From childhood, we are conditioned to have a secretive relationship with what we're going through, and especially in regards to our love lives and mental health. This was done by way of grouping these thoughts and feelings as "your business," as if it was a burden that you hated, yet guarded with your life.
As a child, you are told not to tell your business, which has entirely too many negative reactions to dig into, but from a mental and emotional perspective, being tight lipped is doing more harm than good. Bottling up those feelings by harbouring them, and trying to deal alone is unhealthy. Often times we as Black women are so worried about embarrassment, judgement and oversharing - which are all viable concerns - but we are forgetting that in order to heal you need to actually address what's hurting you.
Everywhere we turn, there are images of Black women who are being slandered and "shamed" for speaking, feeling and being. From our favorite Monday night fix which makes a moment out of Black women's misery, to even news anchors who try to shame us into silence by making comments about our hair. We are constantly fed images that attempt to keep us mute, which is why our silence needs to be broken. We are vocal about what we fight for, but we must also be vocal for healing's sake.
My charge to you is to dismantle your associations with "telling your business" and begin to think of it as "telling your truth." When you suppress those feelings and keep them hidden, you make a bed to lay awake in the shadows of your mind. However, when you verbally tell your truth, it becomes tangible enough to digest, to feel and to deal. Beyond that, the humanization of Black women is what helps to heal us as a whole.
On the long list of things that I love about being a Black woman, Black girlfriends is towards the top. When thinking over our issues, some of us seem to think that we are alone in what we're dealing with. Last night I had dinner with two girlfriends, and I told myself that I would be transparent about what I'm feeling, by not simply responding with "I'm doing well." It was when I heard their truth that it really sunk in that we are all going through the same things. We are all experiencing and going through hurt, and are looking for ways to heal and deal.
There aren't many of us who are going through situations that are exclusive to us. No matter what you're going through, there is a woman somewhere who has gone through that, and may need to hear your story or vice versa.
Lastly, we need to strip the association between strength and mental health, which attempts to silence Black women for fear of being perceived as weak. When in reality, acknowledging that you need to tell your truth is an act of strength in itself.
Lean on your girlfriends when you feel down, and allow yourself to be human by telling your truth.