I’ve learned in taking off my Superwoman cape that there’s power and not weakness in owning your vulnerabilities. It takes a lot of courage to admit when you’re not at the baseline of your normalcy when balancing life and parenting. I’m humbled in my spirit when I encounter situations that are beyond my control, or when emotionally I can’t fight back the inner turmoil in putting on my best face in being at my strongest to release my pride in reaching out to God for strength. I call out to a higher source bigger than myself in my times of need to admit that I can’t carry the load alone in praying for guidance, comfort, and assurance.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
I’m a pretty tough cookie who’s had to adapt from childhood through adulthood to be strong. I’ve also had to adapt from many experiences in life on how to basically take care of myself in being independent. I was raised by a strong single mother who relied upon us to be leaders at home in looking after ourselves while she did her best to take care of my brothers and I growing up. I wouldn’t call myself a Mama Bear, but I’ve been told all my life that I have a nurturing spirit in caring for others. Most often in friendships I’m considered the “strong friend” whose the encourager, happy go lucky, fun, and humorous who doesn’t argue with the cards that are dealt in life in having resilience. I offer a pick me to whomever I encounter with the hopes of never making anyone feel as low in feeling alone that internally I’ve occasionally felt.
It’s not a facade in masking my own pain, but I think many young African American girls are raised to be the rock that never breaks in crumbling. I was one of those young girls who later grew into a strong, independent, hardworking, and productive woman who knew not to ever allow anyone to see my inner weaknesses in vulnerabilities in thinking that I would give my power away. I heard the conversation about other women from judgmental women who highlighted those who couldn’t ” keep it all together” in ways to make the women who couldn’t hide their composure discreetly appear inferior to them. I basically learned from experiences growing up, and I took on the high standards entering womanhood, that it’s important to appear that everything is seamless to play the game for social acceptance. I later broke that facade in seeing how carrying such an unrealistic expectation lead to unfair comparisons, anxiety, and deep depression. I saw how many of my female students and mentees who looked liked me as a teen growing up would often cry in my arms in feeling like they were carrying the weight of the world on their precious shoulders. I also never wanted to put that unrealistic pressure on my three daughters in feeling like that they weren’t strong, good enough, or capable if they opened up to me as their mother in having vulnerable moments.
I gave myself the permission to admit when I’m not at my strongest, and I promised myself that if ever another woman confides in me that she feels the same to be an encouraging safe place for her to trust. The truth is right now I’m not at my strongest in coping through a pending divorce in a long distance separation, have a mother whose battling cancer, navigating as a mom to a special needs child, and processing the shock in having lost my Grandmother while juggling life as a single mom. No, I’m not wallowing in defeat from all that’s coming at me, but I admit that this has been a heck of an eventful year. I’m not a crying martyr; I’m just transparent in saying my hands are full as mother with life throwing a few curve balls that I’m learning to process in handling effectively.
Yes, I’m still the unofficial matriarch rock in training in being dependable, loyal, and a helping hand to my family, but I’m humbled to know in my weakness to reach out to the Lord for strength. I am not afraid to tell others that I’m taking sometime to for me right now. I openly admit that my hands are full, and I don’t turn down anyone who wants to bless me in being a helping hand when I’m in need. Yes, I’ve been a caregiver, but I push my pride aside in knowing that I sometimes need someone to show care to me in filling up my cup as a mom to care for my brood of four. My mid thirties vibe as a woman and as a mother is to own my strengths.I’m humbled though in having vulnerable moments that I don’t have everything together in trusting in the Lord to make away through guidance, provisions, and assurance in my life.