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