Walking into my first day of work 2 years ago, I was met with side eyes, stares, and a sense of disdain. Many (not all) of the black women that worked in my office had decided, within that first week, that I wasn’t worth getting to know. This, of course, was not new to me (ahem.. Dear mean black girls). It was something I’ve dealt with my entire life. When I attended a new school, started a new job, entered a new group of black women of any caliber; there was this dangling sense of who is she and who sent her to take my spot.
Over the years, I’ve wondered, why does it seem like success in the black female community is something that we all can’t enjoy together. Why does it have to be this exclusive entity not accessible to all of us. It is frustrating as hell, especially in a field like writing/blogging where you want to work with others but there is a road block that never goes away.
It dawned on me, after my last run in at my office job. I walked into that office bright, happy, eager, driven, and ready to get shit done; like most of the other black women there. I was competent and smart just as they were. But, the issue isn’t that I am better than them or smarter than them. The issue is that we have been conditioned to believe that there are only a handful, if that many, seats available at the table of success when it comes to black women. If one of us wants to eat, someone else needs to starve. We aren’t taught that, by pulling up our fellow black women trying to do something great, we too become great in the process.
When I walked into the door that day, those women didn’t see an able bodied, smart, interesting team member. They saw an opponent. A challenger there to take the prize, no matter how small it was.
I don’t want to perpetrate or contribute to that anymore. I want to be a part of something greater where we help each other grow and succeed and know that there is enough for us all to eat and prosper. We build our own tables of success and decide how many can sit there.