Dear Black Woman

Dear Black Woman,

Over the last few months I’ve been stripped of the youthful conviction that my meager existence had falsely awarded me. At night, I’d lay alone wondering if I had a place in this world, if it was worth living, if I could look someone in the eye and tell them, with confidence, that I am a man with purpose. That my dreams are going to change lives. That my vision matters. That I matter.

In my younger days I’d wonder what it meant to be a man. Teenage adolescence made me to believe in there being some grand arrival when I’d become the man I was meant to be, and that I’d do it on my own. And that I’d stand tall on the mountain and admire my work. Conqueror of goals: a self-made man, sharing his conquest with no one.

However, I found myself face-to-face with external forces and a battle to conform to “the way the world works,” questioning myself. Who am I? What am I doing? What do I stand for? And so, as I’ve done all my life, I turned to you.

I’ve always been in awe of you. The way you carry yourself. The battles you fight, both for me and for you. How you’ve raised me to love myself and to care for you. How you’ve shielded me in my weakest moments, never asking for anything in return. How you’ve been beaten down by the very forces you protect and care for, knowing that the love you give is like none other. So you repress yourself. Internalize the pain, channel your beauty, love yourself. The “Strong Black Woman.”

I dig deep, searching for you in all that I do. I summon your strength in the face of danger, your joy in the face of fear, your resilience when doubt seeps in.

As a kid I loved fantasy novels. They allowed me to experience the trials and tribulations of fantastic beings who succeed against all odds. As I’ve grown into a man, I now see that the heroes I’ve been reading about have been with me all my life.

Dear Black Woman, though I wander, because of you, I have never been lost.


A Saved Man