-by Kaycee Marsh
I’ve always admired strong Black women. I grew up around strong women. They’re truly all I know. Being a Black woman, if nothing else, means you’re strong, sometimes to a fault.
As I started to mature in my womanhood (Lord knows I got a ways to go, but that’s alright), I realized that my family prepared me to be a strong woman, but maybe I fell asleep on the part when I was told that I don’t have to be strong all the time.
It wasn’t until I started dating or when I was in a relationshit (no typo, sis) that it dawned on me – I did not know how to let a man be a man.
I know it sounds crazy, but this is some real sh*t. If I ever have to grab something heavy, I just take a deep breath, lift it, and keep it pushing. There could be a man or men nearby, but I am not asking.
One morning, when I had car trouble, I remember randomly mentioning it to a guy I knew. He wasn’t bae or anything, but he served his purpose.
Anyway, I was telling him my plan to get my car fixed. Homeboy stopped me mid-sentence and said, “I’ll pick you up from work, and we can handle this car thing.” Immediately, I was on the defense, like, “You don’t have to save me, Sir. I got this!”
True to his word, he picked me up from work and got my car looked at. I wanted to know how much the repairs were so that I could give him his money back, but he looked me dead in my eyes and said, “Don’t insult me.” I was confused as hell because I was only trying to pay him back, not make him feel like less of a man.
He dropped the realest shit on me when he said, “A strong woman is always appreciated, but when she knows how and when to use her strength, she is valuable.”
However, not asking for help or refusing to let a man be a man was more than me wanting to handle things on my own. I realized something deeper. One of my biggest fears is to be perceived as weak.
To a certain degree, Black women have to be strong because we live in a world that wasn’t designed for us. We have to be our own biggest cheerleaders in every area. However, like most things in life, there is a time and place for everything, even your strong Black womanhood.
So, am I bashing strong Black women? Hell to the naw. Hell, I was raised by and with them, but when I watch certain movies, read magazine articles, and listen to the radio, I never hear the term “strong white woman,” yet our kind has been drilling that phrase in our minds for centuries.
What I’m saying is soften up, Queen. You don’t have to carry the world on your shoulders all day, every day. Yes, be strong, sis, but don’t forget the power in your femininity, too.