AKEELAH

Updated: May 9



"I walked into the break room to warm up my oatmeal and another Black woman, about 10 years older than me, was standing and staring at the microwave to warm up her meal. I could tell she was in deep thought, but I said my usual, ‘Good Morning’ and proceeded to get water to warm up my oatmeal. In response to my good morning, she said, ‘Good Morning… I’m taking a moment to breathe and get it together.’ As she turned her face towards me, I could see that she was crying and looked completely undone, snapped in two, and like whatever happened 10 minutes ago, was too much to bear. In that moment I had two choices, I could say or complain I know how it is being a Black woman in the workplace or I could give her tools of encouragement… I chose the latter and told her that the way people respond to you and treat you have nothing to do with ‘you’ and to not take it personal. She looked at me, eyes were still filled with tears and said, ‘But what if they completely ignore everything you said in a meeting and treat you like you’re invisible? Isn’t that personal?’ I was stumped… I mean here was this older Black woman, who I didn’t know beyond hello in the hallway – opening up to me and being completely vulnerable. I decided to be more vulnerable with her and said ‘I’m a hugger and you need a hug. Can I give you a hug?’ She let me hug her and said, ‘Thank you.’ I thought about which tools I had used in the past few months to get my energy on track and thrive in my personal and professional life. I told her about how much my soul had been fed by Oprah’s Super Soul Sundays and told her to listen to it. As I walked down the hall, I realized how beautiful of a moment it was. That she chose me, another Black woman, to confide in about her struggle. In her moment of vulnerability, I let my wall down too and allowed myself to be there for her."

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