For as long as he could remember his skin was a weapon he was made to understand that everyone saw him as black boy not smart boy mamas boy so sweet that he wouldn’t hurt a fly boy went to school and straight back home boy smile so hard his face hurt boy got stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time boy put your hands up boy white man looks at him white police officer who hold his gun upright eyes him with intent keep your hands up boy I wont be scared to shoot boy remember what you are boy all he could hear were his mothers words comply and you’ll be fine his chest rises and falls his last moments are controlled by the pull of a trigger the slightest movement is the cause of another black boy’s body echoing to the ground boy
T arget – That is what you are. Doesn’t Matter what kind of person you are on in the inside.
H oodlum – Your savage looks and slang make you less of a human
I dentity – Is defined as the action or process of identifying someone or something or the fact of being identified. Identity stripped hundreds of years ago and they are still more layers being peeled.
S anity – It’s there. You have IT. Or do You?
I ntegrity – Is one of your strongest well-known characteristics. Well so I thought. Infamous is what you are. Apparently.
S oul – Can be taken from your flesh without you having a warning.
A nger – Yea we feel it too. To bad this feeling was obtained after what happened to you.
M urder – No, Massacre. Although it only occurs one at a time. The quanity within the time frame is dissemination.
E quality – For who? Exercise your rights…Pow. Speak Knowledge…Pow. Lead your People…Pow. Driving in a car…Pow. Following instructions and holding your hands up. Ha you guessed it…POW POW.
R apine – Your temple as been violated. You, your family, and community get no type of apology.
I nnocent – Until Proven Guilty this does not pertain to you. You, you are Guilty Until Proven Innocent.
C olor – This is obvious. Your pigmentation is the cause of your assassination. A feature that you can not control. A feature that you did not choose. But unfortunately since you are an offspring of color you can not have control of your life or…death.
A nother Hashtag – Another Victim, Another Statistic. And the despising part of it all is that this cycle will live on but those that are in the cycle won’t.
ADDICTION: Hey there old friend. Maybe friend isn’t the correct term, so allow me to rephrase. Hello old habit. You and me were best friends. We were the Bert and Ernie of our time and yes we flew over the cliff and plunged into the abyss. I was sick and I only needed you. No chicken soup could cure this sickness. I thought you were all the antibiotics I needed. You and me were married once. I woke up to you, thought about you all day long, and rushed you into my arms at night. But that was just the honeymoon phase.
My friend, my disease. I was in it not for the thrill of the chase but for the end of my pain. When I was with you I saw my dreams come true. Pigs were flying, so I thought. I didn’t have to believe I was dying. I didn’t have to care about Mom, Dad, and anyone that showed me love. I avoided all and many. I only cared about cutting the perfect line, rolling a perfect dime, and making sure I didn’t look high. If I said I didn’t miss you I would be lying but hey, you’ve made a liar out of me before.
It’s easy to try and ignore the hell you put me through, but I would walk a thousand miles of hells seventh floor before I slip back into that fantasy. That coma of things that have never been and could never not be. Me and the devil have danced nine times to many and I know all his sweet moves. The devil put me in a checkmate I never saw coming.
My friend, my affliction, Kryptonite doesn’t have a damn thing on you! You kept me down for years and years and years. Only down was up and up was blue and it was way to difficult to stop believing in you. Believing you were better than real love. I loved you so much. You were my sweetheart, my carebear, my snow white, my green sticky icky, my pill kill, my daily fix. But you can’t fix this! You can’t fix my past or make my future bright. I know I sound like I’ve suddenly seen the light but it was always there. I just chose to close my eyes.
My friend I think it’s best we stop playing this game. It’s time I call you by your true name. ADDICTION, you were never my friend only another bullet I’d bitten. ADDICTION you are my cancer, you may not be stage four but you’re still terminal. You were the Woody to my Buzz Lightyear. Only now if I am driven to the edge of insanity I’ll skid to a stop. I will watch as you fall over the edge, and I’ll smile as you dive into oblivion. A place I never ever ever ever again want to be.
You’ve seen him the way his hat hangs low new, blue and straight brimmed clean-cut, clean-shaven and those eyes large and bright dark brown, framed perfectly with a thick, dark fringe his mouth usually curved in a smile or open with a laugh his ears shining with diamond earrings or his arms thin, dark and toned but secretly strong your eyes have wandered over his average, muscular body you’ve seen the way he walks with confidence and purpose fast, with long strides
You think you’ve memorized the image of him but
Have you seen? the scars that crisscross his wrists once red and dripping now thin white slivers the dark circles under his eyes heavy with lost sleep the same eyes once full of hope and wonder now swollen red from a long night of silent tears ribs sticking out no fat to be tugged on or what about the curves of his cheeks tear-stained and sucken his long fingers intertwining in and out of themselves over and over again when he needs to feel grounded and the way he spins his Jesus piece chain back and forth on his chest when he can’t find the words how his strong legs shake when the Anxiety consumes him.
So are you sure you’ve memorized his image?
Look again please, look again because he is waiting for one person just one person to notice how much he’s struggling I promise you you have not seen all there is to him there is more that lies underneath the surface if only someone would see it
Let me start off by saying, if you’re reading this I love you. It is so easy for me to find the good in you and love you, especially when you may be having trouble loving yourself. When you’re having a hard time standing up on your own, I’ll find a way to help and lift you up. When my phone rings at any point of the day or through the night, I will answer it and listen to you. I may not have the words to make things better but I will continue to do the best I can to help you get you through whatever you’re dealing with. God gave me a gift of empathy, and I use it the best I can to help others. Thats how I cope, thats the only way that I know that I will be alright.
