Sister, Why Are You So Bitter?

Brief disclaimer: I am writing this directed towards black women because I myself am one, was raised by one, I am the sister to some and inspired by others.

This is based on experience…

Let the media tell it, black women are mean, rude, cold, emotionless, judgmental and always complaining. Basically anything negative…that’s us! Not only are these words hurtful, they also have a negative connotation and don’t reflect all black women but it does speak volumes.

Truth be told, black women have it hard. First, we’re women which is a challenge. Second, we’re black and combing both means we have to work harder, think smarter and move faster. On top of that we have to be a strategist; cooking, cleaning, working, going to school, catering to a man (sometimes a woman) all while remaining motivated and hoping everything turns out successful. Now, how the heck do you expect someone to smile and bat their lashes while doing all of that? Yes, I know it’s hard and sometimes never ending but does it have to be? Do you have to walk around carrying your entire burden on your back, all the time?

Case in point, Keyshia Cole, you can’t help but to like her. Her “around the way girl” appeal, multicolor hair, ever-changing hairstyles, her relatable lyrics and that feeling she gives you when you’re going through it! “ummhmm, Keyshia! That’s how I’m feeling!” So when I saw she was coming back to BET with another show, not only was I interested but also excited. Even though, I felt betrayed, my around the way home girl had transitioned into a wife and a mother … who was going to tell me I should have cheated and to change my mind now? I was happy for her progression and comeback, so I thought…

The first episode left me a tad confused. She came off as smug, cold and often disconnected from her husband. Instead of jumping to conclusions I channeled my inner Monica and wrote it off as her having “just one of those days”, we are all human and we have them.

The following week I tuned in again and Keyshia was the same exact way, in fact she was more unreasonable, emotionless and guarded. She finally had some of what she wanted; a husband who clearly loves her to death (every word he speaks is about her and him thanking God for her), a cutie potie child and guess what… Frankie is clean. Yet, she seemed more displeased than before. I couldn’t help but to ask my television…Sister, why are you so bitter?

Yes, she had a hard life but who hasn’t had hardships? Like her, there are plenty of black women who have dealt with abandonment, a mother or a parent an addicted to drugs, a man who has treated them unfairly, not receiving the respect and appreciation she deserves. In life you are given challenges but those challenges aren’t meant to define you but instead to make you a better person – give you a lesson. But like Ms. Cole, plenty of black women wear their hurt on their sleeve, sporting it and wondering why they’re so damn miserable.

One song that should be on every woman’s iPod and listened to once a week is Erykah Badu’s “Bag Lady”

Bag lady you gone miss your bus
You can’t hurry up
Cause you got too much stuff
When they see you comin
Men take off runnin
From you it’s true oh yes they do…

Girl I know sometimes it’s hard
And we can’t let go
Oh when someone hurts you oh so bad inside
You can’t deny it you can’t stop crying
So oh, oh, oh
If you start breathin
Then you won’t believe it
You’ll feel so much better…

By holding on to every hurt from your past not only does it injure you as a person, also has the potential to block blessings. Your eyes are so red with anger that you can’t see the light and positivity anywhere.

There was a scene where Keyshia and her husband went to couple’s therapy; although reluctant he agreed to go. Keyshia expressed her complaints and the therapist tried to get Keyshia and her husband to stop making generalizations about each other and to look at the bright side, Keyshia was not fazed. She sat their firm in her ways and it was even painful to watch. Everything she said about her spouse was negative, instead of coming to therapy (she suggested) with an open mind, her heart was cold and her guard was all the way up. She blocked all the love her husband was showing her but hold on to all the pain she built up and for what? Nothing came of the meeting and there was a point when her spouse suggested he would leave if this had all continued. A prime example, that when holding on to pain, we slowly begin to categorize people based on past hurt and it the long run, future relationships are damaged.

I’m not saying that I skip through meadows, holding flowers and singing happy songs every day and I’m no Iyanla Vanzant, but as I grow older I’ve been slowly understanding the importance of happiness and letting go. Your adversities don’t have to haunt, unless you want them to. The generalization of black women being mean may not be forgotten once you drop your pain and sorrow, but your own personal happiness will increase.

Keyshia’s season is far from over, I think there might be a few episodes left and who knows she may change, she may not. But one thing I can take away from her series and I hope you take this away too: Pain eats at your soul and no matter where you go it will follow and eventually you will become that bitter angry woman that no black woman wants to become…LET IT GO.

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