A poem is coming.
But first, a revelation as I heal and recover more personal power…
Most of my adult life I allowed people to tell me what my boundaries, needs, and spaces are or should be, what or who I should allow close to me, how I should react–mostly at my expense, emotionally and otherwise.
Black women are pressured into participating in our own gaslighting for the good of the collective, and those of us who question this way of thinking are perceived as troublesome or at the least hostile. When silence prevails, boundaries, needs, and spaces are not respected or met.
I wanted to break that cycle. It is one of the biggest reasons why I am, once again, back into therapy.
I am speaking of when communication is not happening, when consent and respecting boundaries, needs, and spaces are not being discussed or negotiated with regard to gaining and developing emotional access and intimacy.
As Black women we have the right to negotiate our own boundaries, as well as our own needs and spaces despite living in an environment that privileges men, particularly men with race and social class privilege.
Further, consent is not just about sexual contact, and I am not talking about sex in this brief discussion.
Consent means mutually respecting boundaries, needs, and spaces when it comes to gaining and developing emotional access and intimacy. It is also about people speaking up and speaking in a manner that is honest and free of passive-aggressive diction.
Finally, it is also about respecting each other’s humanity through communicating.
In short, do not assume I have or have not given consent.
Ask me. Discuss it. Negotiate consent as a reasonable person.
Ask questions and engage in discussion. Challenge assumptions, and engage in discussions about mutual and different boundaries, needs, and spaces.
I refuse to play into others’ assumptions about me or other human beings, so please provide that same opportunity to me and others.
Communication is key in building respect and trust, and so is practicing consent.
Hear my voice.
Dr. Cherie Ann Turpin