abilities, ancestors’ atrocities, common phenomenon, Deep South, devalued, disregarded, dominant cultures, exclusions, forced stereotypes, hidden with Yeshua, idenity, invisible, marginalizations, personality, Psychological Invisibility, slavery’s horrible aftereffects, spiritual hiddenness, white privilege, worth
So if you were raised along with the Messiah, then seek the things above, where the Messiah is sitting at the right hand of [YeHoVaH]. 2 Focus your minds on the things above, not on things here on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in [YeHoVaH]. 4 When the Messiah, who is our life, appears, then you too will appear with him in glory!
5 Therefore, put to death the earthly parts of your nature — sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed (which is a form of idolatry); 6 for it is because of these things that [YeHoVaH’s] anger is coming on those who disobey him. 7 True enough, you used to practice these things in the life you once lived; 8 but now, put them all away — anger, exasperation, meanness, slander and obscene talk. 9 Never lie to one another; because you have stripped away the old self, with its ways, 10 and have put on the new self, which is continually being renewed in fuller and fuller knowledge, closer and closer to the image of its Creator. 11 The new self allows no room for discriminating between Gentile and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, foreigner, savage, slave, free man; on the contrary, in all, the Messiah is everything. ~ Colossians 3:1-11
Female blacks have been dehumanized and depersonalized for centuries. My maternal grandmother and her sisters have known about these seeds of slavery, but they buried the atrocities their ancestors faced right after the last remnant migrated northward.
My maternal grandmother and her sisters moved to Pennsylvania from Georgia. However, their belief that they were free from slavery’s horrible aftereffects was not enough to keep their ancestors’ atrocities buried. It also was not enough to obliterate the Deep South’s psychological invisibility – the feeling blacks get when their individual abilities, personality, and worth are disregarded because of the dominant culture’s imposed prejudice.
Feeling invisible is a common phenomenon for black females. The southern dominant culture had always disregarded or devalued female slaves’ unique traits that did not reflect whites’ privilege status. Whites hid blacks’ conflicting attributes behind the cloak of psychological invisibility. When female black slaves realized their real worth, personalities, and incomparable abilities were hidden, each individual developed an inner intuition – a sixth sense – that was activated whenever the dominant culture set up an invisibility barrier.
Though my grandmother and her sisters were almost a thousand miles north of the Deep South, they soon discovered that those seeds of slavery they had hoped they would escape were watered more in Wilkes-Barre and Philadelphia than the seeds of freedom. There, in the North, they learned that the same stereotypes that were forced on them and their ancestors in the Deep South still continued to conceal their true identities and values. As a result, my grandmother and her sisters were forced to decide how they would make themselves visible.
During most of my life’s first seven years, I pondered what was wrong with me. I wondered why most of the people who loved my white friends didn’t love me the same way. My answer finally came in the still of the night when darkness was thick, oppressive, and almost unearthly.
On the longest, darkest night, I was unexpectedly awakened by the commotion that was coming from the neighboring driveway. I sat up. My eyes scoured the room, hunting for something familiar. Nothing was visible – not even my hands in front of my face. The darkness had enveloped me, so I groped about blindly. Seconds later, I found the light switch above my bed. Immediately, the light masked the blackness but not before the darkness showed me that I was invisible.
My hiddenness did not result from a sleight-of-hand trick. No sorcerer’s prestidigitation could ever be responsible for the exclusions and marginalizations that were later explained to me. Certainly, my invisibility would need more than a waved magic wand or verbal summons to make me visible. My hiddenness would also need more than the flip of a switch to shed light on why the dominant culture failed to see me.
While my value and identity went undetectable for the nine consecutive years that followed my first seven years, solitude became my closest friend. I chose to retreat to my sanctuary of solitude – my bedroom – after school. It was the only place I could feel visible. It was the only place I could find peace. It was the only place I could feel safe to ugly cry.
Although I had friends and was close to several cousins, I never felt accepted or important. I never was popular or part of the in-crowd.
My parents were poor. My parents were also alcoholics for most of my childhood. That is why I often didn’t eat healthy food and didn’t wear fashionable clothes or shoes. I also didn’t have the necessary school supplies or other things many children my age never had to give a second thought.
