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This is a hard one for me to write about. No matter how many times I have tried to piece this together, get the words together and it never seemed right. So, I am going to write from heart.
I recently found out that a family member of mine committed suicide in a vehicle while their child was in the house. Thankfully, the child was not physically injured, but we are still missing our family member. As being someone who has dealt with depression, anxiety, thoughts of suicide, attempted suicide early on as an adult, I am familiar with feeling hopeless or unworthy. However, with this situation, on top of it happening in my own family, its beyond difficult and very hard pill to swallow.
Suicidal thoughts can come from several places. Now days, living in the world of social media and instant gratification, those thoughts or feelings are more prevalent. Not dealing with situations in early childhood are most likely the starting point for feeling as if you are not worthy of life you live. Especially when if you lived in a house that was like mine.
3.) DON’T OPEN THE DOOR FOR NOBODY!
2.) DON’T ANSWER THE PHONE AT A CERTAIN HOUR FOR NOBODY!
AND THE FAMOUS: 1.) WHAT HAPPENS IN MY HOUSE, STAYS IN MY HOUSE!!
Take a journey with me…
You’re 10 years old. You live in a home of complete disfunction. Your Mom and Dad are both on drugs. Your family members know about it. However, they aren’t financially capable of doing anything about it, so they can’t take you in. You are being neglected and ignored. You are being beat when your parents think you stole money from them. But it’s really, they are high and you look like the enemy!
You are told you are better seen than heard. You go to school and get teased in the most embarrassing ways. After leaving school, you must come home to the same thing from siblings, only to wake up and do this life all over again. Not just for another day, but for another 8-10 years.
Fast forward, and you are now 25.
You decide you can’t do this thing called life anymore.
You kill yourself.
Then what? You have a family who is weeping, pretending, they don’t know what happened or why you would do it. (Come on family, REALLY?!)
Now, add social media the mix!
This is what happens to many people around the world. *Especially, in the black community. We are taught at an early age that you need to stop complaining and deal with it (whatever it is), or, “You need to just get over it!”
” You don’t have depression and anxiety! Black people don’t have anxiety!”
” You have anxiety, huh? Go to bed!”
From a hurt child, to a hurting adult. When you hurt long enough, you begin to decide to find a way out.
See, we are so busy doing this thing called life to pay for our bills, spouse and putting on for The Book/The Gram, that we forget what is most important: our own selves
You can’t do anything if your mind, body, heart and spirit is toxic! When we are taught to sweep things under the rug, keep things on the hush, that behavior transitions to adulthood. Since we didn’t get the love, attention and help from our families, we look for a filler (Did I mention social media?).
I could go on and on about the behind the scenes factors that play a huge part of suicide in adults and adolescents. To some, suicide is an easy way out not a means to an end. It’s a mean to an end for the person who commits it, but not the ones you leave behind! Suicide is an extremely selfish act. For some people in certain situations, you leave your family behind to cry and weep for you. Some even commit suicide themselves.
I apologize for my generation and the generations before me, who didn’t set a proper and appropriate foundation for those who came after them to feel loved, cherished, secure or cared for. Who didn’t teach you that you are worthy, valuable, adored and that you are enough.
There is more help now then it was when I was growing up. There are suicide prevention lines, psychologists, text therapy app and Google, to name a few.
If you feel like you can’t do life anymore, as if you would be better if weren’t on the planet anymore, please seek help! Don’t put your family though what I am going through right now. I am so happy that God spared my life so that I can be here to share my experience with you. Remember that you are not the only one in the world that are going through what you are going through.
Your situation may make you feel isolated, but this life is worth living. Reach out because even if family don’t reach back, someone will.
The Ideal Firestarter Contributor
From the Admin:
Black children do have depression, deal with anxiety and experience trauma! And sad, hurting black children, become black adults whom have depression, anxiety and who nurture trauma. Therapy is not being white, or doing what white people do! You are worthy of this life and living all days given. JBH
There is a stigma that follows African-American youth that seems to not be associated with any other demographic of children. It would seem that we breed our children to embrace and be willing to trauma and traumatic happenings. However, I would be remised in my duties as a mother and writer not to speak about the children of color whom identify as members of the LGBTQ community.
