Sharing Your Story: The Sisterhood Files, Part 2

It seems everyone wants to be portrayed as perfect.  I find this especially true among black women- the need to present themselves flawless amongst other women.  We, as women, have a tendency to go through great lengths to perfect the elaborate details of our outer appearance, not to impress men, but to outshine other women.  It is my belief that most men could care less about, and moreover, don’t even notice the details.  Men have the wonderful ability to assess the overall package without dissecting how that package comes together.  This is very similar to their ability to see the forest without paying attention to the trees, or leaves, or tree trunks, colors and shading, or density like we, as women, have a tendency to do.
So it is no surprise that women go through great lengths to hide any and all flaws both externally and internally.  While the external is superficial and holds no real value, it is the hiding of internal flaws that hinder both the progress of self and of others.  There was once a time long ago when black women would find power and strength in sharing their story, better known as the testimony.  These testimonies would encourage others going through similar situations and serve as a therapeutic release for those giving the testimony.  The black social circles were also a way of passing along pertinent information to help the progress of an entire people.  But now, it is every woman for herself.  You have to find your own way.  I don’t know if it is so much that women don’t want to help as much as they don’t want to tarnish their image in the process of helping.   So as such, many women face the challenges of – abortions, marriages, spirituality, miscarriages, divorce, sexual health, rearing children, owning businesses, education, home ownership, and careers – mostly on their own.  Sure there are usually some small circles available that a woman may or may not feel comfortable sharing but there is no collective mindset or medium to share best practices and lessons learned to aid the progress of black women.
We need some more Harriet Tubmans that are willing to risk it all to go back to show other women the way.  But it seems the more popular sentiment is to say, “Oh, I made it, so good luck to you! You’re on your own.”  And I am fully aware that this problem is not exclusive to black women and can be easily carried over as a black people problem.  But I see more discord among black women than black men in professional arenas so much they will act like they don’t see the only other black woman working in the office in an effort to maintain their position and status. I’ve heard too many instances of black women avoiding having lunch as to not be seen as black women having to be viewed as the two black women that hang out together.  Well, don’t look know, but white people go to lunch together all the time and often get promoted one behind the other.  My point is there is great power in shared experiences and knowledge.  So don’t be so reluctant to share your story focusing on what people may think about you.  After being helped by your story, they will probably be grateful and focus less on the your trees, and more on your forest.

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