I believe that when we (Black Women) verbalize how we feel about one another, the good and the bad, but especially the good, it strengthens the minority; it shatters stereotypes; and it kills the notion that we have to compete with one another for relevancy.
The ability to be open, honest, and complimentary between friends leaves no space for a lot of the negativity that some people deal with. I don’t feel the need to compete with my friends…eventhough I can likely beat them all in a footrace lol, I genuinely want them to win. With or without me, I want to see them fly; vanity be damned, I want to be able to say, “look at so and so…she flying high, that’s my friend”…even if Im not flying next to her. This doesn’t mean that I make myself second. It means that I know my lane on the track and I understand that having support is integral to our success, collectively and individually.
I understand that peer support from those closest to you is one of the strongest boosts that we can get. The people closest to us have a different vantage point than outsiders. They likely see our bad days, they are privy to some of the things that we aren’t proud of so when they tell us, “hey, Im proud of you, I respect you for that, I support you”, it weighs more. It gives us the ability to repel a lot of the negative shots from people that don’t know us well; it reminds us that eventhough we aren’t perfect and the world seems to have the worst opinion of us, we know better because someone that knows more about us has told us so.
This epiphany was the result of a discussion between me and my Fake Bestie (inside joke lmao). I told my Fake Bestie about my other friend “T” and her decision to exclude artificial and unhealthy sugars from her son’s diet and how much I respect her for it. This may not be a big deal to some people because parents are supposed to act in the best interests of their children however this was less about the decision itself and more about how it impacted me.
“T” and I dont hang out much but whenever we do, we have our children and when I saw how deliberate she was with making sure her son was eating fresh vegetables and fruits, and how she had to grapple with the disapproval of her family and some friends, I was inspired and encouraged. I was also a little ashamed that her then 2 year old son had experienced fresh avocado while I…an adult woman, refused to even try it LOL.
I didnt tell “T”, at the time and It bothered me that I didnt tell her at that moment. I eventually told her later and in case she forgot, I’ll tell her again in this blog and I hope she recognizes who she is without me putting her on blast with her real name.
And even if she has changed her mind and her son’s diet, I still have the same admiration for her courage to go against the grain and stand firm in something she believed was best.
Telling my “T” that I respect her parenting decision is important if to no one else but me…all BLACK mothers, single or otherwise. It’s important because stereotypes (blog post coming soon). It’s important because parenting is hard. It’s important because it’s true and are truisms silenced far too often (blog post coming soon).
“T”, I love you girl! And I respect you. Your strength and audacity to be you is my strength and audacity to be me.