Working in our society can be challenging. Over the years, the workplace landscape has changed. More and more women are working and flourishing into roles that were invisibly labeled “men only”. However, working while a black woman has many more hurdles than anyone in the job market. A variety of topics from how we wear our hair, to our demeanors to the way our bodies are shaped are all hyper scrutinized.
Many reports stated black women are often the most underwater flower that blooms and often the most unprotected. I prescribe to a different school of thought, in which we black women embrace our differences and use them to flourish. As a black woman, working in variety of industries from high school to now as a graduate student, I have found my lack of bubbly like demeanor and highly educated thoughts have caused much mental distress. Many times, being stereotyped before getting out of the gate felt unfair. I knew from an early age I had to work triple hard as being black, a woman and growing up poor would make it harder for me to have a life I desired. I use to allow this to make me alter who I was. The end results were me burning out rapidly and thus being discarded.
Over the years I began to show less of me in order to get a tiny taste of success. Inside, I felt like a fraud as I knew my thoughts weren’t taking me far and ultimately hindering my growth. Many wanted to take credit for corralling this talent by sharing possible positive spirited advice that was nothing more than completely saying I’m not good enough as I am. Advice spanned from being more docile or more blonde, to never wearing my natural hair in non-straighten styles to simply not speaking truth in order to make others feel more comfortable.
One day it finally clicked to me the areas that I felt most proud such as being passionate, a fighter and wanting everyone to be their best by being honest made me great and should be appreciated. In my role as a corporate trainer, I’m faced with having to train a variety of people who believe I shouldn’t be in my role. I use my ability to be swift on my feet, ability to reach a wide variety and storytelling skills to win over even the most negative individuals. I use my gems of being a black woman to not just excel but to also excite the same in others especially other black women. Being a black woman is a true marvel as so many desire our wondrous traits yet we carry such a privilege of strength.
Instead of attempting to taper who you are, I encourage you to truly celebrate the greatness of being a black woman. From being natural problem solvers, turning ideas into profits, and being able to do it all the while being fabulous. Your hair defies gravity and your richness is never ending. Our smiles can light up a room while being a natural tension easier. You are a black woman a true gift to the world in and out of the office. Take account your weaknesses, harness your strengths and allow that to be fuel to ignite.
I leave you with this powerful quote from the late yet greatest Dr. Angelou “I can’t believe my good fortune. I’m so grateful to be a Black woman. I would be so jealous if I were anything else." Anytime I feel as though others don’t accept me I’m reminded that to be different one has stand out and I do that naturally by being who I was created to be.
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