All my life I had to fight: what is the soft life?

I recently saw a short clip on the podcast Good Mom Bad Choices. They had a guest on that did not believe in the “soft life”. She argued she would not lead with her pussy forward but rather her intellect. I don’t have the exact quote but it went something like that. One host argued she believed the soft life was all about using one’s sensuality to get what’s needed by men.

I must admit I didn’t watch the full episode, however I did a quick dive in the comments and many people were going back and forth about the meaning of the “soft life”. There seems to be more than one definition of “soft life” floating around. It seems for some, it’s more of an aesthetic as it relates to how one wears their hair, nails and even color scheme with clothing. I immediately thought of the film, The Color Purple. Opera Winfrey’s character questions Whoopi Goldberg’s character after she found out Goldberg’s character told Winfrey’s character’s husband to beat her for not listening.

Alice Walker’s quote from the book is below:

All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy. I had to fight my brothers. I had to fight my cousins and my uncles. A girl child ain’t safe in a family of men. But I never thought I’d have to fight in my own house. She let out her breath. I loves Harpo, she say. God knows I do. But I’ll kill him dead before I let him beat me.

When I think of the soft life, I think of a life where I’m not always in fight mode. I don’t want to live a life of always being on guard, always ready to fight my own people, specifically my own black men. For so many years and even today, black woman are applauded for being so strong. We are applauded for making a way out of no way and literally create miracles out of damn near nothing! This way of being, for many black women is a way of life. The question I ask is: What is being lost in the mean time?

Many women find themselves always last on their list of shit that needs to be done. Our mental health, physical health and overall well being is set aside as we cater to everyone else. Many live with an overwhelming level of stress to the point it is normalized. When I think of the soft life, I think of the antithesis of putting everyone’s need before my own. Rather reader, I argue the soft life is about not always putting others first but rather carving time out time for self; to regroup, rest and rejuvenate. That is what soft life means to me. How one goes about this may look differently for different kinds of black women, let’s keep it real, we are not a monolith. For some, a solo trip to another country is ideal, for others it’s getting hired help to support the running of the household and for others it’s waking up before the rest of the household for time to meditate. Others may need to exercise before the day is started or even splurge on a massage or spa day to feel cared for. Whatever it may be, not all black women are embracing the belief that struggling and putting self last is normal or healthy.

We all know the damage the strong black woman trope has done as it relates to the overall care of black women in healthcare. Unfortunately, more black women die from complications from childbirth at a higher rate than other ethnicity groups because there’s this misconception that we are so strong, we are super human strong. Our voices are not heard when we share with medical professionals that’s something is not right. We’re so strong we are not listened to. How exhausting!

Therefore soft life for me is not just about how I view myself, how I value my time, and how I find balance between being a plethora of roles to different people. It’s also about demanding that others see us as humans, as women that don’t deserve to be ignored or dragged through an emotional ringer to prove loyalty.

Nah, fuck that. Treat me right.

Thoughts dear reader?

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