By Madalyn McKnight
I know it is not polite to pass notes but here it goes…
Dear Black woman,
I am proud of you. You tried a twist-out for the first time, and it was a risk that paid off. You are rocking those coils; I am proud of you. I know that being in a car for a prolonged amount of time out of fear you will be stopped is very real for you. You went the distance, and I am proud of you. The long looks you get, the short answers you receive, the big ego they say you have, the smallness others feel when you enter the room—taking every rejection in stride, shedding tears in the room away from your children—searching validation through hashtags on social media. Through it all, you stay true to yourself and are wiser today than you were yesterday, and in case you have not guessed yet. I am proud.
I could encourage you to be better, but I am proud of you for just…being. You are making the best out of being between a rock and a hard place, being judged by your name before you enter a room. Being the best mom, you can be by showing up in more ways than asked. You are the strong friend while need comfort and reassurance. Being the phenomenal woman, Maya Angelou knew you could be. Being the only Black Woman in leadership in your office, having worked twice as hard. A being of melanin, magic, and more.
The pride is real.
I am proud of you for being you. For turning on the brightness when the world appears to be gray. For having hope for the world that constantly vilifies your skin. It is your greatest asset, and I want you to be proud of it. Be proud of yourself for making to this point, for making the decision not to take that step or for leaping into the unknown. Take pride in your accomplishments you have under your belt and the mistakes that have turned into lessons you learned along the way. Be proud of the woman you are, and all that means.
Be proud of being. You are enough.
Shh…pass it on.
Madalyn McKnight is an Assistant Editor for the Pedestal Project, LLC. A rare blackbird who has the range and a young black professional with impactful words! Follow her on Instagram and Facebook at @singsongblackbird and twitter @singsongblckbrd.