Have you ever been told that you’re just too emotional or that you need to stop crying or to grow thicker skin? If so, this post is for you.
As a young girl, my tears and sensitivities were constantly met with, “WHY are you crying? What are people going to think about you if you don’t stop crying?”
You see, despite my mama being the epitome of a strong Black woman and raising me to be the same, I am extremely sensitive, emotional and vulnerable. As I grew older, I learned that what my mom expressed outwardly as resilience, I processed internally and externally in tears.
For as long as I can remember, my heart and emotions have been extremely susceptible to other people’s feelings. Some would say this makes me an empath, because I feel a lot and I feel often. My feelings and emotions run deeply. And at this point in my life, I can’t hide them
(and have no interest in trying to do so).
On Father’s Day, I released a post that had been brewing in my mind and heart for months. I talked about how my life changed the day that my father asked me how old I was. You can read it for yourself, here – My Daddy’s Issues.
Since that day, I have been amazed and astonished at not only the number of people who identify and relate to my story, but also by the amount of people who thanked me for my vulnerability and transparency.
Before that time, I had never processed or accepted my immense vulnerability as a strength or an asset. No one had ever thanked me for being a vulnerable Black girl. Actually, I grew up thinking that my sensitivity and willingness to require authenticity from myself and others was a major character flaw.
To my family and peers, I’m the friend that “just can’t take a joke” or the sister that “needs to loosen up”. But in reality, my feelings are just easily hurt. But even more than that, I never want anyone to feel excluded, isolated or alone, because I know what that feels like.
Further, as an #IntrovertedBlackGirl, I require vulnerability and authenticity in my conversations and relationships. At the same time, I need to know that what I’ve shared with you will remain with you.
Honestly, my vulnerability makes me a better counselor, a more reliable friend and a more understanding daughter, because I know what it’s like to be disappointed and have my feelings disregarded by those I love the most.
However, it’s not easy being a vulnerable Black girl. The world isn’t made for us to exist in it freely. We have to be aware of all of the ways that we can be hurt and choose to bring our full selves into the world, anyway. It takes courage, bravery and BOLDNESS to be a vulnerable Black girl.
Although I’m not supposed to be sensitive, transparent, emotional and vulnerable, I am. I am all of those things at once. And at 26 years old, I am just now starting to realize that it’s okay. It’s okay to be me. Our society doesn’t value vulnerable Black girls, but this is all I know how to be. In essence, my vulnerability makes me…me.
My vulnerability is my greatest strength, and sometimes, my greatest challenge. I crave the same mask-shattering interactions with those around me, but my requests are (more often than not) met with resistance. Folks have held their masks up for so long, that any loving request to lay them down (within a brave space) feels threatening.
Now, I know that the experiences of vulnerable Black girls do NOT exist in a box. Some of us can’t afford to be our vulnerable selves, for a lot of different reasons and circumstances and I truly understand that.
Truthfully, the larger reality is that people aren’t accustomed to being (perceived as) vulnerable outside of their own closed doors. As Black women and girls, we aren’t supposed to let people see our truths, our hurt, our pain, or our healing.
But our healing, freedom and liberation deserve just as much visibility as our hurt, anger, and pain receive daily in our society.
My vulnerability and transparency have been essential tools in my healing. I have learned that I can’t heal what I won’t reveal, and that is another reason that I am sharing this post with you.
To the vulnerable Black girls who feel misunderstood, mocked, and mislabeled, you are not alone. Your vulnerability doesn’t make you weak. It makes you REAL.
Please know that it’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to be sensitive. It’s okay to be emotional. It’s okay to be…you. After all, the world needs more vulnerability. It’s needs more of you.
A vulnerable Black girl