When Being Strong Is Not Enough
Why do we suffer in silence in the Black community? Why must we appear to be tough and fearless when we are really terrified or in pain? If you are dealing with loss, a serious health issue, financial problems, or depression, being alone with no one to talk to can send you down a dark rabbit’s hole.
Last night I was watching the TV show Black Ink on VH1. One of the guys, a single father, was having problems and was too prideful and ashamed to ask for help. Because of mismanaging his money, he ended up drinking a lot, renting a room in the projects and he had to send his kids away.
I have seen this type of situation a lot in my community. Some Black people have a hard time asking for help and we end up suffering alone in complete despair.
As Black women, we have always been told that we are strong and will pull through no matter what we’re dealing with. So when we’re diagnosed with breast cancer we may be embarrassed to tell others that we are hurting physically, mentally, and emotionally. And we suffer in silence.
We don’t allow ourselves to cry over our lost breasts; we cover up and move on. We don’t talk about the pain from the tissue expander stretching our skin and pectoral muscle; we grit our teeth and drop the kids off at school. We are supposed to be strong Black women and nothing less so we put on a smile and head to the next meeting and for some women, head to their second job.
I don’t want to suffer in silence. Yes, I am strong but I hurt, too. Just like you, I am afraid of the unknown. Just like you, I have dark days and ‘why me?’ days. Tell me that it’s okay to ask for help. Just don’t keep telling me that I am strong because some days I’m not.
Ladies, who do you turn to when you’re having a not so good day?