How To Make Yourself Small and Other Impossible Feats

  1. Believe them when they say that your emotions are too much, because everyone likes to make Black girls feel like any one of our feelings is a threat.
  2. Believe them when “your emotions” become synonymous with “you.” Believe them even though you know that everyone fears that which is bigger than them because it makes them unknowable…and potentially, unstoppable.
  3. Let other people tell you what you are feeling is too intense. As a result, make yourself small and delicate; fold your long limbs across your chest; press your lips together in a firm straight line; cast your eyes down and wait. Because no matter how we compress the air right out of our lungs to take up less space, they will scream, “Smaller!”
  4. Tell yourself that if you cannot feel, then you must work. Tell yourself that that in-ten-si-ty is more ac-cept-able when channeled into work. Toil even though they steal your labor, devalue your contributions, and yet dare fix their lips to ask for m o r e.
  5. Blame them, because societal expectations have done a number on your ability to love and because you’re scared of your own vastness because it scares other people, you build walls around yourself.
  6. Stop talking about love and hurt because you’re afraid other people will call you crazy when
  7. You know it’s human to love and to be hurt and to heal and to fall in love again but because they all think, you all think, we all think, Black women are superhuman, we are denied that courtesy. 
  8. Pretend you’re fine.
  9. Review steps 1-8 and:
  10. Fail.

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