We are living in an incredibly exciting time for Black women. We are prioritizing our overall health, demanding to be paid what we are worth and celebrating one another’s existence at every turn. We have learned that our survival hinges on our ability to ask for help and to be magical, yes, but not so much so that we ignore our humanity. We are walking away from situations that do not serve us and honoring our value in all ways. Sis, it is everything.
But there is something that has begun to happen that I am not sure we can all live up to. As we continue to break up with the notion that we owe people emotional labor in any area of our lives, we’ve begun to demand an “I don’t give a f***” attitude from Black women that, on its face, can be helpful but is it actually realistic? Though it had become laborious to be the caretakers of everyone outside of ourselves, is being “carefree” something that we now have to live up to?
Is it okay to give a f***?
I think so. For many of us, it is in our nature to care. To care about others. To care how we show up in the world. To care about the ways we’ve been harmed or the ways in which we’ve harmed. It’s okay to care about the issues we face and the issues that face-off around us. It’s okay to care about the things we’ve experienced and to sit in the reality of them. It is most certainly not our job to do so but it doesn’t make us any less liberated should we choose that path.
Let's face it: not everyone can be carefree. I know, sis, but it’s true. And that’s okay. For my highly sensitive and empathetic boos, it is ok if you care too much about more things than you’re willing to admit. It’s okay to be affected. It’s okay to still worry about the opinion of others—just try not to make their opinions the key into or barrier between you and your happiness. It’s okay if you haven’t reached the zenith of being able to let people go who do not recognize your worth; growth is a process. It’s okay if you’re in therapy but you’re still struggling; healing is a journey. It’s okay if you’re still working a job that doesn’t fulfill you because you’re putting your exit plan in place; ain’t no shame in preparing abundantly before taking that first step out on faith.
Wherever you are—I salute you, sis.
It takes a long time to unlearn the things we’ve been taught our entire lives. As women, we are nurturing by nature and as Black women, we are given crosses to bear and crucified when we crumble under the weight of them. It is going to take a lot more than self-care and fun music to teach us how to not sacrifice all of our good parts for the salvation of those around us. And whose to say that our savior has to be in not caring? Why do we have to numb ourselves to find freedom? Why can’t we show up completely as who we are, even those of us who lead with our hearts, and still be bad b***es? I think we can. More than that, I think we must. We must not lose our softness because of how the world hardens around us. We cannot let our tenderness go for fear that it will not find a safe place to flourish. We have to be willing to say “I want love that is true and honest” or “I desire to give freely without fear of pain or disappointment” with our full hearts.
We need to be able to stand in our healing enough to say “I will not change who I am because of the things I’ve experienced, I will simply go where I am safe to be me—those places are available and they are seeking me just as I am seeking them.” The world needs what we have to give. It needs our care. And whatever you are able to give, after first pouring into yourself, give it, sis. That way, being a carefree Black girl means that you’ve done your best, you’ve done right by others and you’ve denied no one the actual experience of all that you are—and in that, you can rest peacefully.