Updated: Sep 15, 2020
We are proud, We are strong, We are smart and many may not realize this but We are emotional.
We are brought up to be strong, because the world has a lot in store for us. Not just the things that everyone will go through, but the additional factors that black men will go through as well. We are not supposed to cry because we have been taught to believe that, those are signs of a weak man, not just from men but woman as well.
So what do we do? Well we typically internalize our emotions because there are not really any safe outlets for us. We express emotions through other avenues not always the greatest avenues but other avenues non the less.
The reality is our parents intent is to prepare us for the world that we are entering and as most parents will do they try to protect their kids. The issue is that we are brought up to be strong and resilient but we don't have the outlet, and overtime it starts to impact us mentally and physically. I can hear in my head most island parents reading this and saying "eh boy you need to stop acting like a baby."
But when you think about what black men deal with I truly start to wonder how we do this mentally. A few months ago there was so much attention on racial issues that I started to feel overwhelmed, I started to feel like I needed to have all the answers for all of my white friends, at the same time I felt sad that I was hated for being black, also scared for my family and friends, also frustrated because we have been dealing with this for so long. I think you get the point I was overwhelmed.
So I remember one evening I was sitting by myself and I just started to cry, I cannot explain exactly why but I just felt overwhelmed. After I finished shedding some tears I started to feel as if I was being weak and I needed to get myself together, I should never cry for something like this I need to be strong. Even as I am writing this I am thinking to myself what are people going to think.
The idea of black men being tough and not showing emotion is actually counter productive and it is impacting our community. What is happening in most cases is that we are shutting emotions down and over time this transforms into aggression against our own people.
It's time for us to change the narrative, it's time for us to let our emotions out. This is easy to say, but it is extremely important for us. What I have learned over time is that I am not the only one that is thinking certain things. This means that I am not the only one that feels overwhelmed at times and there are other men that carry this weight as well.
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If you are dealing with mental health below are some links to support.
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