And the actual wind? The walk around the buildings and corners and sidewalks of this city is a testament to the power of nature and the forces that are out of our control. I have always struggled for a greater sense of control in my life. Why then do I stay in a city like Chicago, full of the intangible, the uncontrollable? Because it is all I know and what I know, I can accept.
Weakness denies one their “blackness.” And maintaining that connection and identity of the community is critical, perhaps even necessary. I struggled with this from a young age. Am I black enough? Are these interests good enough? Am I denying who I truly am by “pretending” that my concerns were in any way similar to the girls around me? For what would I be if not a Strong Black Woman? A weak everywoman, a regular human being. These are not the things that will get one through the unique challenges of the world while black and female. It was strength over everything else, even when strength seemed out of grasp.
I wrote about mental health, stoicism in the black community, and the Strong Black Woman trope. The statistics are not good.
- 63% of African Americans believe depression is a personal weakness versus 54% of the general population.
- Only 31% treat it as a health problem.
- Top barriers to seeking treatment include denial and embarrassment or shame.
I’ve obviously been thinking about this a lot and believe that this is one of the most criminally-ignored issues in the black community.