This past week has been exceptionally challenging. In truth, it was challenging before this. Being a black woman in America involves weighing different marginalized identities, and sometimes feeling like you do not receive enough support from either one. It’s hard to acknowledge that feminism hasn’t always had a place for us, or that black women have been pushed to the back of the BLM movement.
We learn to lean on each other and ourselves, and it can feel isolating. Yesterday, June 5th, would’ve been Breonna Taylor’s 27th birthday. The officers who killed her still have not been arrested. A black transgender woman, Iyanna Dior, was attacked on June 1st in Minnesota, and no justice has been served.
Black women are often praised for our strength, but what about the black women who don’t always feel strong, the vulnerable black women? Those feelings are valid- now more than ever.
I feel a constant pressure to keep posting, keep updating the world on what is going on. And for some, that may feel therapeutic and is exactly what they feel that they need to be doing. On the other hand, members of the black community need to take time for themselves to process and heal. A teacher reminded me this week that disconnecting during this time for black people isn’t the same as it is for non-black people. It doesn’t mean that we’re too lazy to do the work, it’s an acknowledgment of the weight this work puts on us, day in and day out. This fight didn’t start for us with George Floyd, it started long before that. It’s true that silence right now feels deafening, but if you feel that you’ve extended your energy and made your voice heard, it’s healthy to do things for yourself.
As I think of Breonna Taylor, Iyanna Dior, Sandra Bland, and the countless other black women whose names the world doesn’t know, my heart hurts, and I know that a lot of you feel the same way. I hope that black women can continue to be a support system for each other, during this time and forever after. Reach out to your black friends, and connect with new ones. Vent out your feelings in a journal, or in another creative form. Buy from black businesses. Remind yourself that it’s not only your responsibility to entertain and educate racists who are unwilling to change their mindsets. This world is exhausting– setting limits does not mean you’re not strong enough.
credits: image from @r29unbothered on instagram