Type in ‘quotes on black women pain and loss’ into Google and the majority of your search results, or at least the first page, will bring up links related to being a ‘Strong Black Woman’.
It’s unsurprising when you think about the pervasiveness of that age old ‘Strong Black Woman’ trope, but irritating nonetheless on a good day. On a bad day? It burns. I’ve spent the last few weeks in a place I’ve never found myself before. Not a physical location as such, but a moment – a moment that feels never-ending and I suppose in many ways it is never ending because after an insurmountable loss, how can anything ever be the same again? I’ve been grieving over the loss of a dear friend. I’ve been grieving in a way that has been unkind to myself. It has been an intense, perplexing, overwhelming and isolating experience so far and has catapulted me into very deep self-reflection. I am hyper-aware of my mortality, struggling with notions of forgiveness – forgiving myself for feeling like I could have ‘done more’ or ‘tried harder’ or ‘called more often’, been ‘more present’. I’m also battling bitterness over feeling like some of my ‘closest friends’ have abandoned me when I needed them the most.