I’m a Black Girl and I am not Broken


I am many things. ¬† Among them‚ÄĒI am a daughter, a sister, a friend, a poet, a writer, and ¬†a lover of love and admirer of creation.¬†I am a person of deep faith, a survivor, and¬†a brave bird. ¬†But for all the things that I ¬†am‚ÄĒboth good and bad‚ÄĒthere is one thing I am not:

I am in no way and by no measure broken.

Don’t get me wrong. ¬†I’ve been all up and through some hurt, but I am increasingly more intentional about¬†emerging¬†from those experiences stronger and more definite in my purpose. ¬†I am grateful to the universe for every door that opens for me and even more¬†gratified¬†for the wisdom to know which one to walk through.

I guess this is why I am troubled by a representation I see in the larger culture: Black women as “inherently broken”. ¬†These¬†representations¬†are adopted¬†wholesale¬†and perhaps more damaging internalized, when they should be¬†interrogated, and even¬†outrightly refuted. ¬†Hence, this post emerged after a misguided attempt to garner my affections. The unrelenting pursuant¬†diagnosed¬†my disinterest, as follows:

“I’m saying bay [urban¬†colloquialism¬†for the term of endearment baby] I’m perceptive but even a simpleton could see you’re going though an internal struggle based on previous trauma…..[it continued] Bay don’t be scared to take assistance while moving on…Those chains aren’t ¬†going to protect u nor make u whole…”

Delivery aside, the notion put forth in this ghetto soliloquy shook me to my core. ¬†Nothing about our interactions up and until this point had communicated either directly or indirectly anything about my past or any pain that was a part of it. ¬†I can say this with confidence because our conversations had been limited to text messaging‚ÄĒclearly¬†not a communication medium optimal for real human connections. ¬†I can also tell you as a matter of fact that this person was by no means perceptive or intuitive. ¬†He was not even smart. We had spoken maybe three times in life. ¬†What I see is that he had clearly ingested a narrative of what Black woman are as a collective, and projected this myth on to¬†me‚ÄĒa practical stranger. For this he was¬†unceremoniously¬†dismissed.

Honestly, I did not need to be healed; dinner and a movie would have been enough.

The Broken Black Girl archetype‚ÄĒnot unlike the lonely Black girl narrative‚ÄĒ¬†is¬†ubiquitous¬†throughout pop-culture. ¬†Our struggle for identity, voice, and healing from the historical¬†remnants of our storied collective experience is one the should emerge from the margins. Yet, I am¬†convinced¬†that the redemptive power of such stories is often lost. ¬†In particular, this plays out in film: ¬†¬†The Color Purple,¬†Waiting To Exhale, Precious, and ¬†For Colored Girls are immediate examples. Each of the creative works tell the story of a Black woman or multiple Black woman in the throes of pain, hurt, anger and general¬†brokenness. ¬†In fact,¬†Tyler Perry has made an empire on capitalizing from the well-worn tales of damaged Black women. ¬†In his work, they are often¬†redeemed¬†by faith, however, the message of redemption is never the dominant narrative in the story arc. ¬†It is the hurt experience of the “damaged” Black woman that is the focus.

It is time we started telling the stories of not only survival, but emergence and optimization.  I want to hear about Black women doing amazing things and living amazing lives on their own terms.  I want to wrap myself in the stories of yes strong black women, another archetype that is getting a bit stale, but more so fully developed women who are vulnerable, talented, smart, funny, and dynamic as the Black women I know.

I’ve lived a lot of life in these near thirty years, but more than bearing the scars of past hurts‚ÄĒI am embodying the power of¬†resilience that¬†manifest¬† from the downturns in life.¬†I’ve emerged from each hurt experience more wise, and grateful to the universe for trusting me to be a teller of my story and our stories.

I am intentional.  I am courageous.  I am beautiful. I am smart. I am multi-dimensional. I am witty.  I am connected to nature and one with creation.  I am strong and weak.  I am prone to mistakes, but eternally evolving. I am at once grounded, but flying high in the skies.

I am a Black Girl and I am Not Broken.

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3 Comments

  1. love it! (will write more later.)

  2. Wonderful! Yes, I can definitely relate to a man that I am unacquainted with wanting to press the “broken black girl” stereotype on me. I believe the stereotype was his rational as for why I no longer wanted to continue communicating with him. Smh.

    • Thank you Catherine for your comment! I fully commiserate with your with guys wanting to diagnose your disinterest as an emotional malady. For instance, right now I am coming into a season where I just want to be by myself…and that is not that there is anything wrong with me or you; I just want time to just “do me”. Smh is right! Stay encouraged lady; you are a brave bird!


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