As Black women, we wear society's wants, prejudices and fears on our beautiful skin. Since caricatures of Black and Brown women are so widely exported, many people feel as though they already "know" and "understand" the Black female experience. People are quick to tell us who we are, what we like and what we are capable of becoming. Many times our personal narrative gets interrupted by static: sweeping generalizations and trite stereotypes. Some times it's hard to hear our own voice over all the noise: "Black girls don't X" "Brown women always X" "You can't be a Black girl and X". There is a new generation of WOC rising from a rich history and an ever-changing present. Here are some suggestions to help shed the weight of the past, and transform yourself into a carefree black girl!
You have nothing to be sorry for. Stop taking the responsibility for other people's mis-calculated projections of who they think you should be. That's on them, not you! You don't have to be sorry, you have to be yourself. That's your only responsibility. One thing that you absolutely cannot control is other people's expectations. You don't owe them anything. You're not in this world to make people feel comfortable, safe or entertained. In the words of poet Big Sean: "F your two cents if they ain't goin' towards the bills". Let them clutch their pearls, scratch their heads, and wonder: but stop apologizing.
Eliminate words like "should" and "used to" from your vocabulary. These words and expressions act like chains holding us back from growing and moving forward. You're under no obligation to be the same person you were as a teenager, last year, or last month. What you're "used to" doing wasn't getting you the results you wanted or deserved. So make a change. Again, you're under no obligation to stay still. Stagnancy is slow and boring. Stigmas, stereotypes and judging from afar is safe, warm and reassuring because there's no risk involved. The key to being a carefree Black girl is accepting yourself as you are in this moment and acknowledging that it is within your right to change. Don't be a statue: you're a living, breathing work of art.
Fine Tune Your Squad
Who do you spend your time with? Look around you, and ask yourself truthfully: are the people in your immediate circle positive, empowering, encouraging and supportive? Are they simply fixtures that take up space on a shelf?
Well, that space is prime real estate, and you deserve a squad that elevates. Also, that whole tearing one another down for no reason is old. Ladies, we're stronger together. There's enough people in the world whose only goal to to break us down: let's not do their job for them. Who inspires you? Janelle Monae? Solange? Amandla Stenberg? Willow Smith? Your Mom? Be inspired and be encouraged no matter who you're with. You don't have to carry the world on your shoulders alone.
Know When To Say "That's Enough"
Not every battle is yours. Not every comment, look, or side-eye requires a response. It's okay to not fight all the time. It's okay to be tired of the pressure and expectations the world places on our strong, but human shoulders. Black women are not born hard or cold. We smile, and laugh, and damn it, we like cupcakes and septum piercings, mermaid-colored hair and John Mayer! There's no way to be Black or Brown or a Woman. Let's unfurrow our brows, stop thinking so hard, and just be. Be authentic. Be notorious.
It's human nature to try and put things into neat boxes so that our brain can organize the millions of thoughts and functions it has to perform on a day-to-day basis. Sorry, brain: this generation of carefree Black girls refuses to be stifled. We can be everything, and nothing all at the same time!
The rules are changing: there are no more rules.
Danni, Community + Content Director at Las Morenas de España, is a twenty-something, Chicago native currently residing in Madrid. Lover of language, words, and travel, she's managed to combine all of her passions through her work. In her free time, you can find her exploring the winding streets of Madrid, hunting down good flight deals, planning her next adventure and writing & researching for LMDES. Danni loves spicy food, natural hair, music and of course, her wonderful life partner. If you need to find her, she’s the girl with huge hair and her face buried in her Kindle.