I was always shown the stoic, resilient, strong female, they are celebrated in our family (as they most definitely should be), but sometimes I wish I knew about their worries. Their fears, feelings of inadequacies, their challenges. Being pregnant with 16 children and birthing 11 healthy gives you some type of superhuman strength, but maybe it doesn’t allow you time to sit and mellow in your feelings when you’re THAT busy. Or maybe the difference was that, people were simply able to mask it better? This week on the blog, I’m sharing what I wished someone would have taught me about vulnerability, read along with me and see if we share some of the same thoughts.
Vulnerability: The willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of [the] outcome.
I’ve previously blogged about vulnerability and my attempts to be more open and honest with myself about my flaws, scars and just embracing all the aspects that make me, me. The other day, I was thinking about vulnerability and how its viewed in the Black community. Saying that, I have also blogged about the flawed notion of the “Strong Black Woman” and along with that trope is the fact that within our community, we tend to outwardly show our stoic side. The facade society associates with us and despite the struggle or the turbulence, we still show up and we still work. But, my thought was- when do we get to “schedule” a breakdown? 🤣 When do we get to have a meltdown and show that we are indeed human? Some of the people within our family who are revered and celebrated- are the strong, tough, beast of a person who literally tackled life.
Vulnerability is not a weakness; it is our greatest measure of courage.Brene Brown
But, I wish I would have seen more moments of vulnerability, times when my mother didn’t know her next move or didn’t know how she was going to Houdini that next bill. The juggling of four children, with four very different personalities, all requiring different things. I have one mouth to feed and I find it difficult at the best of times being multifaceted for her. Trying to wear all the various hats that is asked of me, all while appearing put together, smiling, being kind and contributing to society. Quite honestly, there are days where I have absolutely no idea HOW I have managed it. And I know…I know, the optimistic part of my brain says, “you should be proud of how far you’ve come, look at what you have achieved in such a short period of time”- but the sullen part of my brain asks, when do I get to rest? When does someone take care of me?” I feel like I have been running for the past four years. my physical body is standing still, but my mind has been running a marathon, only problem is- I don’t see the finish line or if there is one. Don’t get me wrong, I in no way am unhappy with my life- the very opposite, I am extremely happy with the life I’ve built. What I’m saying is, that sometimes seeing your closest adult always knowing where to turn and appearing to essentially never get it wrong- there you begin to build a firm exterior. In some ways almost disassociating failure as an option because you just didn’t see it.
At the end of the day, I’m trying to find the balance with being strong and held together, but also being aware that it’s not sustainable and at the end of the day- no one can be 100% at all times. There are some of these thoughts brewing within me, because I’m always thinking about something. But, I really do believe we need to always be advocating for and celebrating how multi-faceted and complex humans are and that’s a wonderful thing. No one is this all of the time or that all of the time, let’s embrace all of the greys and intersectionalities within ourselves.