EDITORS NOTE: APRIL
I couldn't stop crying, and although I know I am an emotional person, I knew that something felt broken... and I had to fix it. Because I'm a fixer (like most men like to think they are). So I talked to one of my closest girlfriends who was in the field, and after a chat that calmed me down I was able to sit down and research for what I needed: A THERAPIST.
Why is therapy such a nasty scary word? I learned that in our communities, those comprised of POC, saying something like 'I need a therapist' usually puts people on edge and makes them think you're crazy. Meanwhile our white counterparts all have one, in fact I'm convinced they get one assigned to them at birth. But why does that make people so uncomfortable? We're all a little crazy, a little neurotic, a little broken - it's part of being human. The good thing is if you're willing to do the work (and sometimes it really fkin sucks) you can arrive at a place where you are aware of your triggers and know how to pull yourself out of those dark places. And don't we all need that?
I remember telling my mother I was going to therapy, and after my second session she told me "ya estas mejor verdad? ya no tienes que regresar" (you're better right? you don't need to go again). GIRL. I sure did need to go back, and I've been going ever since. But my mom, like many other WOC had been taught the same thing - therapy is for those who are losing their minds. No one around her had ever told her it was okay to seek that type of help. And actually, no one around me had told me that either. But a little voice in my head, desperate for salvation was telling me I needed it. We all need a place that feels safe, where we can be very honest and not feel judged, where you're not going to be told to do 15 hail mary's and forget that you ever felt that thing. The worst thing you can do is push down whatever is suffocating you and pretend it doesn't exist... because whatever that thing is, it will come out and snatch your shit up. I don't mean to sound like a horror movie, but I do want you to feel a sense of urgency when it comes to your mental health and your well being. It's important to me, and it should be important to you.
I remember one night in September 2014 I came across this photo of this girl who was just stunning, and I immediately looked up who she was. Something about her really caught my attention, it was almost haunting. I was sad to learn she had committed suicide, they said she suffered from depression due to financial issues. Her name was Simone Battle and she was 25 years old. I told myself that when I launched my site I'd make sure to use it as a platform to talk about mental health, self-care, and spirituality. I don't want there to be any other Simone Battle's out there. Women who are full of life, beautiful in their own way, and intelligent but too scared to talk about whatever is weighing them down. And that doesn't mean complaining on social media, that's not healthy. We're talking real help here.
I've been depressed, I'm sure the person sitting next to you right now has too. We feel so ashamed about our downs that we tell ourselves it's not okay to say it out loud... to talk to someone about it. Well, I'm here to tell you FUCK THAT. There is no shame in being human. There is no shame in crying and needing someone to get us out of our own thoughts. Say it out loud, even if just in a whisper. I'm here to encourage you to seek help. Get you a therapist, learn to meditate, learn to let go, learn to write about it, learn to accept that you are not alone and that you do not have to go through this life thing solo. I'm here to tell you that therapy IS accessible! You just need to do the research, your health insurance will cover some of it (trust me, I found out at my last job that my health insurance covered it at 100% - jackpot!), and if it doesn't cover it and you still think you can't afford it-- there's a thing called: sliding scale, where a therapist will work with you and your budget... but you gotta ask. I'm not the most well versed, but I do know that all you need is a little time and some research. Take care of you my darling MOB. Otherwise what's the point of us even building a brand that caters to you when you won't cater to yourself?
This month at TGM we'll be focusing on the Internal Spring Cleaning - that of your mind and of your spirit. And maybe, hopefully, you'll find solace and solidarity in our words / tweets / photos. I am a work in progress, and I really love my therapist. I'm not always rolling up into her office crying, a lot of times we're talking good stuff and figuring out how I should stay there. One day at a time, step by step, no shame here.
Remember: You're not crazy. You're human.
peace & light