To be considered a millennial you would have to be born between the early 1980’s until the early 2000’s. By definition you would be narcissistic, always have a need to be treated special, over confident, extremely pressured, sheltered and conventional. Most of the case studies for Generation X and Y were biased to only affluent white children and when people of color (i.e. Black, Latino or Asian) were asked how these traits pertained to them the response was unrelatable.
Now that we have tackled that terminology…
Year after year black women are faced with some new type of stereotypical hoopla, but the one that has stood the test of time is of course none other than the Superwoman Syndrome. These women are not only the forefront of the household but the rock of our entire community. We raise the children, run the office, console the family, balance the check books, entertain guest and stroke the male ego all in 24 hours. She is known to be fearless and unapproachable, masculine and submissive, all while maintaining a composed and happy demeanor.
So how does a black millennial manage a superwoman personality?
Unlike our white millennial counterparts, we face distinctive defining issues. Take myself, I am a mentally ill black millennial woman, so I rarely feel the need to be narcissistic. I don’t think highly of myself and I was not sheltered growing up. I like many black women was taught to suck it up and don’t cry about everything. Most of my teen days were spent cooking for myself, handling adult issues and worrying about the bills.
My mother always pushed me to be independent, but to think outside of the box at the very same time. She wasn’t a textbook conventional parent. She always reminded me that I would not only have to be 100 times better than the males around me, but I would also have to be 1000 time better than the women around. I was constantly pushed to the limit my education, often being intensely punished for mediocre performance. She taught me to speak my mind and demand respect. She was grooming me to do it all because in her mind there would never be anyone who would support me in doing anything.
By the time I was 18, I was running the show in every organization, I was dismissing men in the blink of an eye and I was overworking myself into a world of anxiety, depression and PTSD. I was so concerned with keeping it socalled together I was falling apart at the seams. I was trying to balance being fearless with the want of being treated specially. Eventually, I broke! And even months later I was back to working 2 jobs, supporting my mother, trying to love emotionally detached men and completely running myself crazy. Just to keep up not with the Joneses, but to follow in the footsteps of some fictional character. So why do we keep doing this to ourselves?
As a black millennial, we are more computer literate, independent, free spirited and on a constant search for love. Which describe the same attributes of the black superwoman. The main issue is the sense of control can not go hand and hand with being emotionally detached. If we’re not in control of every situation there is a sense of it just won’t get done. Whether it be financial, emotional or spiritual. We have to be the driving force of success.
In our society (not community) we are told to be important you have to be everything. You must always follow the invisible instruction manual while conjunctively putting your thoughts, feelings and need last. That the only thing that matters is having the money, the man and the mission to bring you happiness. Yet being a black woman means your journey that happiness can not be attained by help or support. The society is not set up for black women ( especially the black superwoman) to succeed. It has been so well coaxed in our everyday life that our entire community thinks black women are not “real women” if we don’t display these attributes. It is all one huge revolving door. If we are a community then we need to be a community. We need to uplift each other, share stories and help each other thrive not just survive. Being so called strong does not equate to happiness or stressfree. Indeed… it is the exact opposite.
There are many factors and, of course, environmental reasons for every individual case. However, the millennial black woman still wants the American dream. She still wants to be loved and appreciated. The question is after saving Clark Kent, the kids, the family and the corporation where is the time to be one with yourself? When do you say enough is enough and think about your feelings first? How do you separate taking care of and providing for? When is being human simply enough?
This is a guest post by Lindsay Anderson. Lindsay is a Mental Health Advocate, Blogger and YouTube Creator. Originally from Savannah, Ga she is currently residing in Greenville, SC. She is the founder of lindsaywittaa.com a journal website that discusses mental health, open transparency and mental wellness support. When she is not writing she is creating informational mental illness videos on Youtube. You can follow her on twitter @lindsaywittaa or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.