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  • Writer's pictureSherise Reid

The Strong Black Woman Archetype

In 2020, my home was invaded, violated and disrespected.

My children and I were forced to abandon home and seek refuge.

We lived 3 to a bed for 6 months before finding a new physical space to land in.

We were physically, emotionally and energetically violated.

What was most profound to me was the idea that, although our physical home was taken and destroyed in a very traumatic way, my children and I were given the opportunity to redefine what home meant to us and recreate in the way that was right, for us.

Well really, it’s an ongoing project.

But the most beautiful opportunity out of this painful experience, was the ability to find home within ourselves and with each other, so that no matter where our feet land, we are anchored in the nourishment of love in our interconnected hearts.

For the first time in my life, I am truly home.

I have truly begun to calm and soothe my nervous system and within the confines of this meat suit, my soul is anchored.



And my children feel safe once again.

How do we hold our own tender heart whilst holding tender hearts?

This has been deep work for me over the last couple of years.

How to navigate, grief, loss, trauma, abuse, suicidality, familial dysfunction, mother and father wounds, psychic attack, shadow work whilst holding and guiding my children.

One of the biggest wounds I have shifted, is that of the “Strong, black, woman” archetype.

The “resilient”, “bearer of all the burdens” including ancestral, type woman.

The “more you can endure the more worthy you are” type mother.

As the mother archetype, there are already many hats to wear to fulfil the role.

Being the provider in every sense for my children, so to ensure they have their emotional, social, spiritual and physical needs met, to ensure the home is well equipped and maintained and to maintain myself.

And in addition to the patriarchal societal pressures on the expectations on motherhood, I uncovered belief systems within my black heritage which enforced those pressures.

To be in a situation where all of what I had built for myself and my children was pretty much taken, and to re-build, meant that any and all belief systems that did not fit my integrity and values, had to go.

They were not stable material to build a foundation with.

Like, where would I even begin?

Because the pile of rubble I was looking at did not look repairable.

Was I to try anyway?

“The Strong Black Woman Schema, as defined by scholars, is an archetype of how the ideal Black woman should act. This has been characterized by three components: emotional restraint, independence, and caretaking.Wikipedia

Well, I will tell you that, although my mind was already on auto pilot, seeking solutions and remedies to plaster the pieces together, in an attempt to swiftly bring my children some normality, I was forced to abandon the rubble, and focus entirely on myself.

Because although on the outside I was in good working order, I was looking at my insides fragmented within the bricks and mortar that was piled in a heap in front of me.

I was literally in pieces.

I was in crisis.

My children were experiencing the very trauma I had spent the previous 10 years healing and concealing from their experiences.

Surely, this was it!

This is where my journey would end, because I was absolutely done and was ready to leave this world behind for, I had failed, epically.

I had to dig deep within the well and nurture, heal, greave and make peace with wounds that I did not know existed. All of the parts of me had to be witnessed, acknowledged, infused with unconditional love and integrated in order to formulate new, more sustainable infrastructure to build mine and my children’s new lives on.

Spirit was not playing with my portion!

Part of my refuge was spent back at home with my mother.

I hadn’t lived with my mother since I left home at 16 years old.

So, to be in a position where I had 2 children, and no container, to be in a state of need, lack, desperation even, and be living with my mother, well, let’s just say, I was in a psychological boot camp.

I was literally on the floor and needed help and support in ways I had never sought nor received help and support.

And I had to learn, real fast, how to adjust my relationship with what it meant to be strong and resilient and asking for help.

Whilst simultaneously looking at, poking, excavating and healing the mother and father wounds.

The themes that have arisen along my journey include:

· Strength and Resilience

· Asking for help and getting our needs met

· Abandonment and Neglect

· Emotional neglect and self-abandonment

· Abuse and Trauma

· Mother and Father wounding

· Ancestral trauma

· Co-dependency

· Intergenerational belief systems

· Self-love and self-care

· Sacred Motherhood

I think it’s time to transform this Archetype, will you join me?

Whilst I deep dived into these belief systems, I found a host of woman who could relate to being the Strong Black Woman and they are doing the work to heal.

One thing that struck me was how, these women, all walk different paths yet in many ways, the Strong Black Woman Archetype has been prevalent in their journeys.

Next week I will be launching a video and podcast series in conversation with some of these amazing women. We will be talking about the how the SBW impacts how we see resilience and asking for help.

It’s time to share the wisdom and the healing, together, in community.

Do you identify with the Strong Black woman?

I think it’s time to transform this Archetype, will you join me?

If you haven't already, sign up to the mailing list to be a part of the conversation and be notified when the videos are released.

Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts on this topic.

With Love,

She Rise xxx

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