Strong Personality Dilemma

**Hopefully, this post doesn’t get any drastic backlash. But i wont be pleased with myself unless i share it, so here goes…**

Today, I went through some things that sparked this question in my mind:

Why are strong, passionate women always associated with negative words?

I think this stigma is more so associated with minorities, especially African American women.

I happen to be a proud Nigerian-American (which means I’m automatically placed in the African-American bracket) young woman and I also stand at 5’11 so you can imagine how many times my personality has been associated with negative words. I have heard a countless number of times that I have a strong personality and that my communicative approach to others always feels like an attack.

So for a very long time, I’ve TRIED working on myself…trying to “be a passive student/coworker,” “speak up a little less,” “look down when I’m speaking (because too much eye contact is an attack),” or “dismiss pressing issues with my white counterparts” all because I didn’t want to be called an “aggressive/strong, black girl who has no emotion and is always attacking others.” But I’ve found that that has done me no good. In many of the instances where I’ve been called “aggressive” I haven’t been in the wrong.

Granted in the past I’ve been told by my loved ones that I sometimes combine my passion with aggression a lot and it comes off in the wrong way. In the past 3 years though, I have definitely changed. When e-mailing, I no longer use all caps to express my excitement or frustration, I smile more often when I’m speaking just to make sure my counterparts don’t feel “attacked” But even in making these adjustments, it never fails that any time I open my mouth to speak I am accused of “attacking” someone.

I’ve expressed my frustrations with people that I hold in high esteem and they’ve often reassured me that while my approach/intention may not at all be malicious or aggressive, “there are in fact weak minded people that exist and will often confuse my genuine intention as an attack.” So, my next question was, what do I do in these instances? …

Someone suggested that I don’t lose myself in trying to please everyone or trying to remove the “black woman” stigma from my life because it’ll always exist. This person said… “what can’t be insulted is knowledge.. being book smart is one thing but being both book and street (or should I say school/work smart) is entirely different and will undoubtedly work in your favor.”

When my father would stress the importance of an education when I was younger, I would always say “this guy is just being overly dramatic.” But he would insist… “They can call make fun of your complexion or judge you for speaking differently but they can never take away the education. They can’t take from you what you know.” The sad reality is that this is not entirely true but it does hold some truth (if that makes sense)… Education can definitely earn me respect but there will always be a stigma associated with “black people” in general and the matter gets worse for “black women” of all kinds.

I would never understand why my genuine passion is almost always mistaken for aggression but I DO know that I can use everything I’ve been through as learning experiences—with the hopes that my decisions will be inspiring to young women who look like myself (and possibly mentor brown-skinned girls like myself).

To my Readers, ponder on these questions:

1. Why are passionate, result-oriented, goal-driven African, African-American or Latino women seen as aggressive?

2. Will the stigma of being a black woman ever go away?

Is “senioritis” all in the mind?

This is for my seniors in colleges all over the globe–those graduates who will be among the Class of 2014. Here’s the underlying question…

Is senioritis all in the mind? Now, for my readers who have long graduated from college or may not be familiar with the term, i’ll try my best to explain it in the most dignified manner. A case of “senioritis” is when a college senior becomes extremely lazy and pretty much refuses to do any coursework with the mantra, “I’m graduating anyway, why put in all this effort. I’d rather do nothing”

I was going through my normal routine of things today when this question popped into my mind. I know of so many current college seniors and recent graduates who have all caught the case of “senioritis.” Their arguments were always that they were drained from school, tired of doing mundane, busy, coursework and wanted to get into the real world–the workforce. I’ve always wondered, how this disease crept up on them and took a large chunk of their DRIVE. Or, was it just their way of finally being able to proclaim their laziness that had been innate? After all, in the workforce, there are professionals who have been working in the same companies for 4+ years (the equivalent of an undergraduate degree) and never complain of “senioritis.”

I’ve heard stories of college students that were A students for the majority of their undergraduate career and when they caught the case of senioritis, they were barely able to maintain their magna cum laude holding.

One case in particular that really sparked my interest in this topic was of a young lady who started off her college career decently and desperately wanted to graduate summa cum laude. Her sophomore year wasn’t the best so her dream to graduate summa had quickly turned into magna cum laude. This young lady was consistent and diligent to graduate magna cum laude but life got into the way and her dream of graduating magna sadly turned into cum laude. Nonetheless, she purposed in her heart that she would graduate cum laude. But, by her senior year, she was also bitten by the senioritis bug and this young lady who initally was determined to graduate summa cum laude was praying that she could at least keep her GPA above a 3.3. Now, if that’s not a bad case of senioritis, then tell me what is? How can such an idea virtually suck out the motivation of a student to do well, all with the belief “Hey, i’m graduating already, what more do you want.” I think it’s time for us to reevaluate this senioritis epidemic.

How can we combat this senioritis beast? Can it be defeated or will there always be a brutal case of it somewhere in the world? #Foodforthought

To all of my seniors: I just want to encourage you to press forward. You are almost there and you definitely didn’t come this far to give up now! #Godspeed, #GoodLuck, #You’veGotThis!

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