I’m sure the title sounds dramatic, but I’m trying to get your attention here.
Black women all over the world are some of the most stressed out people on the planet. We work hard and raise our families in conditions that are wayyyyyyy less than ideal in a world that mostly caters to men and white people. In other words, we have the short end of the stick no matter how you cut it. Outside of mother earth herself, it’s hard to find a group that’s been marginalized and exploited worse.
And so after reading yet another article about how black women are affected at a disproportionate rate by some horrible ailment (this time maternal death in child birth) I had to ask*…
WHY CAN’T BLACK WOMEN SEEM TO CATCH A FRICKING BREAK?!?!
This question plagued me day after day. It plagued me while doing yoga at the gym. It plagued me during my evening meditation. It plagued me while cooking dinner with my husband. It plagued me at my Black women’s writing group. It plagued me while I did all of these wonderful self-care things that always managed to lift my spirits, relieve my stress, keep me healthy and help me to connect with the world around me. And then it hit me… most of us aren’t doing these things. A phone call with my sister proved my point. In between her yelling at her rambunctious children (she has 5 total and a father in-law and a husband who live with her… so I guess you can say she’s taking care of 7 people in all) I could barely get a word in.
“Caressa, are you meditating?” I asked her.
“Am I what? Hold on… DON’T SHUT THE DOOR CAYLEE! (pause) WELL, LET YOUR SISTER IN AND THEN SHUT THE DOOR! Uh, yeah… meditating. No. (laughs) What’s that?"
My family has a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and breast cancer. We also have a history of being caretakers for everyone on God’s green earth except ourselves. With all of the benefits of meditation, we should be at the top of the list of people who practice this form of self-care but guess what? We’re not. And my family is far from special. I can count on one hand how many Black women that I know personally who meditate. And I know way too many hard-working, selfless Black women for this to be something that I can say with confidence.
Could you imagine what kind of world we would live in if we started to heal the group that is most at risk for stress related illnesses? I can. It would be a wonderful place.
And so my venture has begun. I’m asking as many people to join this cause as possible. It’s small right now but I’m patient. Yes, I’m targeting this movement toward Black women but I invite all women and men to join us. We are changing the world starting with the group that gets overlooked and overworked the most and working our way out from there.
So I will end by saying this… Black women, I see you. I see the work you put in for your families. The work you put in at your jobs. The stress. The trauma. The feeling of being ignored. Wondering when you can catch a break. The treatment that you get from others. I see you and I will continue to fight for you. We’re all in this together. Let’s save ourselves. Only then can we start to see real change in this world.
*Sex and the City reference :)