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So I had the pleasure of hosting an event by Ms. Marie Gathers-Hammond called Conversational Fridays. This event promotes the conversations of issues and topics that aren't often discuss in the black community. It allows everyone to have a voice and speak on their perspectives and effects that these issues have on us as well. I was truly honored that Ms. Marie would think of me this way to host such an enlightening event.

The event opened up with their guest speaker Darnell Geathers from his organization Friday Night Lights and he spoke on the origin of his platform and how he's utilizing it towards helping our community. Later, we got into the conversation of learning how to let go and love yourself, which made a turn into the direction of......yes the black woman. Mr. Geathers spoke on how typically black women hold a lot of baggage and hold those bags over the heads of our black men. Leaving them to have to carry the burden of hurt and pain, an asking of them (the men) what we in turn wouldn't ask of ourselves. He spoke on to say why do "we" (black women) go into relationships knowing that we aren't ready and expecting to be love the way we aren't loving ourselves? Of course that got the room engaged and in action (because of course the room was majority black women) enough to have one of Mr. Geathers supporters speak on how sometimes as women we have no knowledge on the hurt we have, so how are we able to determine what we are or aren't ready for?

Of course that resulted into a lot of back in forth and you know I put my two cents in, however I couldn't totally disagree with Mr. Geathers. Yes, we as women do carry a lot of baggage and directly or indirectly lay our burdens on our partners but I don't believe it's with the intentions for them to assume the responsibility.  I also don't believe that it's only women and we collectively as people tend to drag our dirty laundry where it seems to be clean ones. See, how Mr. Geathers feels isn't far from the popular opinion of the average black woman. We can honestly say we are use to hearing the cliches of bitter, broken, angry, and lonely as a surname to  the "black woman." These are our stigmas.

So how did we get here? How did we become the face of the "Bag Lady"? How did we become the poster child for bitter, lonely, and angry?  I for one feel in order to rid stigmas, we have to understand where they came from and why. Are we bitter??? Yes! Are we angry??? Yes! Are broken, lonely, scorn, and scarred?? Of course, we're human and through life and experiences comes brokenness, anger, bitter, and exclusion. However, that's a human emotion and not black woman's emotion.  Who doesn't get angry and hasn't felt bitter or resent after circumstances in life? So I'd own those emotions, I wouldn't fight them because they got there for a reason. We as black women have allowed society to place everyday, human, life emotions become a stigma for us, when we aren't the only ones who feel this way and go through these things. Of course we can't be our emotions and we have to find ways to channel and make those issues make us better; but why should we feel ashamed or resentful towards common emotions that are experience by everyone.   

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