She carries the weight of the world on her shoulders

She’s tired, weary, broken, empty and alone

Looking at her you can’t see the depths of the pain

She hides behind the mask but carries pain inside of her daily

Told always to be strong

“Never let them see you sweat”

“Get to them before they get to you”

The mask she wears is slowly destroying her

She’s losing her femininity, her softness

Heart cold

Soul disillusioned

Spirit numb

Mental overload

Her authenticity compromised by a society’s expectations of a black woman’s strength

Every day the weight of the mask gets heavier

Her soul wearier

She desires freedom



She wants to be herself in all her complexities

Free from judgement

Liberated from misogynistic and patriarchal expectations

Free from a man’s distorted expectation of black womanhood

Allowed to feel her way through pain and heartache

Allowed to be angry…and allowed to release and forgive

Allowed to heal completely and openly

Growing through it…In safe spaces free from your labels

Goddesses live within

Inside of her she carries the heart of Oshun

The spirit of Oya, Yemalla and Yemaya

And she draws on that power and strength

To pull her from the abyss of this perpetual sadness

She’s ready…ready to live authentically

Removing the mask of who you think she should be…

How you think she should be

How you think she should act and react

Embracing her complexities and idiosyncrasies

Healing openly

Being still and quiet when she needs to be

Enjoying the silence…and the clarity the darkness can bring

Allowing her to be vulnerable without you assuming she’s weak

Allowing her to be strong without you assuming she’s bitter

Giving herself permission to one day trust and love again

Drawing on the strength of the women in her ancestry

The women, who gave her the recipe to heal, cleanse and purify

A soul dirtied by life’s debris, messy circumstances and

False promises by wolves in sheep’s clothing

In time…She heals…slowly…

Each wound cleansed by the truth

And dressed with optimism

No longer the need for the mask

The weight is finally lifted

Her scars now tell her story…her truth
her triumph through adversity

She stands…and begins to walk tall

Back strong, crown straight

The spirit of a lioness resides within

Heart of a warrior

Mind of a conqueror

Soul of a goddess

The story of a woman who healed herself

And began to live…Authentically


©D. Sanders