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Monday, August 23, 2010

The Burden of Representing...

Have you ever experienced role conflict to the point where you need a new name for role strain? Have you ever felt like you need to represent everywhere you go? Case scenario: you start a new job and you're the only black/white/asian/middle eastern/christian/young/old etc person in there. Everyday is a struggle to wake up, find your work gear and get your behind to work. Everyone has prejudices and stereotypes and so you feel the need to represent all black people whether African American, Caribbean or African. In that work place you have become the black person. In certain places you might feel the need to represent all women or all men depending on your gender.

I sometimes wonder if anyone has felt like that before. I remember back in college when they would talk about issues concerning Africa or black people in general and I'd feel like a million eyes were on me. I always felt like I had to push myself extra hard because I was the only dark skinned girl in a class of 60 students. Should I have been stressed out?

Growing up I was the pastor's kid and you know "you gotta represent!" You can't be like any of the "other" kids and throw a tantrum when you can't get your way. No marm, that is absolutely not acceptable. You had to be on your best behavior everywhere you went. No wonder some PK's (pastors kids) eventually cracked open and it was not a pretty site when they did!

Right now, I still am the single black female in a certain role. I see myself as older and wiser and don't feel the pressure to represent anyone but myself and ofcourse to bring glory to my maker. There are times when I feel the burden of representing everyone of the groups or roles which I associate myself with but at least now I understand that to be my best or for a certain defined role to bring out the best in me is not so bad after all :)