Understanding and Awareness


She has a smile that lights up a room, making it the first thing people notice about her. She carries herself with such a vibrant vibe that you can’t help but feel at ease around her. She converses with everyone she meets as though she’s known them for ages. At first glance one can’t help but assume this woman’s life is good. When people ask her, “what she does,” they say it with the assumption that she works 9-5 and is flourishing in a career she loves. She’s young, black, beautiful, and carries herself with respect.

But what you don’t see is the fact that she’s a single mother of three little girls. Being a single parent to one is hard enough, just imagine three. She didn’t plan her life this way, it’s just the cards she was dealt. What you don’t see is the chronic depression she battles day in and day out. You don’t see the days she doesn’t feel like getting out of bed because she doesn’t know her purpose. What you don’t see is the fear she has of not becoming who she’s meant to be in life. What you don’t see is a survivor of domestic abuse. You don’t see the amount of times she’s looked in the mirror questioning herself and how she fell in “love” with a man who continuously put her in the hospital. You don’t see these things because when you look at this black woman you’ve stereotyped her into a box. She doesn’t walk around with a “resting b**** face” so you find her easy to talk to. Not realizing that everything she’s going through makes her uncomfortable talking to people. She doesn’t dress in a manner that society deems “ratchet”. She doesn’t have an angry or sad aura to her so why would you assume anything other than the fact that she has her life together?

The thing about stereotypes is that they come in all shapes and sizes. Whether they be positive or negative, they still conform people into a box. That beautiful woman with the smile lighting up your room is still struggling to figure out who she is and where she belongs. And because you assumed she had it altogether you made her feel as though she’s lacking, like she’s not where she’s supposed to be in her life.

Now don’t get me wrong, that young woman may not have it altogether but you don’t see her flaws because she pushes. She holds on with everything in her and strives to be better. It may not be happening at the rate society deems appropriate but with everything in her she’s getting it done. Shout out to her for being able to hold it together with everything she’s been dealt. Her name is Samantha Monique, and I am she.