Black Women & Mental Illness

When you hear the word “Black Woman” what do you think of?  Maybe strong, magical, smart, nurturer, etc.  Growing up in a black family household, you never really spoke about your business. The quote I usually heard was ” what happens in this house stays in this house”. That quote stayed with me even today in my adulthood. As an adult now, I understand that my aunts and grandmothers really meant well when they said those words. They didn’t want people sticking their noses in something it has no business being in. Or because just maybe they didn’t want to be judged. I was raised if you have an obstacle face it head on, find a solution and get through it simple as that. But what if you can’t just face those problems by yourself. Usually my family would tell me to pray about it. Sometimes situations need prayer and action behind it. I do believe God send us individuals in your life to help you through each situation.

Many black women try so hard to keep up this “image” of superwoman 20161004_141543.png. We try to handle any and everything that life throws at us. But when life becomes hard who can you talk to about the rough patches. After my son was born, I fell into depression. Many would say it was postpartum but I felt like it was it was different. Here I was with a new child that has a this condition that I really didn’t know anything about. Plus, I was living with my aunt with no job. I felt really down and got really hard on myself. I was doing everything on my own and I my mind was running 100 miles a minute. To add on being depressed I had anxiety. I was thinking that I was being a burden/taking up space in my aunt’s house.  I didn’t want to tell my friends/family because I felt like I would be seen as crazy or even be judged.

For me to to keep my spirits up, here are of couple of exercises I did to mange my anxiety. Now I am NO doctor. I can only tell you what worked for me. For one I had to take time for myself.  I mean really sit and turn my phone on do not disturb and breathe. I learned how to mediate get the loud sounds away from me to clear my head. I had to learn to try not to be not too hard on myself. Count to ten understand everyone is not perfect, & we are all trying to get through this thing called LIFE. Finally I talk to a counselor. When I was growing up, if you heard someone was talking to a “shrink” you just thought they were crazy.  Now me being an adult, talking to someone who knows NOTHING about me help me be more open with expressing myself.

Again I am no doctor, this is what helped for me. Anxiety still rears it’s ugly head somedays, it’s all about not letting it take hold of your life. I think the best thing I was able to do was go to counseling. Getting everything out in the open is a great thing. Its natural for us black women to feel weak. It is okay for us to say “hey I need help, I cant do this by myself”. Its okay sometimes to step back from a situation and say “I need a break for a minute”.

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Comment below and tell me if you have anxiety, what do you do to handle it.

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Tested Faith

Every since I can remember, I grew up in the church. My sister and I were at church every Sunday. We even sometimes made it to church so early for Sunday school. I remember when I was living with my Aunt T and Uncle K we use to have bible class on Saturdays. So you can say, I knew about God & I kinda knew his miracles.

In my teenage years, I really didn’t think about having a connection with God. I was thinking about doing teenage things. Also I felt that since my family was praying for me, I really didn’t need to do it. I still went to church, but I felt like I was forced to go.  I don’t think that I really started to want a connect with God until I was pregnant with my son. I prayed to God for me to be a great mom.  To be a nurturer that my mother can be proud of. When he was diagnosis with Hirschsprung’s disease, I prayed for my son’s health to be under control. For my son to live a normal life, just like any other child.

Just recently my son’s Hirschsprung’s decided to act up. He was having accident very often. Not only did this affect my son physically but it affected me emotionally. I felt like I prayed to God to keep his disease in control. I asked God why?! Why was he doing this to my child. I wasn’t a bad person, why was God punishing my child. I felt like my faith was leaving. I didn’t want to pray anymore. I felt so defeated and helpless since I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t say my prayer for days, I felt that praying was doing no good.

I spoke to my grandmother, aunt and my friends about how I felt. The only thing, they all was saying was to read your bible. The scripture that I read was James Chapter 1, verse 2-4 and it reads :

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

Now I am no preacher by far but that scripture really touched my soul. From what I received from this passage is when your faith is tested don’t get sad. Come to God, so he can be able to guide you.  Whatever your test may be whether it be a test of your faith it makes you stronger. When you go through your testing of the faith it makes you a different person, a better you.

