But we are our own sun,
In the darkest of darkness
if the other does not see me, I do see myself
And I surely do I shine!
As I’m following the media turmoil that Donald Trump is creating and seeing that people from non-western countries are answsering back, I can honestly say I feel proud. I usually don’t like to, wether its over the internet or in real life, to go around and emphasize my opression as a black woman, or the fact that I am one. Even if I at most times don’t feel opressed (which is very rare tbh). But Im glad to say I’m happy people in Africa, Haiti or any other country that was called “shitholes” are speaking up for themselves.
I think for anybody it’s not easy to be themselves. 9 out of 10 times you can simply get denied for various reasons. And I contest that 9 out of 10 times I’ve learned you really have to like yourself because 9 out of 10 times you are usually the only person who will accept yourself. Waiting for other people to give you recognition goes further than just a relationship. It goes for work, school and other aspects of personal life. This is why I really liked Amy Sall’s regram with the message from an african man who was preaching about descendant’s from the african continent seeing themselves as a sun that shines even if nobody seems to recognize that they shine. I think this is so important, the quote above is so gently said, yet so powerful sending out the right discourse. And Is something i bring with me along the way. Making me rethink my relationship with myself and re-negotiating the meaning of what it means to see oneself.
For as long as I can remember I haven’t really felt I’ve had any rolemodel. I’ve searched for them, I’ve been ashamed about the fact that I’ve felt I couldn’t relate to anybody and not seeming to like who is supposed to be my rolemodel. When you are not of fair skin, you really don’t have many people who you’re supposed to look up to. And let alone most of the time there maybe isn’t anybody to relate to either. So what do you do? Anguish about it? Not care about it ? Wish you were someone else? I had my parents, thank god – but they were never young and hip enough in my eyes so that means I haven’t really embraced them as rolemodels, as much as I should have.
I also didn’t really relate too much to african american culture growing up. Heck, sometimes I’ve wanted to be Beyoncé but most of the time, not really. And I wasn’t really yearning to be a girl dancing in music videos even though that looked fun. Being from Africa but not growing up in Africa hasn’t helped either. Which at times I believe have just gotten me further away from relating to anybody. So if nobody then, whom ? But also I ask the question, why the lack of diverse representation within the black community? Why is it that there is only a certain kind of black person or woman* to be ?
And I’ve asked myself this numerous time without any anwser. But I’ve also finally stopped. I’ve found some women like me. They may not be superstars, they might not shake their asses on televison (not that its a problem) and they are not starving or in need of being saved. They’re as much as they can be, they’re everything and beyond and even nothing. The black women I’ve found as “rolemodels” you can say, are smart, intellectual and have flaws.
Have all these years of trying to find someone to be perhaps stopped me from seeing me instead ? Or am I finally seing me in these women? Yet at the same time I find it funny it came around the time when I started to give up, give in and accept I do not need to look for them.
Maybe rolemodels are always around, but just look different from what one think they should look like. And also maybe it’s okay to not have one. But let’s face it – it doesn’t hurt to have one!
Text: Rosa Cruz