Strong Black Woman in Recovery

The heartbeat of what I have read over the years, recent links and even some of your (and definitely my) comments are the reasons I am a “Parenthetical Recovering Strong Black Woman.” What is the heartbeat of most strong black women writings that I have seen? There is this doublespeak that takes place: On one hand we revere this woman who believes she has to take on everything and take others to task who don’t respect her; and on the other hand we say we don’t want to be her but are proud that we are her. There is a sense of schizophrenia happening, and this dual reality has me in a tailspin.

I am a Parenthetical Recovering Strong Black Woman because I recognize the need to pause about why I accept being called a strong black woman. I recognize my strong black woman wounds and the need to heal from those wounds. And I understand the need to be a woman, always recovering but never quite looking the same as the strong black woman without the parenthesis. I am a woman still in process, learning to properly redefine myself as a strong black woman, and in doing so I realize that I not only need to behave differently but I need new terminology to reflect the change. I don’t feel comfortable calling myself a strong black woman because of all the dizzying doublespeak and labels (deserved and undeserved) that come with that name. I declare a new name, though I don’t know what it is. But one thing I do know: In Christ I am new. Old things have passed away. All things are new (2 Corinthians 5:17). I just need to catch up with Christ’s declaration of who I am. With his leading, I know I’ll get there.

Copyright 2009 By Rhonda J. Smith

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3 responses to “Strong Black Woman in Recovery

  1. “…All things are new.” True dat!

    I’m on the journey with you as I, too, work to catch up with Christ’s declaration of who I am.

  2. I am a little confused. I am a strong black woman and I am very proud to be. In fact I wish that there were more strong black women.

    There are a lot of negative descriptions that are sometimes attached to being a strong black woman. Some valid but most not. However when adversity come into our lives we seek out the strong black woman for advice, examples, and wisdom. I think the myth of the strong black woman is not her strength but the source of her strength. The scripture says when I am weak that is when I am strong. A strong black woman will tell you that she can do nothing in her own strength but it is God who strenghtens her. She will tell you that often she does not know what to do so she goes to the Father and he gives the instructions and she does what she is told. She will tell you that obedience to God is not always easy but when she makes a decision to do things God’s way she gets God results.
    When WE look upon a strong black woman we think that she has it going on because we see the God results in her life; then WE misinterpret God’s blessings and think that she did it in her own strength.

    As a strong black women I know that there are areas of my personality and my members that I need to completely submit to God (my mouth, my sista girl neck roll, my eyes that roll to the back of my head, and the stare you down look). However I don’t ever want to recover from being a Strong Black Woman because all of my strength, every victory, and every good thing in my life comes from the Lord.

  3. musingsofastrongblackwoman

    Paula B.,
    Thanks for your comments. I didn’t mean to be confusing. Let me restate that my contention with the notion of being a strong black woman is based on women who say they are strong because they exalt their blackness, womanhood and social status above everything. In doing this, they do whatever they think is best to protect their culture, gender and social status (including having the rubber neck and the stare down and then justify these actions). This is what I believe all black women need to recover from. When women come to them it’s not always based on God-approved results. Sometimes the results that are looked at as success have been allowed by God, but not ordained. And these results are often those that have been wrought without God’s guidance. Most strong black women who are Christian will “give honor to God who is the head” of their lives. My problem is when we say that and we do our own thing and then attribute the results to God.

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