It’s Time for Radical Healing
“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another” — Toni Morrison, Beloved
Existing at the intersection of gender and racial oppression, and the onslaught of misogynoir these two systems produce, creates an environment where Black women are simultaneously garnered hyper-visible and invisible. We are expected to know better, while at the same time having our expertise consistently questioned. We are expected to save democracy while concurrently being disenfranchised. We are chastised for being “too much,” while, in the same breath, asked to take up more space. When swimming in a pool of toxicity and dehumanization that insists on placing us inside of such a rigid binary, how do we as Black women — a group historically and systematically denied grace, respect, and compassion — affirm our own humanity? Most of my written work these days, whether focusing on the imposter syndrome or the value of rest, centers on wrestling with this question.
In the past, when I found myself pushing against my own humanity and limits, I’d tell myself to cope to the best of my ability. This loosely translated to enduring what I could to get to the next stop, which always seemed to fluctuate. Sometimes, it was enduring until I reached the end of grad school, and, at other more stressful moments, it meant enduring until I reached the end of the week. After enduring, I told myself I deserved rest — that I had earned it.
As I grow more reflective and more critical of the systems that permit me to view softness as contingent on productivity, I’m realizing the restrictions to this method of (dys)function. What I’m coming to appreciate is that honoring my humanity doesn’t have to necessarily be a daunting inquiry, but rather it can be a question bursting with possibilities. How has oppression robbed me of the ability to envision something better for myself and for other Black women? How do I give myself permission to imagine a world where my humanity isn’t just affirmed, but also prioritized? How do I begin to conceptualize a reality where the focus isn’t on coping with compounded oppression, but centered on healing?
I will be posting about this more on Medium. I hope you’ll stick with me as we unpack these possibilities and imagine a new way of being and existing that centers our humanity. Given my research, clinical training, and general life experience as Black and woman, I’m excited to share my thoughts on challenges to being human such as the imposter syndrome and the practice of radical self-acceptance and radical healing.