As I embark upon the final weeks of my 20s, I’ve decided to take a new philosophy into my 30s that will hopefully lead to a positive impact throughout the rest of my life. More importantly, I hope that this trend will help to inspire the upcoming new year for other black women who have ever doubted their placement, their dreams, their mission in life.
I always knew that I was someone special and had a story to tell with such a vocal stance on so many points, but over time I allowed society and people who I thought cared about me to deflect me from my true mission. Even people who meant nothing, I allowed for them to shape me as a person when they could care absolutely less about my genuine success.
As black women, at some point we’re taught to accept mediocrity even though we know we’re worth more. More or less, society has conditioned us to not question what we receive. If we do, we’re chastised for not being thankful for what we have, which then causes for us to settle in a number of ridiculous ways. We accept when we “can’t do something” no matter how much it bothers us — whether it’s a promotion, career choice, living situation, or just being independent in some capacity. We accept a man dogging us or not getting the man we want. We should be happy that at least some men have good jobs and that they want us despite we’re getting older, that we should just take it and be happy so we can get married and start our own families rather than trying to find a home to stumble on for the holidays.
We compromise too much; really, we sacrifice our wants and needs for the sake of either someone else previously sacrificing their own. Or we sacrifice our necessities for the sake of society not being in turmoil, for the sake of things not changing, for the sake of keeping Trump and Nazi sympathizers comfortable when the Civil Rights and feminist and gay pride movements were allegedly decades ago but we’re still not seeing what we fought, bled, and died for. Yes, as black women, that’s why we settle every time. To make someone else comfortable. Because, apparently, their comfort is more important than our own or our legacies. Their earthly comfort is more important than stamps we place on this world after our bodies turn cold and our physical beings cease to exist.
But how would we change the world if we didn’t sacrifice our feelings for anything? Like Cardi B, a former stripper and a regular girl from the Bronx (who many believe doesn’t have much of an education, but don’t be fooled). Regardless, she is/was smart enough to use society’s insecurities to better and build herself. Who said that an exotic dancer can’t be featured on a cable television show? Who said that an exotic dancer couldn’t have THAT MUCH personality that she would have national fans and followers? Who would’ve believed that she would choose to LEAVE the show to pursue a rap career? Better yet, she’s real. She played the game to make it seem like she was a simple hoodrat who could conform to mainstream standards that she couldn’t step outside of the mold. But she did. Besides having the No. 1 single on the Billboard charts, besides becoming a household name for many, besides having nearly an all-white cast of Victoria’s Secret models rapping her lyrics during their largest show of the year, despite having every man crushing on her, besides building herself literally from the ground up, she’s a black woman reminding our community that there’s more to life than living in the moment. (And by black, again, I refer to any person with traceable African roots. Remember, less than 5 percent of slaves during the diaspora came to the U.S.)
Cardi B has managed to keep us all on track that as women of color, we have greater things to pursue than living for men. Than dedicating our life to earthly men. Than sacrificing our purposes for the comfort of others. By forgetting that we breathe air the same way that they do — the same air. Instead, she’s searching for what will ultimately uplift HER brand. Finding a man wasn’t her brand; he was just an accessory. So, why should our voices and concerns not be heard? Why accept that black women are the bottom of the totem poll when we designed, constructed, clothed, decorated, and said where the totem poll was going to be placed?
As a woman soon to enter my 30s, this 20-something taught me so much. As black women, we should concern ourselves with conquering the world. When we’re younger, we don’t necessarily understand this concept because we’re shown a different path. But we get wiser as we get older. And some are wiser from an earlier start.
With a history that has been so demoralizing and dehumanizing, black women have no choice but to triumph over any devil’s armageddon. We’ve dealt with it, our mothers and aunts dealt with it, and unfortunately we will pass the same struggle on to our daughters because it’s embedded within our DNA. But rather than waller in the depression and filth, we should use it to our advantage and sincerely OWN SHIT. Honestly, any woman of color within the U.S. has the ability to turn the shit show she’s been dealt into the ultimate show where everyone wants to have a role.