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Mental Health of a King

Black boy demons

This Monday, I want to discuss mental health. It’s a subject that is VERY near to my heart and I think it is detrimental to our community to discuss it…in the OPEN…where other people can hear!

Almost a week ago on the Melanin King Monday IG page I made a post about a puppy that came to the hospital where I work and passed away. The child whom the puppy belonged to was denied the option to grieve by his father (check out the IG page to read the full story). I was discussing the post with someone and I realized, that mess is still bothering me. I mean, how can you deny a child his right to shed tears over the loss of something he loves, right? How can we tell anyone for that matter that it is wrong to cry and also berate them for crying over the pain they experience with a loss? I feel that in our community there is too much of that. We are expected to hold in our emotions and not TALK about what’s bothering us. We are ridiculed and slandered and are expected to just deal. This movement is so much more than presenting great KINGS to the world and letting their accomplishments be broadcast. I want to also discuss the mental element that comes along with walking in purpose.

Handling success and actually fulfilling the call on our lives has to be one of the most difficult challenges in life. This is especially evident when you are doing anything that makes you look “crazy” to the outside world. Your dream is not everyone else’s dream and some people just won’t get it. Because it is so taboo for “us” to discuss the hardships we face while attempting to navigate our way into our calling, issues undoubtedly will arise with family, friends and even our lovers. And, let’s not forget all of the other adversities that come against us from the world causing us to become hardened and often void of emotion. There’s this shell that becomes our armor and we forget that because we are a spirit living a human experience, it is OK to CRY. Frustration and anger are normal emotions and as long as they are expressed and channeled appropriately, there is no wrong in letting them be shown. This is the same for when we feel sad, or even experience depression and anxiety. These mental illnesses cannot be cured over night and they certainly can’t be resolved if no one knows you’re experiencing them.

My point is that I am not able to push this movement and have it serve it’s purpose if I do not also address a very real issue and that’s black men dealing with their emotions. Talk to a therapist, even if it’s only for a few months. Talk to your spiritual leader. Talk to a close family member that has a comfy shoulder, open ears and mind and a closed mouth. Just TALK! Childhood trauma and that old black family mantra “what happens in this house stays in this house!” is what may be causing some of your pain and some of the issues you have now carried into adulthood. Not dealing with the things that you had to hold in as a kid because we’re taught to be “seen and not heard” is why you have an issue expressing yourself in a healthy way to your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend/friends or whomever. Mental exhaustion and insomnia haunt you because you need to release all of the thoughts and feelings you were forced to hold onto. I want to encourage you to be the generational curse breaker! Stop the toxic cycle of not allowing your child to FEEL when something hurts them. I’m definitely not saying to allow your child to be disrespectful, a cry baby or to just let whatever they think fly out of their mouth. I’m only suggesting that if you’re child is hurting, allow them to express that hurt to you and don’t encourage them to internalize it. This is critical more so for black fathers with their sons. I’ve seen fathers get upset with their toddler son for crying and literally yelling at them to stop. This proves two things: 1) the father is uncomfortable with emotional situations when another male is involved and 2) the father has no control and/or has no idea how to deal with his own emotions. On the other hand, when their toddler daughter cries, his demeanor and reaction are totally different. Comfort and even wanting to beat up whatever hurt “daddies baby” are the usual responses. The issue is that little black boys have it etched into their hearts and their spirits that crying is weak and they grow up to be black men that are incapable of consoling anyone other than a woman when emotions are expressed. For some black men, even a woman’s tears bother them. Their lack of ability and discomfort to just be present and allow themselves to be the shoulder that is a source of comfort is concerning. I have personally experienced this type of man before. It is NOT a healthy relationship to be in and it is mentally exhausting having to always hold in your feelings so that you don’t aggravate the person who claims to love you. But, that’s a whole ‘nother demon for another day!

I want to leave our Kings with this bit of light in the darkness; those headaches and back aches will cease as soon as you let go of all the negative emotions you are carrying around. Our bodies are often sick because our spirits are in mourning. I’m dedicated to the fight against mental illness, and especially in black men and black boys. I want every KING to know that he is still a man, even when he sheds tears. You are not seen as weak…in fact, quite the contrary. You are seen as a strong man who handles his emotions well and is self aware. Anyone in a relationship with you (of any kind) is more likely to be open and honest with you because there will be a greater level of trust there. The lines of communication are open and it will make your relationship all the more healthy in the long run. I’m not a therapist or any kind of expert, but life has taught me that after the Let Go, comes the Let God and oh, how GREAT that is!

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