I just uploaded that quote onto my Amazon author profile today. I’ve been saying it for the past few months because that’s how I feel in my heart. Zora Neale Hurston famously said, “Black women are the mules of the earth.” Not a particularly encouraging quote, but in our global caste system, it still seems pretty accurate sixty years after her death. I was not raised to believe I was less than anyone else. I grew up in a family that was both educated and comfortably middle class. Over the years that have taken me from young adult to G.A.W. (grown-ass woman), I’ve been startled by men who thought they were inherently smarter than me or white folks who tilted their heads to look at me as if I were an exotic bird. News flash for anyone who needs it – we are more alike than unalike. We may have different physical characteristics and cultures, but at the end of the day, we are all spiritual beings having a human experience. We all want to be happy and find an end to our own suffering.
Black women are known for our status as “double minorities,” an affirmative action twofer. Despite the awkward titles that have been attributed to us, we have risen to some of the highest ranks in science, business, sports, politics and the arts, with names like Mae Jemison, Ann Fudge, Serena Williams, Susan Rice, and Misty Copeland. Even with our successes, we are deeply marginalized and exploited. We exist in the periphery of the mainstream while rooted in the center of our own communities.
I used to volunteer with a microfinance charity. I learned that women in developing countries were targeted for loans because creditors were more confident that women would invest in family and community. They were less likely to squander assets on sex or alcohol the way men sometimes did.
I believe when Black women soar, everyone will glide in the shelter of our wings.
Black children will want for nothing. Black men will exhale. White women will continue to thrive with renewed understanding. White men will expand emotionally. Brown and indigenous people will sigh in relief. All ethnicities will follow in healing.
Zora Neale Hurston is one of my favorite authors and a trailblazer for female writers. Her book, Their Eyes Were Watching God, was a breakthrough in 1937 when it was written and is still a profound story of personal growth and self-love. Even with her talent, she recognized herself as a beast of burden in the eyes of the world. Imagine all the lights that have been turned on inside of people from the work of this one woman.
When the most oppressed among us break free, we are all unstoppable.
I want to see a self-actualized world, beginning with Black women. Close your eyes. Can you see it now too?
Self-actualization is a big goal that happens one impassioned soul at a time. Consider moving in that direction with a few clear steps:
- Start a journal and take note of the activities throughout the day that make you smile most. How can you expand on them?
- Recall the most joyful moments in your childhood. Where were you? What were you doing? Consider revisiting activities that brought you happiness in your youth.
- Create a self-care routine that includes some stillness while awake. You might consider soaking in the tub, seated affirmations, meditation, yoga nidra, restorative yoga or simply a few minutes of stillness, what I call an “adult timeout.”
Know that when you set your mind on a path of love, beauty and service, you are unstoppable.
I wish you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!
P.S. My self-help memoir, Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman’s Guide to Spreading Her Wings is Now Available on Amazon. Get your copy for more juicy tips on living a self-actualized life at trishahjelroberts.com/books And check out my new Amazon Author’s Page at Amazon.com/author/trishahjelroberts The photo is me in my photoshoot last week. I don’t know what made me combine a yogi squat with a chair pose. I suppose I felt unstoppable!