Strong

The overused terms "strong black woman" and "strong black man" rub me the wrong way. Not because I'm opposed to strength, be it emotional, spiritual or physical, but simply because it doesn't make room for the full spectrum of emotions that black men and women, who are human beings by the way, have had to and still have to contend with.  The “strong” narrative carries exaggerated expectations and stereotypes; ones that we can’t, don’t want to, or find implausible to realize or endure. I’ll be honest and admit that I’m not strong all of the time. Hell, who is? There are times when I feel weak as sh*t and want to sit in my weakness for a while.  Like, I want to recline allllll the way back in it until I am parallel to the floor. Beard, elongated manhood, melanin and muscles be damned. For in my weakness, there is strength to be gained. Not as a t-shirt with the words “strong black _____ ” emblazoned across it nor as a hashtag, either. But as the authentic strength that comes with accepting the truth of one’s self: I am imperfect yet whole and complete.

Strength is just one aspect of one's persona. No one can be strong all of the time.

Black men and women should be able to fully and freely express themselves without repression due to either cultural or societal norms and expectations.