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This Story is Not My Own

I have been surrounded by powerful, strong, dynamic black women for most of my life. I have painstakingly watched my family members, extended family, mentors, and spiritual leaders in hopes of gleaning from them lessons on living. There was something about them that made them unbreakable. I was determined to be like them. I was determined to make sure that I was a help to my family and not a hindrance; that I stood up for what was right; that no one would ever see me as weak, no matter what the cost.

I was, like most girls and young adults, determined to continue the legacy of strength that I inherited and observed. Years later I realized that the idea of maintaining an image of strength was destroying who I was and kept me from really experiencing love. This led me to have an emotional breakdown that nearly destroyed my life. I was so consumed with not allowing myself to feel the hurt, abandonment, grief, and disappointment that it manifested itself in the form of physical disease.

I am not different from most black women in America. Black women are the leading group in America that experience somatization which is physical distress in response to psychosocial stress. That physical distress manifests as high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, high triglyceride levels, stress - which cause heart disease which is the leading cause of death in black women in America.

My journey to wellness has shown me that it is paramount for me to be in touch with my emotions and be able to express them. Not tapping into my emotional state or needs can be the difference between life and death.
I want to use social media to be that voice for black women in America and all over the world. I want to show them that bearing the weight of the world (by taking on the needs of their families, friends, co-workers without boundaries) is killing them. I want to break the cycle for younger women and show them a new example of what womanhood is. I will use my voice to guide women to identifying the areas in their lives that they may need to let go of or redefine and give them a liberated zone by which they can express themselves. I want to give the women an example of the power of unconditional love and vulnerability. Social media is an excellent way for them to be able to test out these skills. I see social media as an outlet to stir up conversation and generate ideas on living a life where women can be intentional about identifying their feelings and shaping their lives.

A high price was paid for who I am
And yet, I am free
Today I fly on lightened wings

Comments

Andrea Arzaba's picture

Free!

Thank you for your inspiring post!

Greetings from your mexican sister,

A.

Wagatwe's picture

This resonated

I totally agree. I too often can fall into the trap of carrying too much and not saying anything about it. Social media definitely has been a great way to interact with other women who, too, carry this burden.

-w

mariposa's picture

Yes indeed ... we are free!!!

Thank you for your comment, my mexican sister! :)

And Wagatwe, we must find constructive ways to live so that we are available to ourselves first and others after. It is a struggle but it can be done, one step at a time. Social media would make an excellent platform just because our voice can be heard and shared far and wide.

Mariposa

Peace and ... Bliss,
Restorer of Peace

laughterlove's picture

This reminded me of a class I

This reminded me of a class I took last year where we discussed, "This disease called Strength"
Most people do not see strength as a disease, but as you have demonstrated it can be. It is also used as a way to avoid dealing with issues that black women face, because after all "black women are strong" so they can handle it. I'm so glad you have found your true strength, in being able to recognize what you need for YOU instead of always doing doing doing for others. Take care of you first and that disease of strength will no longer exist.

For all of life is like that race with ups and downs and all. And all you have to do to win is rise each time you fall.
“Quit! Give up! You’re beaten!” They still shout in my face. But another voice within me says “GET UP AND WIN THE RACE!” DH Groberg

mariposa's picture

It is indeed, a disease. Our

It is indeed, a disease. Our definition of what's strong is skewed. No one do what Superman or WonderWoman does/did.
So how do we define it so that it empowers us instead of cripples us?

Thank you,
mariposa

Peace and ... Bliss,
Restorer of Peace

Joanna Krotz's picture

strength comes from vulnerability

Mariposa,
thanks for sharing your pain and your renewed definition of strength. You've clearly thought through your goals and who you are,
Joanna

mariposa's picture

yes! vulnerability!

I was just talking to a group of women about the power of being vulnerable. Thank you for acknowledging my contribution.

Mariposa

Peace and ... Bliss,
Restorer of Peace

Lilith784's picture

Bliss

Your writing is amazing, Mariposa. I want to sign every one of your sentences in bold ink!
Andrea

Eleush's picture

strength

Dear Mariposa,

Thank you for clarifying what black women go through, and what many women go through. Needing to feel strong in the face of discrimination, burdens and injustice. Needing to act strong in order to keep danger away.

I am so glad you have identified the need to get in touch with one's emtional life. That is really the first step to healing.

Best,

Eleush

mariposa's picture

Thank you Eleush, In fact, I

Thank you Eleush,

In fact, I did some reasearch on just how much our emotions affect our physical lives. Black women are the leading group of people in America that have physical illnesses brought on by emotional distress. We must tap into our emotional state.

mariposa

Peace and ... Bliss,
Restorer of Peace

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