Speaking from experience, I was taught that you NEVER talk about what’s going on inside of your home to anyone outside of your home. That seed was planted early — “we don’t want people knowing our business” — don’t ask, don’t tell.
When you start to realize that you need some help to resolve your childhood trauma or, you get clear that toxic behavior, low self-esteem and everything else in between is STILL holding you hostage in your life— and you happen to mention it to another (Black) family member, you have to be prepared to answer a million questions on WHY?, in addition to the prayer circle they will start immediately, in hopes that you will choose to just “pray IT away.”
Probably throw in a pinch of “pray the gay away” while you’re at it (because you know, 2 for 1, I guess).
No wonder we are so afraid to get help or admit we are struggling sometimes.
You get labeled as some sort of a traitor or “too emotional.” Black families tend to be concerned about how they look to other people. You’ve already been the conversation at the family gatherings because you’re gay af as it is. Now, you have the audacity to want to go to THERAPY or get a LIFE COACH. This can lead you to feel ostracized.
How dare you spill the [family] beans? Black people don’t go to therapy!
And, this is what makes it so hard to ask for help. It makes it so much harder to heal and to grow.
All because you want to learn healthy ways to deal with whatever you are going through, to break a cycle of pain, choosing to be empowered, healed— learning how to forgive and how to love yourself more.
You would hope that the people who LOVE would want YOU to love YOU and would be down for whatever could give that gift to YOU.
Do you realize you don’t have to hold on to guilt and pain and secrets? — all the stuff that is shredding you to pieces inside? You really don’t.
As lesbians of color, we are LITERALLY killing ourselves because we have been taught to feel SHAME around asking for help.
There are so many of us that get sucked into believing that keeping secrets is normal and that we are supposed to suck up our pain and disappointment and just, move on. We have been programmed to believe that it’s better to save face versus get help.
It’s time to BREAK the silence.
Repeat after me: “There is NOTHING wrong with asking for help if I need it.”
There are people out here (like me and a ton of my colleagues) making it our business to SHOW UP for you because, not only are we are qualified to teach you the tools you need to heal and grow, but we already share so much in common with you. I know where you’re coming from. We are cut from the same cloth.
Make today the LAST day you CHOOSE to feel shame around getting help— whatever help you need. You deserve to feel better. If you can’t come up with solutions by yourself, it’s ok to reach out to someone who can guide you through the process.
The life you save will be YOUR OWN. Literally. Believe me.
Love yourself enough to know that you must leave the opinions of family, friends and society behind. Choose YOU for once. Shatter the notion that you are weak because you need support. It takes a STRONG woman to recognize when she could use a hand and it takes an even stronger woman to follow through with doing something about what she knows she can change.
Remember, though you are not alone, only you alone can make the decision to break the cycle.