars to get us to work and home safely. We depend on the owners of the Chick-fil-a to serve us food that will not make us sick. We depend on the chairs we sit in to not fold under us. So dependency isn’t a weakness, sis, it’s a superpower. 

It’s easy to pull everything inside yourself. It’s easy to push everyone away. It’s easy not being vulnerable to others. But it takes strength to reverse those things. It takes strength to dependent on someone else, because you have to put your trust in something other than yourself. I can put my trust in myself all day long but putting my trust in someone else? That takes courage, takes strength. 

I don’t know, fam. I’m still trynna figure out this strength thing myself but I know it doesn’t look what I’ve known. The process may be difficult (all process are) but I’m willing to try. So, what does strength look like to you?