Growing Up as a Black Girl: Weapons of Mass Creation, Cultivation, and Care


At the start of my elementary school, during the 1980s, as the only #Black girl in an all white rural school system until I graduated in 1994, I would learn that the most powerful action I could ever take was dare to #love myself...


It angered a lot of my peers and quite a few of my teachers (with the exception of one Black teacher, they were all white), who deeply believed that Black children do not deserve love from them or should never believe that we should deeply love our #blackness.


I loved being #geeky Black quirky me.


I loved studying and being a straight A student.


I loved when I was implicitly told I could not achieve or do something [because I was Black and/or a girl], that I gave myself the self-love permission to go and do it anyway.

And I would always slay, because, love was my permission. The love for myself and from my parents.


I loved that my mom's favorite song from the 1980s was "The Greatest love of All" and that she explained that that had to be my internal mantra.


And 35+ years later, I am realizing more and more how important unconditional love is to survive, thrive, and grow on this planet. That it is a most powerful weapon. A weapon not of mass destruction.


But of mass creation, cultivation, care, and compassion.


Internalizing love for one's self is not daily— it is an every breath habit.

And it's not always perfect.


Sometimes we forget for hours, or maybe days, or months, or even decades.

Many of us buy into the mythic narrative that we must not love our authentic selves and that we must also punish others and enact hate and violence on them if they dare to love who they authentically are and express that authenticity. Because we are sold that false idea that this is the only way to be human, we forget or are even scared of true, unconditional love. We believe the falsehood is *us*.


But it is not.


Never was.