I am a married cis-gendered heterosexual woman. I cannot know or fathom what is like to be a part of a family whom would remove the basic social need from me for coming out as gay, lesbian or trans.
This was taken from GLAAD (the article is dated from 2014:
This study also looked at LGBT youth in an important and innovative way: the researchers considered the significance of intersectionality, or having multiple minority identities that operate together. As opposed to following suit with past studies that have lumped LGBT youth of color into one category, this study analyzed the unique intersections of race, sex, and LGBT identity.
The study found that compared with white LGBT youth, Latino and Native American/Pacific Islander LGBT youth had greater odds of attempting suicide. In particular, Latina LGBT girls had a significantly higher prevalence of suicide attempts in the year prior to being surveyed than any other racial category. On a similar note, Latino LGBT boys reported twice the amount of feeling sad in the last year than boys of other racial categories. On the flip side, black and Asian American LGBT youth fared better on a number of outcomes.
In collecting this type of information, you have to understand how necessary it is. Humanity does not end because people love who they love, or do things you don’t like.
There is a cord this type of suicide strikes in me. Life is precious and I have no right to supervise God’s love in the face of other people. I cannot imagine what it would take or would mean for a parent to no longer live you because of who you choose to love. As a parent, I cannot imagine what pain my child could be in where they believe death is the only viable option.
I am of the mindset that one reason which children of color kill themselves in the LGBTQIA community is the weight of feeling unloved and just wrong. Feeling that the people whom are supposed to love them the most and longest, snatch that away—and that hole is left to consume them. I cannot imagine.
Life is a dirty, unclean and beautiful set of years. A gift. That gift is extended to all who are walking this blue globe. It shouldn’t be snatched away because one doesn’t feel accepted by a biological family. I’m of the mindset of the psalmist:
When my mother and father forsake me, the Lord will take me up.
We are all wounded, beloveds. Sometimes those wounds are better hidden. That doesn’t mean they aren’t there, relevant or in need of treatment. Love is the most potent, cheapest cure I know.
Give it liberally. Some of those in this world may have a deeper well to fill.
I was a little girl from Saint Louis MO, born in the mid 80’s, born to an alcohol and drug-addicted mother. When living in a world when laying on the floor becomes the norm to avoid gun shots flying thorough your home, you would think, “Wow, she never had a chance!” You are almost right. Don’t get me wrong, at that time, I loved my family, but I didn’t love myself. I didn’t know who I was.
I was also the fat sister, friend, cousin, aunt and what I thought most: the inconvenience. It seems like no matter what I did or how well I did it, I was still fat. On top of dealing with the world outside of home, being the fat kid, I was the dirty kid. I couldn’t take showers or bath because of my home situation. I sometimes couldn’t take care of myself because sometimes my family did not have lights, gas or running water. I had a mother and sister who always looked down on me because I was fat. This is what triggered for me I was never good enough or that I was unacceptable. These are 5% of the many reasons of why I started to hate myself and at the age of 12, I wanted to kill myself.
Now being older, it’s a shame that we have a community of people, including children, who want to kill themselves. Some of these feelings can be brought on by their surroundings, being teased, not seeing a way out of their current situation or the lack of knowledge to change it! Feelings of shame, regret and feeling hopeless play a part as well. We in the black community, don’t allow black children to be vulnerable enough to speak about what’s going on in the depths of their souls. We don’t allow black children the freedom of expression and openness needed to look beyond the surface of what is going on so we as those whom love them have the understanding of the essence of who they are. We get caught up in our own lives and issues that we mismanage our children! Although this may not be intentional as it was in my case, however It is vital that we make the black children in our lives a priority. We should never have a situation where a black child feels left behind, ignored, unloved or abandoned!
