Bouts of depression were beginning to submerge my mind as I walked home from the subway station Thursday night. It was the day before International Women’s Day, a day that aims to bring attention to women’s accomplishments and obstacles around the world, according to CNN and I was feeling shipwrecked. Shipwrecked, a term used by Pastor Sarah Jakes Roberts to describe a feeling you get when the path you’re on seems ruined, and even after all the high tides I had made the week before, it still didn’t lift the weight I carry on my shoulders daily, trying to measure up to where I feel I should be.
My roommate tried to console me when I got home by telling me I was just too hard on myself and I needed to love on myself a little more, because I am walking in my destiny. But for me, I couldn’t let those thoughts settle in because in the midst of everything I was feeling, there was one thing that was constant. I am a woman. And while all women have to fight for equality with their counterparts, black women have to fight just a little bit harder because the black woman is a “victim, the world doesn’t seem to care about a lot of the time.” A statement made by Danielle Young in an interview on CBSN, who is a host and race and culture writer for Essence. “We are not allowed to be seen as victims, she said.”
Let’s explore Young’s statment briefly by taking a look at the victims who recently came forward with the allegations against R.Kelly. From the moment those women came to the public eye with a story that caused both physical and mental harm to their lives, they were ridiculed, criticized, and shunned by anyone who didn’t believe their story. Instead of being shown compassion and empathy, these women who were screaming out to be heard, were turned from victims into assailants. And while I do know that other victims of sexual abuse are ridiculed by people who don’t believe what they said to be true, it is a known fact that “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected woman in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America, is the black woman.” An expression introduced by Malcolm X in 1962, according to the Washington Post. And as unfortunate as the narrative may be, it is actually true.
This story may seem a little far and fetch, but when you really take into account the areas that I touch on, women in general are still fighting for the same thing. Yes, the black woman’s struggle is much different and some will agree a hell of a lot harder, but women in general regardless of the color of their skin, are still fighting to be heard, to be equal, and to be valued.
Think about Hillary Clinton for a moment. She was the most prepared and qualified person for the Presidency, but for some reason Clinton’s email scandal vs Trump degrading women by saying it was ok to grab them by their genital areas even before he was elected into office, was not viewed equally.
So, as I sunk in my sorrow with feelings of inadequacy, I took all of this in and decided to take my emotions and put them on paper. As I did this, the inadequacy began to fade and the gloominess I was feeling started to dwindle. Expressing how I felt on paper reminded me of something. It reminded that I was still in the race and I wasn’t going to give up. It also revealed the power that I held not only as a black woman, but in the power of the pen that I held which was the voice I was using to help change the narrative in this world.