I used to think that every Black woman around me was more confident and well-put together than I am. I used to wonder why every Black woman seemed to be stronger and more impervious. And then I realized that this is a face that most of us are putting on. And then I realized that even my own front was believable to others. Everybody thinks I’m always confident because they don’t know what goes on in my head and because they have a set of assumptions for Black women.
It is stressful knowing that I have to constantly trick myself into thinking I’m good enough and knowing that I’ll be in big trouble if I don’t successfully hype myself up to that point. I can’t reasonably wait for others to tell me that I’m great! And that of course I am deserving! I might be waiting for a lifetime.
I can expect at any time to walk into a class or a job where I will be explicitly and wrongly told that I’m only there because I’m Black. If I didn’t learn how to combat those kinds of messages there is no way I would be able to survive.
The story of the successful Black woman is more often than not the story of somebody who told herself every day that she was smart and capable even on the days where she didn’t truly believe it. And allowed that to keep pushing her in spite of the obstacles created by race and gender.
The face of confidence is unfortunately required for living as a Black girl.”