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The unhealthy "S" on our chest...

Did you know that there are more black female superheroes besides Storm? Well it surprised me just as much as it's surprising you right now. There are at least 20 amazing women but I'm only going to introduce you to ten of them here in order of when they were created...

Click here to see a longer list of black female superheroes...

Nu'bia 1973

Storm 1975

Vixen 1981

Captain Marvel 1982

Jet 1988

Silhouette 1990

Fatality 1997

Ladyhawk 1999

Crimson Avenger 2000

Thunder 2003

Pretty bad ass, right? I mean what black woman wouldn't love to see themselves in the form of a superhero representing everything melanated, sexy, and powerful? Truth be told, many of these black female superheroes had prominent roles in the DC and Marvel universes which reflects the typical black woman's reality. Everyone in our lives expect us to appear out of the sky to save their day; not ask for anything in return; and look well put together in the process. But what happens when our superpowers start to turn on us in the form of "kryptonite"?

This is what we call the "Black Superwoman Syndrome". Black Superwoman Syndrome is not an official syndrome but is definitely well known among black women. We try our best to be the strong black woman that society expects us to be to the point where it is costing us our health including mental, physical and spiritual. It has been instilled in us to sacrifice for our families; put our communities' needs before our own; only rely on our faith for assistance; and walk around with a smile on our face as if everything is okay.

Unfortunately, this turns into ignored symptoms; missed medical appointments if they were even made in the first place; lack of sleep; malnutrition; undiagnosed depression, trauma and other mental health concerns; unhealthy relationships; and definitely negative sexual health outcomes. Adverse results include late diagnoses, poor prognoses, and even death.

So what do we do about it? Here are eight suggestions to start with...

1. Listen to your body. If there are some health symptoms that you have been ignoring, now is the time to make those much needed medical appointments. Keep in mind that depression has physical symptoms as well including fatigue and achy body parts.

2. Get plenty of rest. Set a realistic bedtime for yourself and stick to it. It is never a bad idea to put your cell phone on "Do Not Disturb" while you get a good night's rest. Invest in a sound machine, quality bedding, comfortable pajamas and/or even remove your TV from the bedroom for no other distractions.

3. Eat and drink responsibly. This includes eating three balanced meals a day with some healthy snacks in between each meal. Incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables into those meals. Stay on top of your daily water intake of at least 64 oz. Avoid sugary beverages, especially soda.

4. Werk it out. Try to find an exercise routine that works for your schedule and budget. Even if this means taking walks during your lunch break or parking far away from buildings to get those extra steps. Make sure to consult with your physician before beginning any rigorous activity.

5. Set healthy boundaries. Understandably this may be difficult depending on our lifestyles. By using assertive communication (expressing your needs and desires while being respectful to the person who is receiving this information), create boundaries that ensure a healthy social and physical environment. For example, you may have to remove yourself from certain networks, family members, romantic relationships and/or situations that are deemed harmful.

6. Open your mouth. As the saying goes, closed mouths don't get fed. In this case, closed mouths don't stay healthy. Again, demonstrating assertive communication will assist with this suggestion. This even includes speaking up about any sexual desires and preferences you have including condom and lube use; foreplay or certain positions. In addition, we are also afraid to express what is going on in our head. But the next time someone important to you asks how you are doing, tell them the truth. If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

7. Rely on more than your faith. As black women, we are taught to rely on our strong and unwavering faith to get us through trying times. We are supposed to just pray all of our problems away and wait for results. It's okay to lean on other resources while still relying on our spirituality to cope with our problems. For example, the ideal way to deal with depression would be to seek professional help from a therapist or psychiatrist while also taking the time to speak with spiritual leaders and/or even praying often.

8. Treat yourself. Spoil yourself with a spa day, different hairstyle, new outfit, sexy lingerie, mani/pedi, self pleasure with your fave toy and/or just simply soak in a bath with some music and lit candles. Whatever makes you feel good, do it and do it often.

All in all, it is pretty accurate to think of ourselves as superheroes since we always get the job done, but not at the expense of our own well being. Just like The Justice League, we must all look out for each other as well as staying in sync with ourselves. Don't let your superpowers turn into kryptonite because if you do, results might be irreversible.

Out with Mammy, Jezebel and Sapphire... In with Cupcake Noire...



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