I do. I stereotype. And I believed them because I was taught them directly and indirectly. And attachment of objects and outcomes allowed me to accept them too. Stereotypes.
I have always been labeled an overachiever. Probably because early on in life I knew what I didn’t want to be. I didn’t want certain names attached to my name that I deemed were negative. I didn’t want to be stupid or lazy. So I compensated exceedingly in other areas. My mother was in a bad marriage with my stepfather and I took heed to the advice I heard people give her because I didn’t want to be those things. Such as “naïve, too forgiving and controllable”. I related those words with allowing yourself to be mistreated.
So, I sunk my head into every book I could so I couldn’t be considered naïve. I held grudges and cut bridges with people that offended me so I wouldn’t be forgiving. And if I couldn’t be first or in a position of power, I didn’t stay so I couldn’t be controlled. So I grew smart with no knowledge. But at least people wouldn’t be able to relate me with being a victim.
And I held all this in from my mother because I didn’t want to bother her with another problem so I learned to “cover it up”. I learned to “deal with it”. And while it built strength and character, it also further developed the stereotype of “strong black woman”. We can take anything. We are a strong people. We have been through so much and we keep on moving. And now looking at our direction and time frame and life span, it is not all of our truths. It is not all of our make up or balance.
And the price is steep and I kept working to be able to pay the price. So I drive past the field of “black eyed suzzies” five days a week and missed their beauty. My work has been a cover up. Well, I am slowly resigning. I quit.
And the unemployment of avoiding defending stereotypes is my new selfish. It is a love I only find when I am creating. It is like carrying the sun in my pocket. It is an abandon that allowed space for listening conversations with my nieces and nephews. I believe this comfort comes with living a couple of decades. This is the type of unemployment and abandon that would pose a threat to the masses! I was taught to embrace a struggle, I want to pass something different on to the children I am raising.