A, bb appreciation prose 🌹
I’m concerned for the life of Lamar Odom and the perception of what he is going through. Mental health is so stigmatized and ignored that it becomes volcanic in the sense that people rarely pay attention until things have erupted. We have watched this man struggle with traumatic events and drugs for years now. But we’ve ignored a silent cry that our ears haven’t been conditioned to be able to hear.
I hope people aren’t deceived to believe that the drugs are the problem. It’s a by-product of the problem that has been suppressed by himself likely as a result of the culture and disregard for mental health issues in society. Like who does a person turn to? Better yet how do you translate a plethora of feelings and emotions in your mind and communicate that to someone who could potentially help? It’s instances like this that I’m reminded of my passion for bringing awareness to mental health. I want to create a space where people don’t feel alone. Where people can talk and recieve resources. It’s too important. I want to target the youth so that the generations behind me may have better opportunities of dealing with mental health as real and getting the help they deserve.
I told my dream to just a few people. It’s very specific. And I find myself becoming more eager to achieve it. The dream is becoming more detailed and vivid with each story like Lamar Odom’s coming to the surface. Mental health issues are real and can result in the end of someone’s life. I don’t want the world to wait anymore until people die. It’s tough going through anything mentally but there are precautionary actions we can take to help people everyday with their mental health and therapists and prescriptions don’t always have to be the only answer.
I’m dreaming of a substantial change in our culture. A simple smile, compliment, conversation could go a long way. I’m not saying it might work wonders medically but that there’s the potential that if we encourage our society to be more open to one another and make it more acceptable to not be okay sometimes and feel able to express that then we’re making a major step. I asked a guy on the metro “How are you feeling today?” And he looked at me like I was crazy. Like 1. Who actually talks to strangers on the metro? and 2. You care about how I’m doing today? Bizarre. I could tell it took him back a bit and I’m thinking why is this not normal. We have conditioned our people to suppress suppress suppress and get deeper and deeper into ourselves to the point where we have successfully isolated a population of people who are not ok to suffer in silence.
I just want better. I want little black and brown kids like me especially to know that you don’t have to just suck it up. You don’t have to deal with it on your own. You don’t have to be okay all the time. Vulnerability and weakness are not synonymous. There’s hope through each and every hardship. Life does not have to be this spiraling staircase downwards into this dark and scary place where it’s just you. There’s light. And I want to help spread that light.
For my senior capstone I’m a part of a group taking the initiative to teach 3rd-5th grade students about their mental health and stress. Not in a very sciency/serious/complicated way. It’s just teaching them about different emotions and how there are no bad emotions but life is about balancing those emotions and using healthy coping mechanisms throughout your different circumstances. I don’t think I’ve ever done a more important project than this one I’m about to produce. It’s too important. Life is too valuable and too precious to continue to let people suffer and suffer and suffer. Someone has to care. Someone had to do something. It’s too important.
So I was thinking a lot about why I write. I’ve always prided myself on writing “For and By Sua” this is why I often don’t share. But I’ve never really been much of a selfish person. And I think it’s a beautiful thing to be able to capture something so personal and to be so vulnerable, and to share, and have someone tell you they could relate to that. Or that they got hope from that… I recently applied to volunteer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and we’ve been in correspondence and they asked for a writing sample. So I chose this piece which I recently re-worked in order to bring a lot more light in it while still staying true to the darkness and depth of the original piece. So here goes… this is called “Numb”
It was sharp and alive,
Not like the kind I’ve long been used to.
It was the kind that consumes
With dark gloomy clouds raining down well into my June
I got used to this feeling
This feeling of being used
It becomes so great sometimes you have to question if you’re still ‘you’
It’s the kind you can’t shake off
with pins and needles everywhere
You just feel lost
It’s the kind you can only see through half smiles
It affects you through invisible, unspeakable ways
The eyes are the window to your soul but your smile is the shield behind which you can hide
It’s that reminder that so long as the sun is out, even though you may feel cold and afraid,
You have to smile
And imagine that things are alright
You’re grateful for your life but that stinging never quite fades away.
Through darkness and in light it stands by
See this was different.
It was unwelcomed and persistent
It was like exhaling and never breathing again
It made you wish you couldn’t feel a thing
It’s when walking through thunderstorms is easier than blending in with a sunny day
This pain was different…
It seemed like nothing would be the same, I was forced to surrender my flame
I’d muted all emotion
And my eyes adjusted to the night
Because when this darkness came
It became my only friend
Smothered me with black, heavy chains
that held me down and drowned me in rain
And some nights I’d howl to the moon
I envied how no matter how dark the night, it still shined through
But one night,
I saw God in that moon
And my heart flickered.