Did you choose you or did someone else tell you who to be?

How did you come to be who you are? Did you choose the person you are or did someone else-society, religion, your parents-tell you who to be?

Recently I served as a panelist as part of a discussion on black woman, stereotypes and the #MeToo movement. The discussion centered on the stereotypes associated with black women and how those stereotypes helped perpetuate sexual violence against black women and how those stories are or are not being told in this time of #MeToo.

During the discussion the topic of black womanhood came up, specifically, what it means to be a black woman. My response was that as women, we came into our womanhood in a patriarchal society and that our womanhood has been defined by others. Men. A society that is male centered and male dominated has decided what the standards for being a woman are and women themselves have perpetuated this standard. Men have decided the standards for what a woman should be, how she should dress, how she should speak, how she should behave, wear her hair, who she should date and most importantly, her sexuality.  And all of it is based on the needs, wants and desires of males.

Question for you: Did you as a woman have a say in setting the standard for who you are as a woman or did you fall in line with what was dictated to you? Do you sit quietly when you really have the desire to roar because you have been told that a lady is not loud? Do you stand by when you seen an injustice being committed against others when the warrior spirit in you really wants to fight against that injustice? Do you forgo the short miniskirt that set your heart ablaze when you first saw it or do you choose the more “appropriate” longer skirt because society says that only whores wear dresses that short?

My point is to inspire you to think about how you became who you are. If you are not  being the woman you really want to be then I encourage you to courageously explore who you really are, what it is that you really like and what womanhood means for you  and start on the path to becoming that woman. Know that you are supported every step of the way by the Divine. After all, it is the Divine who created you.

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