Dear Black Man,
I’m tired of you and everyone in America trying to tell me what beauty is. I am beautiful. Because I am one of God’s greatest creations. My beauty is not defined in how I choose to wear my hair or the clothes on my back. My beauty is both spiritual and physical. You don’t have to recognize it. You don’t have to appreciate it. You don’t have to even accept it. But, you know what I need you to do?
Stop trying to tell me that I’m not beautiful because I choose to perm my hair or color it. Stop trying to tear me down and say that I can’t accept criticism. Cause you know what? I can. I do. Every single day. When I go to work to take care of the children that I have to raise on my own while you live your life. You know the children that I carried for 9 months. The children who have your eyes or my lips? Those children.
Those children that are being gunned down in the streets or on the playground. Those children that are being unfairly or harshly disciplined in their schools. Those children that are being shuffled into Special Education because they are too active in the classroom. I’m working to raise them.
To try and teach them self-love and how to interact with law enforcement. How to be respectful of all adults. Of how they should notify me if there is a problem with a teacher or another student. Of how to stand up for what they believe in but not too much to draw attention that they become a target.
I have to go to work everyday in corporate America after waking up alone and getting our children fed and off to school. I work my butt off at a job that doesn’t pay me what I’m worth but I don’t complain. I look at graduate school programs during my lunch break, send emails to the teacher about our children’s grades or schedule doctor’s appointments.
Oh look, it’s been 3 years since I had my last physical, mammogram or PAP smear. No worries though. My personal health is not important right now. The kids are up on their shots, I am running for PTSA President and I am able to send our son to sleep away camp for a couple of weeks this summer. Wait, let me schedule our daughter’s hair appointment, pick up the dry cleaning and get home to do dinner and homework.
I’m exhausted. It doesn’t matter though. I still have to review homework. Clean the kitchen, put the kids to bed and log on to my computer and check work emails. I have to prove my worth, by showing my boss that I am always thinking about work. I am after all…superwoman. I’m supposed to be both invincible and invaluable.
Later that night when I finally drag myself into bed, I will cry myself to sleep because you aren’t there to hear my tears. I will pray that God will heal your heart and spirit against me. Because I am not your enemy. I also pray that God doesn’t harden my heart to you dear black man. Because if he does, what do you think will become of our children’s future?
A Tired Black Woman