If parents don’t become involved at an early age, or at that onset of a possible problem, you run the risk of missing the signs the child may have for suicidal ideation or a possible attempt on their own lives.
If asked about my past history with suicide or attempts, I can honestly say I did contemplate suicide at age 12. I had my first attempt to kill myself at age 16, then again at age 24. In retrospect, I am so thankful that I am alive, but I still battle with those old feelings of worthlessness, abandonment, shame, anger, voiceless and feeling unloved.
I know who I am at 34. But I still have bouts of depression which lead to these dark thoughts of what the world would look like without me in it. However, the takeaway from my story is that you can make it out, your circumstances will and do change if you decide to change them. I was fortunate to have other people outside my family love me, speak life into me and show me there was a better way for my life to change outside of attempting to end it.
I am glad that I am alive to see what the rest of my life holds for me. I am excited to plan, try new things, and explore the world around and beyond me. Take heart. You can make it out of the dark places. Asking for help does not make your weak, soft or unworthy. You have every right to ask for what you need from the people that love you. If they can’t help you don’t feel comfortable asking, their are teachers and the other counseling options that will help you without judgment.
You write this story. Don’t quit in the middle. You will never see how it ends if you do that.
As a child, we are taught to be selfless, humble and to put others before ourselves. If you are always thinking and doing for others, who is going to take care of you? Who is thinking about you? When you are consistently putting others before you and you’re not being taken care of the same, you will start to feel used, unloved and underappreciated. Which in turn will lead to other feelings such as: anger, bitterness, frustration and the list goes on and on.
Be advised everything has a balance and in order for you to care for anyone else, you have to take care of you first. As Katt Williams would say: Your Star Player. That is truly that art of self-love. If the team is depending on the star and the star is not up to par, the whole team will eventually suffer.
The definition of self-love simply means: regard for one’s own well-being and happiness. We should strive to be the very best version of ourselves. Here are a few tips on how you begin to be in touch with your ‘star player’:
- Self-Maintenance- Would you drive a car that you knew without a shadow of doubt that would break down on you as soon as drive on the highway going 60 miles an hour in high speed traffic? I would surely hope the answer is NO! The same things go for you. Taking proper care of yourself, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually is a vital part of self-love. Embrace the things you know will get you going and moving in a positive manner.
- Establishing Boundaries and Protect Yourself- Don’t place yourself in situations or circumstances that you know are not safe and nor conducive to a peaceful, healthy lifestyle. It’s is okay to recognize when you need to let go of people or jump ship. Even for close friends and family. Never hold on to a relationship or situation which does not serve you. This is the fastest doom to self-love. If it is friendships, relationships or work interactions don’t serve you or bring you higher to help become your best self, these situations are dead weight and a detriment to your life.
Forgiveness– After you’ve gone through self-maintenance, you’ve set boundaries to protect yourself, you are going to upset some people along the way. They are going to notice that you are happier, but they are also going to feel like something is wrong with you. They may feel like you are acting funny, you think you are better than they are or being shady. It may make you feel like you did something wrong and you will mostly start to feel bad about it.
DON’T FALL FOR THE TRAP!
It’s okay. The ones that feel like this, are the ones you probably should have let go of a long time ago. We are extremely hard on ourselves at times. You must forgive yourself. If you can’t forgive you, how can you forgive anyone else? Holding on to all the hurt, pain and anguish that you know you caused or someone may have felt that you have caused them is never good for your soul or your spirit. You need to release and relinquish those feelings! Forgiving yourself is not making the bad behavior or mistake okay. Its recognizing that you may have done something that was out of order, making a conscious and consistent effort to not repeat the behavior, apologizing (if necessary) and learning from it to teach others.
In today’s society we are always at the service of others, but when are we going to realize that we need to serve ourselves so that we can service others? Remember, you are worthy of your own time, space, love and attention just like others are. It’s not being selfish. It’s taking responsibility for yourself first.