Reflection: the lost girl, the angry boy, the quiet, the withdrawn...the pain, the trauma...the ugly of being ignorant to the face of TRAUMA. Kids are cruel...and there is no shame for what we didn’t know or understand. What was hidden and covert. The darkness many faced. Because we never KNEW to understand. And hold not accountable the generation prior to who also didn’t know themselves in order to explain.
This new focus on mental health and trauma has peeled layers off an emotional onion, exposed the joyous oblivion of ignorance. But now that we know and understand that not all pain is visible...there needs to be a reconciliation of thought and action. DMX told us, “y’all gone make me loose my mind up in here”. It was an anthem to some of us but most likely a therapy session for him. Hip hop has always expressed the pain of the “hood” but X succinctly used hip hop as his therapy. Non traditional methods of therapy has always been a way of life for black people. Acting, singing, writing, we’ve entertained America with our pain and often through our pain. Even the genetically engineered athleticism (tongue in cheek) of Black people is a way for one to exercise and express pain. The hard work, the dedication, the will to be BETTER, the commitment to be GREAT. It’s away to prove we are just as good via our artistry. It’s our safe space to loose ourselves in. Yet the navigation of white spaces outside of these created safe spaces still plagues. And this is where the misrepresentation of the Negro gets America fucked up.
Normalize humanize...acknowledge that TRAUMA exists not only in white faces but is ever prevalent in black faces. It looms, it’s ever present. Yet, characterized as people with super human strength and power,
dehumanizes us. Or does it expose the insecurity of those who prescribe to this “myth”? TRAUMA created through your mischaracterization has caused these negative images to create this idea that we can suffer and withstand more.
URBAN PTSD is a thing...the navigated survival of: drug addicted parents, drug selling families, SEX work for survival, being sold for bill money, incarceration, failing schools, over policing, food deserts, access to care. Abysmal it may seem but imagine surviving WITHOUT the benefit of therapy, intervention. What does that look like? Your neighbor, your coworker? Angry, defensive, withdrawn? Or DMX? Or your favorite sports figure who “can’t get right”? PAC Man Jones to name 1 of hundreds.
Understand that RAGE is often despair, a knot of anguish that eats at ones insides and escapes via a plethora of emotions and behaviors. Realize that mental health is ongoing, a fitness journey of the mind. Therapy medication journaling etc...are all exercises for mental health. And just as you run, lift, cycle to stay physically fit, if you are hurting internally, spiritually, you without stigma have the RIGHT to exercise for mental fitness.
The voices, the images the LOUD that manifests through addiction. Addiction encompasses more than pharmaceuticals...there’s alcohol, shopping (yes), food, power (to compensate for the lack of control one has had in other areas of their lives) sex, masked as promiscuity or frigidity. Impulsive behaviors from always living on the edge. Defiant from being defensive, ready to defend and protect personal space as it’s been violated time and time again. This is TRAUMA. And even with therapy, the darkness always lurks, shadowy...lingering. Waiting for the day to poke and chip away at the wall that protects. Until...that wall begins to crumble and the leaks begin. The sleepless nights, the emotional rollercoaster, the impulsive behaviors. This is TRAUMA. The anxiety, the depression. The tears...isolation. Codependency. THE NEED....UGH the cravings. The craving to heal...that consumes thought and blurs judgement.
And there is a gene of addiction...Slick Rick said it best “if you smoke crack today, your kids will smoke crack tomorrow. Crack being the metaphor for the gene of addiction. And least we forget there is also a gene of mental illness. And THATS where the drugs seem as an easy out to help soothe the pain. The weed, alcohol, heron. Crack vs cocaine; same drug different guidelines. The attempts to dehumanize the very HUman fallout of Urban PTSD, to suppress the very loud anguish of a people systematically oppressed will have a nation ignore the infrastructural instability that IT created; redlining, white flight, and the war on drugs AMERICA started to further denigrate a people. This is why it’s easy to sympathize your Brittanys Amandas Roberts and lay blame of moral failure on your Earls, Chris Bs, Maia Campbells.
The Debarge Family et al. Wow...the GENE of addiction. Their father was an alcoholic.
My brother on sibling day said “X saved me we got through some shit together. Hip hop saved X...he lived 50 years, 29 years past the life expectancy of an urban Black male. Because Earl’s Trauma really is any urbanites cautionary tale; he just expressed it for the WORLD to HEAR it and he lived it so the WORLD SAW it...the voices, the dark memories and images, the pain and suffering the outlet the music. The women the drama...he told y’all They don’t know who WE BE.
And yet we, black folks persist, resilient and gloriously, we persevere, we thrive we rise we make away. This is why it’s a perception that we’re bigger, faster, stronger, when in fact we are just surviving the systemic obstacles that seem insurmountable to many. Yet these superhuman beings chop them down each and every time. We mobilize, we vote, we create, we overcome. WE LIVE. But it’s just as we’ve always done...despite the fact America released the shackles off our feet but never thought about: how are they gonna eat? We danced we sung we created we made away. This is why some of you fear us feel intimidated because you really don’t know....Who We BE.
We shall not mourn we shall celebrate. He was called by the ancestors his work was done. His pain is no more. He’s always been ready but his work wasn’t done.
RIP X thank you. 🤘🏽