What Happens To Emotions Deferred? - Lynne Maureen Hurdle

What’s it been like emotionally to be an African American woman in America? That’s a question asked of me frequently these days.

It has been a constant deferment of emotions. An almost daily setting off of fires in my heart, building to an explosion that my mouth closes tight on as my throat struggles to swallow what it can knowing the dangers of a full-on release.

It’s being assaulted by pebbles regularly that consistently hit their mark while carrying a huge boulder that is meant to make me collapse into submission and surrender.

It is the shedding of tears for the past, present and future. It is disappointment wrapped around disgust double wrapped in frustration, sorrow and SO MUCH FEAR.

It is fierce pride being pushed and held up by love, faith, hope and the joy of knowing who we are. It is that smile we must wear if we are to survive and live, while carrying the memory of too many who just could not fake it one more day.

It is fear on top of anger, on top of fear, on top of sizzling hot rage. It is to know that the emotions I truly want and need to express can never show up in the raw form in which they are experienced. It is to sit in pain on a regular basis as the need to eat, sleep, pay bills, mother, survive and thrive outweighs the desire and need to fully express what I am feeling as a Black woman in America.

What happens to emotions deferred?

We are seeing it in the streets of protest.

We are seeing it in the underlying conditions that make us targets of Covid19 so frequently.

We are seeing it in the violence unleashed upon each other and others.

We are seeing it in the mental health issues that plague us.

We are seeing it in the daily policing of our tones in expressing it.

We are seeing it in the hope that is lost or never found, in too many of our children and young people.

We are seeing it in the endless prayers to just make it stop and be okay to say what we really feel in whatever way we really feel it.

We are seeing in our knowing that some of you are already tired of hearing the minimum expression we feel safe to share.

Our emotions deferred are in the collective scream that has only been heard in the safety of our homes and in secret places.

What happens to my emotions deferred?

I’m learning to breathe even more deeply…


What happens to emotions deferred????

Nothing good folks. Nothing good.

In love,


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