But, I can’t save you. I remember my last words and conversations to countless amounts of friends that have passed on. Great memories of times that we’ve shared. I can’t look back and say “what if…” The truth is life goes on. Tonight, somebody else may die. I can’t control that, no one can. I will continue to open my arms and stand on the firing line of recovery, with my friends that choose to walk this path with me. I will continue to get to know you, learn about the struggles you’ve overcome and the person you want to be. I will continue to suit up and show up for God, and for myself….because the truth is, we are fighting the same battle. I need you just as much as you need me. Give yourself a chance. Ask for help. WE don’t need to do this alone. 🙏🏽❤️
I know you’ve been through a lot in the amount of time you’ve been on this earth. I know you’re keeping secrets and I know you’re scared and confused. It’s okay for you to feel that way. It’s okay to have a bad day or even many bad days. You’re allowed. And please know that I’m not trying to scare you when I say that you’re going to have a lot of bad days.
Unfortunately, what they’ve diagnosed you with isn’t going to go away and it’s not just some phase. You have a disease…kind of like how diabetes is a disease. It’s just that yours is a disease of the mind, and it’s often highly unpredictable.
You have Bipolar Disorder II. I guess that explains a lot. Hmmmm.
You’ll have to deal with this for the rest of your life, and I need you not to panic. You have a lot of work to do. You’re about to attempt to win a battle inside your brain every single day for the rest of your life. Sometimes, all you’ll be able to do is sleep and sometimes you won’t sleep for days. You’ll see doctor after doctor and try what will seem like 1,000 medications, but in between all of that, there will be good times. Your life is not over…it’s just beginning.
There are millions of people diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. It seems like nearly every day a celebrity comes forward to admit that they have struggled with it, just to let us know we can still achieve greatness. You can and will get through this with grace and dignity, even if you stumble a bit at first trying to find your path.
The worst part about being diagnosed with a mental health condition is the ignorance and stigma you’ll face daily. There will be people who will walk out of your life or treat you like trash because you have a disease of the mind. A disease you didn’t ask for or contract doing something unsafe or illegal. It’s just how your brain is wired. But some people may never understand that or even believe it, no matter how hard you try to explain it.
Don’t let their ignorance tear you down. You have enough work to do just fighting the negative voices in your head. You will struggle, there is no question about that. Unfortunately, at times the pain will seem unbearable, and it will get to you no matter how steady you think you are. That is when it is the easiest to give up, but you can’t do that. Not now. Not ever.
Please, whatever you do, don’t hurt yourself in any way. You may feel alone at times, but you are never truly alone in this fight. There is always a light around the corner. There is always tomorrow.
Despite your struggles, there will be moments where you shine. And in time, when you’re more self-aware, your bad days will only amplify the good. You’ll learn to appreciate those moments even more because you fought to get there. I promise you: You can do this.
You won’t have all the answers all the time, but in time, you will learn what works for you and what doesn’t. It will be a struggle, but if you weren’t a fighter, you wouldn’t be here now. I’ll be here waiting.
I struggle with Mental Health issues every day….every….single…day.
I will never understand how people are so uncomfortable addressing mental health issues but are comfortable sending get well wishes to someone with a broken bone or going through surgery. 🤦♂️
No, it’s not a phase.
No, it’s not an on/off switch I can flip in my head.
No, it’s not a passing feeling.
No I’m not doing it for attention.
No, it’s not laziness.
No, It’s not sadness.
No it’s not “something you get over”.
It’s a lifelong condition, and I’m at peace with that.
Yes, I’ve had therapy. Group and individual.
Yes, I’ve done exercise and ate healthy.
Yes, I do joke around and make others laugh and smile.
Yes, I’ve worn a mask, due to the stigma of mental health, and honestly…its a shame that I had to hide it.
Always be kind to the people around you. Not all traumas are visible. Just because you cant see their wounds doesnt give you a right to judge or belittle anyone. Love is a universal language, spread it as much as you can. So if you see someone’s having a rough day, share a smile, lend them your ear and encourage them to keep going.
“The worst part of having a mental illness is people expect you to behave as if you don’t”. — Joker
I had lost a whole decade to Addiction. Late nights into the early mornings, I was snorting Cocaine or Adderall alone or with others. Crushing pills or cutting cocaine was a pretty, mouth watering sight. I was looking down at a line of powder on the table. It was my second or third 8-ball of the night, at a time when I was snorting 20 or so lines in a day. With the dollar bill in my hand, I considered a couple of truths: I’d stolen the drugs from dealers; I’d eventually be caught; part of me wanted to be caught; part of me hoped I’d die before that happened.
“We really have a problem,” I said to myself. When things got really bad…when I couldn’t believe the things I was doing…I’d start referring to myself as a group.
I snorted each line. The burn felt like pain and ecstasy and shame. But no matter how high I’d get myself those days with the dripping sweat, heart jumping in my chest, and ringing in my ears, I couldn’t shake the feeling of loneliness. And later in the evenings after b work, I’d start drinking whiskey to slow down my body. Rinse, lather, repeat.
It wasn’t always that bad. Like many addicts, things were great for a while. I’d spent a good five years clubbing and doing drugs casually; I was a weekend warrior, I was in my mid twenties, and I was thrilled. I thought I’d connected with people and there was something more real about being high than there was about not being high. But my drinking/drug life was incompatible with my work life. I couldn’t go out partying on Sunday night, coasting home at 2:00AM on Monday morning, and hope to be productive at work, though I tried. I remember one of these Mondays, falling asleep while a coworker was talking to me.
I had lost a whole decade to Addiction. Every aching year it progressed more and more until my brain was on overdrive. Addiction was Charles. Charles was Addiction. I couldn’t fathom a life without a substance in my system. I combined alcohol, drugs, gambling and sex mixed them all in a pot and the outcome was harmful.