I wrote this post for Flawed Thoughts some months and decided this first Wednesday in Black History Month is the perfect time to bring it out over here. I do this with the reality of being a black woman in 2010 and with the knowledge of each of the books I read in this class (where I got an A) and the characters from Hurston’s Janie to Marshall’s Selina. Those women and their self and being live on in each and every one of us (and the men who loved them and love us) Today I salute who I am, who they were and who we will all be. Enjoy!
My senior year of college I took this magnificent class on Black women writers. The basis of the course was to discern between womanself and womanbeing. Before I go on any further let me stop and define both of these things:
Womanself is who you really are without putting on pretenses for others.
Womanbeing is what you have to show the world you are.
The best example of this I can give is in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, during a funeral for her husband, Janie tells us that she has “starched and ironed her face” into sorrow, but in her mind she is running through fields of flowers. Her being is grieving because that’s what people expect her to do, while herself is so glad he is gone she is running through fields of flowers.
As I grow older, I am forced to stop and think about myself versus my being. I know that society expects me to be this hardened and strong woman. I am able to handle all things…For my family I am the rock. I can hold it all together, make sure everyone feels loved and make sure everyone feels good like they need to feel. For my employer, I am early to get there then I stay late and then I bring work home with me. And when all that is said and done, I have to be his woman. I have to cook, clean and wash everything…and still manage to put it down in the bedroom. Ha. That’s my being…professionally intense, personal controlled. This is my being.
As for myself, She is still tough as nails, but she wears her heart on her sleeve, like most people wear smiles. My heart is weak and it aches and sometimes I wonder if it can take anymore, but then I know I have to…simply because it is my right and I deserve it. In fact, my self…well she’s always smiling really because she’s got a story to tell and she knows where she is, where she has been and where she’s going. In fact, what makes myself even better is I know who I have to be….
Ladies, do you know the difference between your being and your self? Do you subscribe to the duality that exist within ourselves? For the men, do you ever feel like the woman in your life has to struggle to maintain too many roles? Does anyone feel themselves overwhelmed trying combine the two?