I was laughed at for not having any Christmas gifts to bring to school for show and tell, laughed at for bringing soiled brown paper bag lunches to school, laughed at because I wore outdated Salvation Army and Goodwill clothing, or laughed at for wearing clothes I stitched together from McCall’s, Simplicity, Butterwick, and other such patterns.
I was called a crybaby because I had my maternal grandmother’s teary eyes that ran whenever there was too much wind (freezing, warm, or hot), too much sunshine, or too much pollen. My eyes teared whenever they were too tired or whenever I looked at something too long.
Other strikes against me were my plainness, independence, morality, and wise and mature attitude toward life. I could not comprehend why any of that intimidate the same age and older people in my hometown, but it did.
Nine years after the night my invisibility was revealed I was crushed when, in the main hallway beside high school lockers, all my friends were talking about their dates to the annual spring dance. I was the only silent one because the boy I hoped would ask me asked someone else. Even though I smiled as if it was no big deal, inside I felt mortified.
That evening, in the solitude of my sanctuary, I vented in unfiltered honesty. With my face pressed against my safe haven’s window, my squinted eyes swam in tears. I ugly cried while praying to my God.
I wailed, “I don’t get why You did this to me. Why did You make me so unlovable and unattractive? Why am I always the only one who is left out?” Pink-eyed and lachrymose I pleaded, “Please make me loveable and likable to everyone I know. Surround me with family and friends who really see me and absolutely love who they see. Also, please send me a special guy who will love me and want me, forever.”
Just then I was startled by a sudden brightness. I opened my eyes in time to see the dazzling streak of light that had pierced through the smothering clouds. The light shocked me because when I started praying the sky was gray, cloudy, and stormy – like my emotions.
At the same moment that the radiant light appeared unexpectedly, so did the wealth of love I soon saw and felt. The sky paraded my God’s Love while He spoke to me. The Voice that I heard told me that I would be loved the way I deserved to be loved. I was speechless and filled with joy.
In the 55 years that followed the evening YeHoVaH spoke His Words to me, a then sad 16-year-old girl, I have remained invisible to most Americans. I am still unpopular, unfashionable, and unimportant. No one listens to the wealth of wisdom I received in those 55 years, and I have no man in my life who loves me the way I deserve to be loved. However, my life is the best it has ever been, in spite of a divorce and the loss of Ade, my oldest son.
How is that possible? Well, with YeHoVaH, all things are possible.
Suffice it to say, it was not until I understood that, from the day I accepted Yeshua as my Lord and Savior, it was YeHoVaH who loves me, and had always loved me, the way I deserve to be loved. In fact, He loves me more than I deserve to be loved. Knowing this truth is why I am more content than I have ever been.
I actually enjoy my current solitude and singleness because I know that my new identity and new value come from YeHoVaH through His Son, Yeshua. So, even though I also know that being treated as invisible by the dominant culture is a common phenomenon for black females, it is my spiritual hiddenness that I embrace.
Now, since my spiritual life is invisible, that makes being treated as a joint-heir in the Kingdom of YeHoVaH by my fellow spiritual sisters and brothers another common phenomenon – one that all black females who are in Yeshua have come to know. However, because my spiritual life’s new identity and value are hidden with Yeshua HaMashiach in YeHoVaH, there isn’t anybody who could see the real me without first seeing YeHoVaH and then seeing Yeshua.
This spiritual discernment won’t mean that a reborn and saved Yeshua believer cannot or should not desire earthly things. It simply means that since he or she is one with Yeshua, and Yeshua is One with YeHoVaH, the saved and born-again believer’s focus and desires should be on and about this person becoming the best child of YeHoVaH he or she was reborn to be.
This truth was why I had to learn to focus on living my new life the way YeHoVaH wants me to live it. It was possible to do because it was not in His Will that the dominant culture’s invisibility barriers (physical or psychological) would have power or authority over my spiritual life’s reborn and saved new identity and value.
For sure, the Kingdom of YeHoVaH’s spiritual hiddenness is more powerful and has more authority than every earthly dominant culture’s racially unjust and unholy cloak of psychological invisibility. Then too, the Kingdom of YeHoVaH’s spiritual hiddenness elevates Yeshua believers’ privilege status above every earthly dominant culture’s spurious privilege status. For me, what that means is, as long as I remain faithful and obedient to YeHoVaH and His Law, my God will allow me to be the head instead of the tail. Selah!