Confused Woman, Phenomenal Woman
What does it mean to be a 21—almost 22-year-old, black (West African-Caribbean American), Ivy League educated, Christian, feminist? It means that you are pretending not to be confused.
Your career, family, and church pull you in opposite directions. From cultural expectations, personal expectations, and godly expectations… There is no uniformity. Where do you fit in completely?
I’ve been out of college for over a year, and what I want is to focus on my education and my career, but what everyone around me wants is for me to focus on my biological clock. It doesn’t matter that I am nowhere near ready for marriage or kids. It doesn’t matter that those who are pushing me towards marriage are seemingly miserable in their own… Yet… at the same time, a part of me sometimes feels inadequate for not having a love life that is completely figured out. No ring on my finger, no date set. And tiny part of me envies those who do, even though I know the pictures and outward appearances are most times just a show. I know if I got married now, I would be emotionally stable, and maybe content, but I would feel disappointed in myself. Because if I had a daughter, that’s not what I’d want for her at my age. I’d want her to live LOUD! Explore the continents, further educate herself, change the world, live out her dreams(!)– before she goes around making another human being—a husband, a child—both of which are gifts at the right time—her main priority. But why do I always have to defend myself: what I want, versus what is expected of me?
Going to an Ivy League university makes your every move after graduation subject to being dissected under a microscope. You wonder if it’s all down hill from here. Or if what people expect you to achieve will ever be silenced by what you are able to accomplish. As an African—everyone, from your parents, to your pastors, to those Aunts and Uncles who aren’t really your aunts and uncles, want you to be a doctor, or an engineer, or a lawyer. And anything else, is less, and amounts to failure. As a Christian, you are told the world is black and white. You’re either a virgin and a prude, or a sexually liberated hoe. You can dance, but not too much, you can look good, but not too good. You should be angry that gay people can get married, and that young women choose to abort their children. But truth be told, you could never see Jesus picketing outside Planned Parenthood making His creation feel unloved or not safe, so you don't feel that is your place.
I think God created the world to be black and white, but then sin entered and we were left with what seems like various shades of gray. We are all allowed to be confused. To not have it all figured out yet. So I will cut myself some slack for now, and encourage you to do the same.
‘Cause I am a confused woman. Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that's me."