Once I went to a conference where they were talking about mental health in black communities.
It all felt so weird, yet so rewarding
Coming into that room filled with black, brown, light and white faces.
I have to say, I was kind of shocked you know, because well, from what I know, black people don’t talk about mental health
Some call it a taboo, I call it a deep fear
And of course, I am not talking about me
I distanced myself [at the time] from those people, my people
I just went because a good friend of mine invited me
it was nothing to me
One of my friends sent me a DM saying that riots don’t change behaviours
I replied that they make the rage and the hate get out of the mind
He answered that the rage and the hate grew in the mind because the system let it
The system don’t allow change therefore enhance rage
Riots should not be the answer to that
But the black community can’t find a unity in discourse therefore they riots
To me he wasn’t right
We have a unity in discourse
We want to live
To him too
but wanting was not enough
My mother has a PhD in Health and Society,
her thesis was about the healing power of spirituality,
she’s ‘’the psych’’ in my church
People come to her and talk to her, and then leave better.
And she talked to us too, you know,
my family I mean: 2 brothers, 2 sisters, 1 dad.
Yes, I have one.
In our home, I always felt like my parents were ready for us.
Like the “I got you” type of vibe.
I never felt privileged nor different
They got me.
Well at the time it didn’t occur to me that maybe I didn’t get myself.
The first guy I ever loved was white.
The moment we kissed, I felt like I betrayed my people.
One time, we were discussing children and I said I wanted to have black kids, he looked at himself and laughed.
I wasn’t joking,
that was my first step towards the break up.
Breaking up with a culture is nothing funny.
First time I kissed a girl, I was drunk.
I did it as a joke, to entertain my people. Black people. I was the only white one.
My skin color peeled itself out of my body the minute I chose Celine Dion over Ray Charles
And the sound of my voice shifted from the roar of a lion to the growl of a polar bear
It wasn’t about me.
It never was, it was about my people.
One time some white kid threw a banana at my feet while I was walking to my class
It was funny to everyone why not me?
One night I woke up from a dream where I was me. The white version of me.
I started singing worship songs, because I didn’t know any better, and for a second I thought about the richness of being black.
And it did cover the monkey sounds in my head.
Black communities are not ready to take care of their people.
There I said it.
(Feature Image – Instagram: @pedronapolinario with models @flavianastacia @oliveiramilla_ @oliveiraajoy)