I’m A (very tired) Strong Black Woman

by Dana Fletcher

I grew up asking for hugs the way most children ask for pocket money

I grew up knowing money would always be given more freely

Now I’m grown and groomed to recoil at the physical comforts I crave

I find warmth and affection in books and music and movies

anything that takes me to places where I can find language for this hungriness I feel

this hollowness I feel

this hardening I feel

in a world that shames me for being soft

in a world that minimizes sadness, erases sadness, avoids sadness,

avoids anything that threatens to make it less brilliant, less bright

this world that values cold, steely exteriors

is not kind to those of us who are warm and fluffy

like down pillows and cashmere blankets

fuzzy socks and terry cloth robes fresh out the dryer

this world that values fields when they’re filled with flowers

and discards the flowers once they’ve been crushed

I want a world that values crushed flowers and their sweet perfumes

a world that reminds dried out petals that they are still worthy

even when they’ve been starved of water and soil

I want a world where expressions of sadness are not met with comparisons of even greater sadness

a world where we don’t fear exposing our underbellies and organs

a world where we don’t have to sign up for romantic relationships

in search of the comforts we cannot find within our own homes

a world in which I can be hugged and held and nurtured

so I don’t feel the constant need to hug and hold and nurture

pouring out the kind of love I wish I had poured into me

a world where I’m not required to drain my love into

princes who are paupers

and kings who are crooks

Mere men who turn to women to find the meaning they cannot give themselves

I want a world where once, just once,

I don’t have to be the one to save myself

I want a world that accepts me when I’m both strong and straining with my struggles

I can be both strong and strain with my struggles

I can be strong and struggling and sassy and straining

I can be shaky and savage and sad

I can be a strong, struggling, sassy, shaky, sad, savage

I can be strong because I want to be

and not because I’m not given the space to be anything else

I can be strong while searching for support

I want support that wraps around me like a weighted blanket

I want support that holds me like a memory foam mattress

a soft landing space reminding me that I can be both sturdy and soft

even when I’m weighed down by my own body

support that does not expire with ill-fated romances

support I don’t have to schedule weekly with paid professionals

support I don’t have to wash down with water at nighttime

support I don’t have to buy and build and bake myself

support that does not require me to break myself open

that does not erase my brokenness with reminders of my strength

support that hugs and holds and hangs around while the tears are flowing

and long after they have dried

I need support.

Did you connect with these words? Feel free to share them with a Strong Black Woman in your life! Make sure to tag us on Instagram @embraceyourunknown

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