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Black Women, Your ‘Humility’ Could Be A Trauma Response

“How come you never talk about your successes in the moment?”

“Huh?” I asked, stunned by my friend’s question.

“Like, if we don’t meet up or I don’t ask how you’ve been, you always tell me your good news after it’s happened.”

For once, I was dumbfounded. I’d never noticed this habit before but I couldn’t say Eunice was wrong. After all, I had literally just been telling her my good news over dinner… News she was hearing for the first time although we’d been in regular contact before our meet-up.

Her intent gaze probed me for an answer from across the table.

 “I’m not sure,” I finally said in defeat. “I’ll have to mull it over.” 

When this pattern of behaviour came under scrutiny again with a different friend a few weeks later, I knew it was time to give it some serious thought. Primarily, I discovered, I was afraid that my successes would make my loved ones feel bad, to the point that they would either deride or disassociate from me.