How Do I Unpack 50 Years Of Being An African American Woman In America?


For days I've wanted to use a pen to get to the core of how I'm feeling. I've avoided the pen, but here I go with the contents of me.

How do I unpack 50 years of built-up anger, assumptions, fear, mistreatment, judgment, stress, frustration, missed opportunities, letdowns, rejections, disappointments, and lies?

How do I unpack 50 years of stares that linger too long, scraps instead of the best portion, unwanted handshakes, no invitations, whispers of secret plans, heads bowed or ducking out of avoidance, questions that shouldn't be asked, deflection, an immediate fear when looking through the rearview mirror wondering if the lights will come on, changing my driving plans to avoid the men and women in blue, assessing if an exit is safe to stop when on a road trip, and the turning of heads the other way when saying, "Hello?"

How do I unpack 50 years of an empty seat next to me, lunches alone, wondering if my skin tone will be rejected by students and colleagues, hoping someone who looks like me would be hired, looking at profiles and able to count on one hand who resembles me, voice silenced, ideas ignored, and the requirement to always perform head-n-shoulder above my counterparts?

How do I unpack 50 years of being told "no" with no reason, doors closed, higher rates, subpar services, cuts in lines, entitlement to the space occupied by me, and visions of unwarranted attacks?

[Perhaps I'm not supposed to unpack, 'cause where would I put the contents of me.]

Please note: SWAAY typically tends to share longer op-eds, however, we decided to break our editorial standards in this case due to the power and simplicty of this piece.

3 min read

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Email armchairpsychologist@swaaymedia.com to get the advice you need!

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Dear Armchair Psychologist,

I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.


Dear Sadsies,

I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.

I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!

- The Armchair Psychologist

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