There is this romanticization of brown women being soft. Being forgiving, being understanding. We have always been taught to forgive, always been told to be softer, tamer, to be more understanding. Not just of the men around us but family, even friends.
How many times have you voiced out being hurt, being treated unfairly, to only have someone tell you, be soft, be forgiving, try and understand, just understand?
When he cheats, when he lays his hands on you, they tell us, “understand, he is under a lot of stress, you should understand.” or, “just be thankful he still provides for you.” or, “it happens, don’t worry about it, as long as he comes home to you.” or, “it is what it is, accept it.”
And with family?
“They are family, you have to respect them no matter what, love them no matter what. Family knows best.” or, “it doesn’t matter what they say or do to you, you still have to love them for bringing you into this world.”
Even when it hurts, even when it is your own inflicting pain onto your very existence, family knows best. But it is okay, if the men are not forgiving, not merciful. If men scrutinize us, kick us aside for a simple mistake made, leave us for not satisfying their needs. If the men uses his hands on you, forces you, hurts you. It is okay if his hands are like iron and his eyes, cold. But it is okay, if family is not understanding, not soft. If the family abandons you, hurts you, demeans you, disowns you, family is still family. It is okay if they cut the ties from you but don’t you dare think of untying the strings they have placed around your ankles.
But it is never okay for a brown woman to be hard, to be cold, to unforgiving, unyielding.
We stay soft for the men, for the family while carrying the burden of the world on our shoulders. But do they care? Do they ever care about the brown woman who yearns to be able to have her skin sparking flames? Do they ever care about the brown woman who swallows her anger, her tears and cries blood each night as comfort for her pain? All they want is you to stay soft yet all they do is break the very essence of you.
How long do we have to stay soft? How long do our sands need to stay soft for all the feet to walk over us? How long do we forgive the sins of them breaking our hearts, tainting our souls? Is there power in being soft? Yes, yes. But, but. They never told you.
There is also power in being hard, in being merciless, unforgiving. They have taught us that only men have that power, only men are entitled to that power but they are wrong. They name hurricanes after us but they would never allow us to even step on the ground too hard.
This is me telling you: it is not wrong.
You do not need to stay soft when the world has only been harsh, unkind and unforgiving to you. You do not need to feel guilty for not being able to forgive, not being able to stay soft in your heart. Do whatever you have too, to stop their feet from defiling your lands. even if it means being harsh, even if it means placing glass on your sands.
How long will we let them take our lands, conquer our gold, strip us of our pain and deny us our rage? They have spit on our faces and covered our mouths. But no more, no more. There is no longer a need to be the soft, forgiving, merciful woman that heals, that forgives, that weeps silently, that rages quietly.
Put yourself first, give the softness you’ve been taught to give to the world, to yourself. You owe it to yourself.
And if it hurts, and when he hurts you, and when they hurt you, know that you can scream, you can bleed, you can create thunderstorms, go ahead, do it.
Wreck havoc and let them know that you no longer need to be soft, be tender, be forgiving. There is beauty in being soft, there is strength in being forgiving. There always has been and will be.
But there is beauty in being a havoc, and there is strength in shutting the gates of your lands once and for all in the faces of all the men, of all of those who want to bleed you dry of your rivers, cut your roots, and burn your roses. In the faces of all of those who expect your softness, take advantage of it, misuse it, demand it.
Do not be afraid, your softness does not define you nor does the lack of. It is time to unlearn the ways of the women before us.
Do you ever wonder about the women before you? Whether they weeped quietly? Whether they ever felt anger? Whether they ever even had the chance to be hard on those who conquered them? Do you ever wonder how many times they let go of their own happiness so their men could smile? So their families would rejoice?
Do you ever wonder of their dreams, their hopes? Do you ever wonder if they too wanted to be harsh, unforgiving and merciless? Do you ever wonder? In a brown woman’s world, even wondering stays a wonder.
But now, we learn, we know better. We know now. We have not been placed on this earth to serve the men nor the families we are born into. Yes, even the families. For we too, deserve respect, deserve love, deserve a voice. And we will no longer allow them to conquer that voice, to turn it into something soft, sweet, forgiving. We will claim back with the cry of the fiercest thunder. For the women before us and for the women after us.
Wreck havoc, my brown girl and let them know that your lands are yours. No longer at their feet, no longer quiet.
No longer the petals of the rose they have taught you to be. But the brown woman of rage, demanding for their heads. But the brown woman of hurricanes, screaming your pain. But the brown woman of fire, yearning for their blood.