By Coach Angela Kerri, M.A., M.S.
We all remember the devastating news when we learned that former Miss USA Cheslie Kryst died of suicide at the young age of 30. We can recall the pictures that flooded social media. She was amazingly gorgeous and for a woman who had seemingly reached the pinnacle of society’s standard of beauty, it was hard for many to grasp the why and hard to stomach how she chose to end her life. Subsequent articles discussing mental health emerged and many rightly correlated her death with the continual need to illuminate the issue. It caused a pause, a pointed reflection, a moment to realize that all is still not well. As people everywhere once again raise awareness this month, the woman who seemingly has it all in spite of it all is still behind the curtains suffering and she is the high-performing, Black woman.
The Black woman is said to be the most unprotected and disrespected human on Earth and even with the overwhelming accuracy of this statement, high-performing Black women still manage to defy all odds and clench coveted positions in corporate America, pursue their dreams and shatter glass ceilings. Kryst was a high-performing Black woman. A Division I athlete, former attorney who also held an MBA, and secured a job as correspondent for the entertainment show Extra, Kryst was part of the historic trio of Black women who, for the first time in history, won all three major pageants: Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, and Miss America. She ticked all the boxes and then some just like most Black women were told they had to do to make it. Multiple degrees, beauty, brains, a lucrative gig and a penthouse lifestyle in NYC, Kryst was kicking ass and taking names. Yet here lies the hard truth: the fact that you can inspire others and be a light to so many and still fall flat is all too common; the fact that Black women can tick all the boxes but leave her “box” empty is all too common. We continue to cater to this narrative passed down from previous generations: fight for your man (even if his eyes keep dipping), fight for your kids, fight for that job…but when was the last time you fought for you?
High-performing black women can play a very dangerous game of making boss moves while being a slave behind closed doors to her own deprecating thoughts.
In a world that sees Black women as inhumanely strong (whatever that is), callous, “lucky” to have gotten job “x”, or “exotic” if her beauty is appealing to the majority; her constricting environment has nurtured a toxic trait that has empowered her inner saboteur. If left unchecked, it could lead to her own demise. She can’t breathe. While not every unfortunate circumstance points to mental illness, the steady prevalence of micro-aggressions the Black woman experiences leaves a robust case to be made for further study. When a separate study revealed that 63% of Black people believed that having a mental health issue was a show of personal weakness it becomes apparent that more is needed than just shining a light on mental illness when we lose a sister, or the month of May arrives.
To remove the stigma for the high-performing, Black woman there needs to be a safe and sacred space to heal from the thousand cuts of micro aggression she experiences without reprieve. A space where she can be courageously authentic, and her executive presence does not equate to a code switch. A space that blends science and spirituality thus honoring her dynamism and roots, leveraging both mental health and holistic health professionals. It’s time to protect, respect and cultivate the women who are finding their stride and stepping into their power. I see you, Queen.
Coach Angela Kerri is a heavy weight in the world of intensive personal development whose own story of overcoming tragedy has inspired people world-wide. She is an expert in applying powerful holistic principles that allow women to thrive during life transitions, re-discover their true purpose and harness their intuition through her customized signature coaching program.
Coach Angela Kerri is a certified wholistic life coach for high-performing, professional women who are top-tier experts, entrepreneurs, and executives in their field. Her extensive time as a CIA officer provides unique insight and experience in dealing with stress in a competitive environment that easily extends into her practice.
Apart from her elite coaching services, she is also the founder of the InnHERwork Wellness Retreat, an annual premier luxury wellness retreat curated for the professional, high-performing woman.
For more information on Coach Angela Kerri’s coaching services see: www.angelakerri.com ,
For more information on the InnHERwork Luxury Wellness Retreat see: www.innherwork.com