Black by Confident Demands

black female entrepreneurs

By scrolling through Instagram, one may gather that a grouping of aesthetic photos tells the entire story of success. In some cases, one might infer that a particular person possesses complete confidence in every aspect of life. However, let us recall the popular phrase “not everyone shares their failures.” Not all shortcomings or woes can be quantified as failures. Nonetheless, the heart as a delicate-feeling-machine assures many that perfection translates to a better life. C’mon now – how many times have our confidants assured us that growth requires knee pads, shoulder pads, and a helmet. It’s rough out here in the place where growth occurs.

Right now, I am invested in learning the portrayal of confidence and how it impacts one’s growth. Do you ever reflect on who taught you confidence? What does confidence look like? Perhaps, it looks like making a choice to make a decision and not become locked into what-if situations.

For black girls and women, I am aware of how many times we are labeled as “over-confident” or arrogant. It’s a general typecast that dwells within our community (as well as outside) and often it becomes perpetuated in wider society. When women exhibit power and agency in their lives – from the workplace to personal relationships, there is an undercurrent stating that such behavior is abnormal. Does our society still cling to women as a dependent? Do we hold black women in particular to a standard of being strong BUT not “too strong”? In my opinion, the ‘strong black woman’ trope contains as many contradictions as there are praises.

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With the presence of social media, I find myself looking for security on how black women navigate these nuances. I am appreciative of those who share how confidence includes elements of hardship. Circumstances can waver our day-to-day confidence; especially, the impacts of civil liberties at risk in a revamped white supremacist era. As black women, our affirmation for our lives and those we cherish deeply matters. We are connected to our women ancestors and their survival-confidence defining how our lives are worth living. Our lives are worth developing into one which lifts up those who are most vulnerable in our community – to an equitable footing. The conversation around confidence must encapsulate empowering black transgender women, black women of all sexualities, black women of all faiths, and black women whose lives may differ from our personal backgrounds.

I am encouraged by the women in my life and those whose stories inspire me through their platforms. Perhaps, this is the initial step of crafting confidence not only for the self but one around collective strength.

Aginetta Mulima, a self-published poet, graduated from Cedar Crest College with a B.A. in Writing and Global Studies. She has lived in five states and currently resides in Pennsylvania. When she is not writing, she is painting, hitting up local thrift stores, and watching Star Trek.

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