In case anyone was wondering, I am a black female. I have a little more than that thrown in there (my mom is white/black and my biological father is black), but I identify as black. I’d like to identify as nothing, but hey. Not because I hate being black, but because I’m tired of race and separation. I wish people saw my soul and not my body. But then at the same time, I like seeing different races. Different shades. It adds some spice to life. But when I was younger, I hated being black. I also hated being female. This one is hard for me to write because I still don’t think I’ve completely forgiven myself for having felt this way in the past. I’m ashamed and it’s hard to admit. But I also don’t feel it was all my own beliefs. I’ll get more into that later.
I had these deep, negative beliefs that black people were less worthy and that females were too. Women in general were “weak” and black women were “ugly”. I developed a hatred for black men. Black men were “mean”. I also had anger toward white people. It was more of a jealousy though. They had more things going for them. Let’s be honest. I just hated everyone. I hated myself and I hated everyone else too. I wasn’t aware of any of this until I began my healing journey about four years ago. I suppressed it. No wonder I had so much anxiety all my life.
I never talked about this stuff with my parents. We never talked about feelings when I was younger. I learned by observing and listening. I’m an extremely sensitive person. I’m empathic. Meaning I feel what others feel. I have “x-ray vision” on people’s soul. Except instead of seeing it, I feel it. I can identify what is causing people pain because I feel it. I don’t like to tell people that too much because I don’t want people to feel violated? It’s a gift though so I should be using it, and I do to a degree, but I don’t talk about it much. Everyone has the ability to feel empathy, its just the more pain we have, it sort of suppresses that ability. Anyway, my point in mentioning it is because most of my life I didn’t have emotional boundaries. I absorbed what other people were feeling and took it in as my own. I had no sense of self. So what maybe my mom or dad or society believed, I began to believe too. I mean we all did that. A lot of us are still doing that.
Body language was very important when I was growing up since we didn’t really discuss feelings and what was going on within. I would observe and interpret little things like people’s excitement level and their eye contact. For instance, I started getting my hair relaxed/permed in my pre-teen years. We had it done because it made my hair easier to comb. I got more attention and nice comments when my hair was relaxed, so as a child I interpreted it as I’m only pretty when my hair is relaxed and straightened. I won’t get love unless my hair is relaxed. See, that’s a negative belief, but that’s what happens. Children observe what’s going on around them and develop beliefs based off that whether it’s true or not.
As a child, I thought women were weak because I thought women couldn’t live without a man. Women were helpless. My mom suffered bouts of depression and I always thought it had to do with my dad. That he wasn’t around. That’s a negative belief I developed. As I mentioned earlier, talking about feelings was not something we did growing up. They were seen as a weakness. And because I was an emotional being, I saw it as meaning I was weak. My dad seemed to enjoy my brother’s company more and be more comfortable around him. He seemed to criticize me more than my brother. So I believe all of this combined created my hatred of being a female. That was just at home though. Then you have media and school. I believe my hatred for black men stemmed from the way I was treated by my step-father and biological father and how they treated my mother.
That is the past and now I’m learning to forgive and love. I’m aware of my negative thoughts and beliefs now. And I’ve been acknowledging them and replacing them with more positive beliefs. That’s what this whole healing journey has been about. Letting go of negative beliefs that have been holding me back in life, that aren’t my true self, and learning to love myself. Learning to love myself and forgive myself for my mistakes and ignorance helps me understand and love others. I understand why people do what they do and think the way they do. It has helped me to forgive. I no longer believe women are weak or black women are ugly or black men are mean. The strongest people I know are women. I no longer am jealous of white people because I know I am capable of success too. It might be a little more work, but it is possible. We can change, we just have to be aware of our negative beliefs, let them go, and then replace them with positive beliefs. Women are strong. Black women are beautiful. Black men are loving. We can change. It doesn’t happen overnight, it depends on how ingrained the belief is and how much work we put into changing, but we can change.
-Sonja Jackson, OpenHeartTin