Black Belle: Coming to Laptop Screens Near You!

In recent years, I’ve been told that I should enter the blogging world to start cataloguing, reflecting, and sharing my experiences. And for the longest, I’ve been avoiding this suggestion, thinking that my life isn’t interesting enough, my writing isn’t good enough, and that I simply have no time. Well, the excuses stop now. I can no longer blame lack of time, as I now have plenty of it on my hands as a currently unemployed college graduate. As for my life and writing not being satisfactory enough to share publicly, I’ve decided that each blog entry, though public, is personal and for me and only me. In these posts, I’ll be reflecting, questioning, and sometimes slightly venting in order to just get current thoughts out of my head and into the atmosphere. Thus, the purpose of this blog is to recount past and present experiences of my life that have both hugely and subtly impacted my life, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Why “Ballads of a Black Belle”? Well first off, I am a Southern Belle: a lady born and raised in the Deep South of Mississippi, with a thick southern drawl and a southern charm to match. Yep, this means that I earned my debutante bracelet, grew up in the Catholic Church, and was raised on manners, manners, manners! Yet, since my departure from the South in 2011, I’ve found myself moving further and further away from the values of a Southern Belle.

The Southern Belle aesthetic derives from a 19th century fictional representation of a young, beautiful white woman who comes from an upper socio-economic class in the American South.

Belles were a few very specific things: white, bourgeois, and almost certainly beneficiaries of the slave trade, married to the plantation owners whose wealth was secured through black chattel.

Not only do I not identify with these physical and financial attributes, but I also disagree with the core values of the Southern Belle. To me, the Southern Belle today contradicts everything that the Modern Woman strives for. The Southern Belle seems to value tradition, maintaining the sexual and physical expectations of women. She honors what the patriarchy believes that she should be, and claims that as empowerment, rather than challenging, unraveling, and reclaiming her own destiny.  I believe the history tied to this traditional way of thinking needs to be considered and re-evaluated. As for myself, I’ve begun to redefine “Southern Belle” in relation to my own experience as a black woman growing up in the Deep South. A deconditioning Southern Belle. Through my life, I’ve experienced people and things that have called into question the values and beliefs that were instilled in me since day one. In this blog, I intend to tackle these values, explaining how they were initially pitched to me, what made me question them, and where I am now in these beliefs.

Besides sticking to the Southern Belle theme, I will simply be narrating moments that are specific to black women, people of color, queer people, and newly post-graduates. These are just a few of the labels that describe my current identity. My identity is fluid and always changing, which I love but also loathe. These moments are in no way educational moments, as I’m still a student of life! These are just moments that I want to describe and share with you, in hopes that you’ll be in conversation with me, sharing your experiences and lessons in return.

This blog is a blog to scream, yell, cry, learn, share and grow. Let’s begin, shall we?

 

xoxo – C

 

 

If you’re interested in an outline of Southern Belle traditional values, please click here.

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