Being Unseen and The BacheloretteNov 10, 2021
I watched the Bachelorette last night.
Yes, I’m a fan. I love to make sarcastic jokes about the show, about production, about the villains and I also love having the vague hope that someone will truly fall in love…and it will last.
But this time on the Bachelorette, I’m seeing something else for the first time – truth.
Michelle, the Bachelorette, a mixed-race woman is sharing her insides on the outside – about what the impact of being the only Black girl anywhere, as she was growing up, has had on her.
And it’s a story that I SO relate to. And it’s a story that is seldom told – especially on such a large stage, especially on reality television, especially from someone who’s life appears blessed with opportunity.
First let me say, that I’m the age of the parents on this show. It pains me to know that Michelle, the Bachelorette, who could be my daughter, has the same experiences of being unseen, that I had growing up.
The rubber always hits the road when it comes to dating. You get ignored and overlooked. You think that maybe you’re a late bloomer – but you just aren’t seen. And no one knows about your pain – not your best friends, because they explain it away, and that makes you feel like a whiner.
But it keeps on happening. If you stay in environments where you're the only Black girl, you keep getting overlooked. It repeats in the workplace. You keep getting ignored, you keep it to yourself. You don’t want to be shamed, shunned or criticized. It’s the unhealed wound that Black and brown women who were raised in, or live in, places where we are the only one experience…over and over again.
For Michelle this pain came up I’m guessing unexpectedly.
On national television where she is the lead of the show, on a date with 10 men who were more focused on playing a battling teddy bears game - than grabbing time or attention with her – she feels invisible.
Yes, the situation is absurd but her emotions are real. It was SO healing for me to see this play out on television…..so that others could see it. I bet it was healing for so many young invisible girls.
And it was so healing to see one of her Black suitors, cry with empathy about her pain and what he’s seen his sisters go through.
I can relate.
That’s a pain I’ve lived with for my whole life. We shove it away. We tell ourselves it’s not significant now. We tell ourselves that they didn’t mean it. But the pain sits there, waiting to be triggered by that familiar feeling of being ignored or overlooked. And we interpret that as not being important, as not being valued and some of us try even harder to be good at everything and prove our worth, and some of us just drop out of the battle for worthiness and stay small, trying to find our joy in tiny hidden places.
It’s a lot.
That’s why I was so emotional watching last night. I figured that there must have been people watching this that felt like I did, that could relate to Michelle, so I looked at Twitter and then at FB.
My heart sank.
I’d hoped so much that people watching the show would empathize - even if they couldn’t relate. And then I read comments on a few posts - that she’s a whiner, that she needs to get over herself, that she needs to heal “her” trauma, that they are sick of hearing about race.
The people that commented had something critical to say - that the show was now boring, that they disliked the women commentators, that they missed the old show.
What did they really miss?
A world where what Black women experience and see isn’t important. A world where if we have trauma it is our fault, and it has nothing to do with a system that was created to ensure that Black women stay invisible.
I think Michelle is the best lead and series on the Bachelorette, ever.
She is real, not a caricature. Do you know how hard it is to always be the only Black girl anywhere? Michelle is giving us all something by talking about this. She’s blowing up the game.
She has a platform and she’s taking it. She is sharing her story. And it’s a story of hurt….invisible hurt, where you put on a brave face because no one realizes they’ve ignored you, overlooked you….again. And you don’t tell them because you don’t want to be perceived as a complainer. So nothing ever changes. Black women, get ignored and overlooked because they are the only Black face in the room - SO visible, yet made invisible.
And because it’s never talked about or expressed, and it keeps happening, there is no way for this wound to heal.
But Michelle is expressing it. So it’s healing.
And I applaud this young woman who is honestly expressing her pain, honestly asking for what she needs and being the brilliant, vulnerable, bad-ass that she truly is….no matter what. We are watching what true healing looks like.
It’s being courageous enough to speak your truth - even when it bums other people out, even when other people didn’t intend to make you feel bad - AND HAD NO IDEA THAT YOU DO!
It’s putting how you feel first when you never have before, and to finally allow yourself to stop holding on to the old pain BECAUSE YOU KNOW YOU’VE BEEN SEEN.
Michelle is being seen. She has popped the balloon of pain that she’s been holding inside, that has never been widely shared.
Thanks Michelle. I see you.
p.s. Interested in the Black Life Coach Sisterhood – where you’ll be seen? Get on the waitlist HERE.
p.s.s. Want to get trained in our boutique Soul’s Calling Coach & Facilitator Training Program? Get on the waitlist for the 2022 opening HERE.
p.s.s.s. I made my first a LIVE video on Instagram about this….by myself!!!! You can see it HERE.
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