The first time I saw my mother cry, I was about 3. It was the worst, most helpless feeling I have ever had. I told myself that anyone that made my mother cry was bad, and I never wanted her to cry over something I said or did to her.
In this, the 36th summer of life, I haven’t kept that promise, and I, too, have cried in front of my daughters. The thing I never wanted to do, or have them see.
Why is this? Let me off you this…
There is this myth surrounding black women. That we are hard, unyielding, and callous—bitter, sour and mean.
Far from true.
We’ve been taught that we have to become and embody a strength reserved for God and to the envy of other people. We’re seen as these women devoid of the weight of emotion, but assigned with the burden of man.
I cry most when my children can’t see me because I want them to remain children. I want them to maintain their innocence the world strips from little black girls.
I cry where they can’t see me to remind myself I am owed myself. I’m a owed space to grieve, process and acknowledge what is happening to me. I get to be human.
Self-care is always seen as a luxury black women, sometimes. Like we don’t “need” space to “breathe and be”. We do. We are women like anyone else and deserve that same respect and luxury to rest and emote.
Mamas cry when you can’t see them to release. We cry when you can’t see them to regroup, to allow for grief not to overtake and make you bitter.
Mama is our superhero selves.
But we still suit up, every day…even when Kyptonite is present.