Black women, we do it all. We feel it all. We take it all in. The world could not function without us. But this is because we’ve endured so much and have been expected to take so much. For this International Women’s Day, I reflect on how I’ve been feeling since the end of January. I reflect on how I’ve been trying to manage multiple things at once, taking in other people’s successes while trying not to compare myself to them, and still working through my depression. I hope this post can keep you encouraged, Black girl, Black woman. If this resonates with you, I want you to know that you are not alone.
This superwoman complex we have Black women have is not a new concept. In fact, my good friend Tanisha wrote about this for my blog last year. But today is a good day to revisit as we celebrate all good things about being a woman. As a refresher, the superwoman ideology refers to our feelings and societies unwritten expectations that we as Black women have to be able to be everything to everyone, accept pain and be resilient through it, put others’ needs before our own, etc. That’s a simplistic way of explaining it. Black women we are powerful and magical, but we have so much on our shoulders. Lately, I’ve been feeling that pressure more than I have in a while.
After I finished my comprehensive exams for my Ph.D. program in December, it was time to move to dissertation phase. Once I received feedback from my dissertation chair about my chapter one, I instantly began feeling thAT pestering feeling that I get when my anxiety begins to rise. Needless to say, the feedback I received is requiring me to really start over with reading and gathering more information. I was good, at first, though. I saw that some of my classmates were already in the process of getting ready to defend their proposal or working on soliciting participants for their research study. That’s when my anxiety finally decided to come out. I felt behind. I am behind. I realized that recreating my chapter one was going to take lots of time and I am still slightly confused about how to begin. I feel like I have to be perfect because my chair is a very distinguished, admired, and bomb professor and I don’t want to let her down. I’m to the point where I do not want anyone asking me how my dissertation is going. It’s going to be a while before I get some momentum.
Right when I started drowning in the muddy waters of this dissertation, I picked up a second job for a few hours on the weekend to help offset the costs of this wedding I’m in and to help pay down this growing debt I still have. As soon as I got this second job, things started picking up at my full-time job. This week alone I’ve worked every night. I’m not complaining because I love my job, but I feel guilty if I told someone that I needed a moment to recharge or breathe. One of my mentors told me to step away from something but it’s like I honestly cannot. Everything that I’m doing has a purpose and if I quit, that means I failed.
I place tons of pressure on myself when it comes to this blog. I want to make it better and see it grow. I look at other blogs and how they’re progressing and started to think I wasn’t going to get to that point. Marketing was becoming an issue. I looked at my blog’s Instagram and saw the lack of traction I was getting. I thought that after a year, it was going to be further along than it is.
I’ve been feeling pressure to try and date. I wrote about being patient and recognizing worth a couple of posts ago. And I still believe that. No one is pressuring me, this pressure is self-inflicted. The colleagues that I work closely with are all in relationships, the guys in the area I live in are all married or in relationships, my friends in South Florida are mostly all in relationships. I’m truly happy for everyone who is with someone they love. With all the success I have and am still working towards, I feel like I’m climbing with no one to climb with me. I’m scared that the older I get and the more I focus on my career, I won’t have anyone to share the other part of my life with. My best friend Dom gave me some great advice the other weekend about becoming whole and it really was a word.
Many people see me as “having it together” or “doing big shit” or they tell me I’m “goals”. I’m happy I can be a role model to others and a blessing. I live to bless others in anyway I can. But because I am a people pleaser, that adds to the pressure I put on myself. Because if I fail or show weakness, I feel like I’m letting people down or people won’t see me as their “hero” anymore.
I do think, that I’ll feel a little better after my next therapy appointment at the end of the month. I haven’t seen my therapist since beginning of February. I’ve been holding everything in and refuse to talk to my friends anymore about the things I’m going through because I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining or whining. After I was telling one of my friends about how I was feeling about my dissertation process, I received a response from them that made me not want to talk about any of my woes after that. From that moment, however, I’ve been making an effort to ensure I’m encouraging others to see the light in all of their situations.
Rest assured, my energy bank is running on fumes right now. Black women, we have to “pause” (as my Dad says) and take time for ourselves. Self-care is not something that we just say just to say it. We have to incorporate this into our daily lives without remorse. For me, I workout in the mornings and try to be in bed by 9:30 so I can get some needed sleep. For others, reading for fun, or hanging with friends may be self-care. Whatever it is, do it. Drop the thoughts of being something for others all of the time because then you’re left with the fumes I’ve had for the past two months. It’s not a good feeling. I’ve been working to try and “pause” every day.
And look, all that worrying I was doing about everything didn’t benefit me at all. All it did was cause me to break out, give me lower back pain, and have restless thoughts. But God always shows out. He’s blessed me with two new writers for my blog and a marketing/content specialist. I will be introducing them soon!
On this International Women’s Day, take a pause and reflect on you. Take yourself out because you deserve it. Celebrate the magic you posses. Admire how your melanin glows in the sun. I know I will.
❤ Queen T