It seems like I’ve been battling this bout of depression for longer than usual and it’s been hard to explain that to people. I’ve been labeled a negative person. Said that I am a bit Eeyore-ish from Winnie the Pooh… This did nothing to lift me from my funk. All it did was reinstate negative thoughts I felt about myself. Cause me to consider self harm and make me want to isolate myself.
Hi, I’m Amberly and for the most part, I’m just like you…
I grew up the youngest of 4 in a blended middle class family in the suburbs of Chicago.
I had my life all planned out by the age of 10.
Once I graduated high school I would go away to college and after earning my degree I’d start my dream job as a journalist, marry my high school sweetheart, and buy a big old house all by the age of 25.
Now here I am, single as a pickle, an okay credit score (thanks Sallie Mae!) and my largest purchase to date has been my beautiful black 2013 Buick.
Although my bachelor and Master degrees have managed to land me a pretty rewarding job working with college students, 35 is creeping up on me and the only thing keeping me warm at night in my tiny little 1 bedroom apartment is… you guessed it, those degrees.
Did I miss something? Was there some blueprint for my life that I was supposed to find in college or some roadmap to lead me where I actually wanted to go? A tribe of mentors I was supposed to follow that weren’t all old white men?
Because I don’t have old white male privilege and even if I could be blind to all of my minoritized identities, I know the world won’t. So don’t be mad at me for stating the facts. It’s hard to be Young, Black and a women.
I want somebody to make it okay to be me.
I read somewhere, “Life doesn’t always introduce you to the people you want to meet. Sometimes life puts you in touch with the people you need to meet – to help you, hurt you, leave you, to love you, and to gradually strengthen you into the person you were meant to become.”
No doubt privilege helps some get a head a lot faster, but I’m deeply committed to my radical journey towards self-improvement.
See, despite all the hardships I have had to endure for my age, skin color and gender, being Young, Black and a Woman is okay with me.
I like my sharp wit and shea butter smooth hips. The volume of my speech, the strut in my step. My existence is resilience.
Society works hard to teach me to hate myself, but I learned a long time ago that imitation is a form of flattery. So y’all not fooling anybody!
It would be a lie to say that my language and my behavior have never been influenced by agism, anti-blackness, or rape culture. Living unapologetically comes with practice.
Not some “psuedo-blindness” rhetoric that is taught by empowerment coaches that age, race and gender don’t matter when it comes to being successful. They most certainly do!
The way we experience our identities has significant impact our character.
I am seen as a threat.
I am coping with racial fatigue.
I am surviving rape culture.
I struggle everyday to make sure my will out weighs my misfortunes.
Like I said, I’m just like you!
Make my rage valid. Listen to my fears and see me for who I am.
I am both a victim and a victor.
I am a Young. Black. Woman.
And today I’m just hoping someone will make it okay to be me.