After reading this I just instantly started to cry. All this time I was running away from God, when I was supposed to run to him.  I instantly started praying and apologizing for running away from him. Also for doubting him and his miracles. I ended up apologizing to myself for letting the devil creep in my thoughts when I was at my lowest point. Finally even though my son was sleep, I had to ask for him to forgive me. Here is a kid who has this condition but that doesn’t stop him. He continues to wake  up with a happy smile on his face. Not to mentions he always is smiling and hugging me. 

I had to understand that no we may can’t get rid of this condition, but whatever we can do to make it better that is what I am going to do. I knew it was time to do more soul-searching for me to start doing what my granny and aunts been saying. I had to get a closer relationship with God.

My son update is we are still having a battle with his condition, but my son is such a happy child. He helps me keeps a great outlook to know with every problem there is a solution. Life comes at us heads on, and its something we can’t control. We all wonder about our faith in God because the road to success is hard. Things may not go how we want it to go. But we have to do things in God’s plan. We may pray for things and God may feels that its not for us. Or at this present moment is not a good time to receive it. I am learning to continue to trust in God no matter what. I am also learning that God sends people in our lives to also lend a helping hand or to learn from.

Comment below to let me know how your faith was tested and how you overcame it..

The Goodbye Letter

We all have been through heartbreak. Whether you’re a man or woman, getting over a person that you have loved with every breath of you is never easy.  Asking numerous of people how do they get over a heartache, I received a lot of different answers. One of my co-workers stated that she usually drinks wine, take a nice bath and ease her mind. One of my friends stated that she never remembers numbers. So when she deletes their number out of her phone its easy to forget them. Some people move out of  the state to have a fresh start. Clear your mind and get back to the person you use to be before him/her. A few people who I know tend to get under the next male/female that they can find. Some like to be alone and cry or eat the pain away. A couple of individuals do extreme things like fuck up property or other belongings. Others go on the world-wide web and bash the other person’s character.  As for me, I do the only thing that I am good at which is writing.  I know what you are thinking “really Jerricka, writing helps you get over a person” yes it does. I also talk to my friends but when it all boils down to it I write. Just because let’s be for real, we  tell our friends the story but not the WHOLE story about the significant other.  I usually write it in a letter form as if I am going to mail it off, but I don’t. Sometimes I keep in a journal or I usually burn them.  This helps me get all my frustrations out because I can’t sit in the dark and cry.  Or just can’t up and move to start a new life. being a mom, its hard to be depressed over things. I can’t sit in my sadness. I have to put on a brave face and put my hurt in the back of my mind to start the day. And being honest I HATE when my son sees me cry. He knows when I hurt then he hurts and plus he tells me “mom stop crying like a baby”. Just recently I had to close a chapter in my life with someone and it has been hard. I didn’t want to do it but I know it had to be done.  I wanted to share the Goodbye letter I wrote:

Hey knowing you, you may think this is a little dramatic. Well you know that being dramatic is my middle name. Since now we barely talk, it is kinda clear where this situation is at. But in order for me to move on with my life I need closure. Knowing there are questions that may not ever be answered and I have to be okay with that. I have been in love with you since I was 18 years old. Don’t know what really made me show up to that party early, but i am glad I did. I got to know a great person and a friend before anything. I was able to bring my wall down and let you in to see the real me. The girl who loves watching documentaries, watching the discovery, history and the animal planet channel.  I was able to know about your childhood and why you the way you are. You made me laugh with the corny ass jokes you had. On the other hand we was able to talk about things that affected the black community. We was able to talk about everything and we give great advice, now we barely speak. I can’t say that I am happy about it, it kind of sucks. I miss talking and texting you everyday. We have had our ups and downs but we was always able to get back cool. This time, it might don’t happen and its okay.  I felt like if nothing else was going good in my life, I was happy to have to in it. I thought about having big fat chunky babies with your hair color. Now that I have to let you go and move on with my life. I know me having a child, hurt you but we got past it. We never really had the title of “boyfriend and girlfriend” and I was kinda cool with it. Knowing that we had a deeper bond then those words was great. I have always questioned myself as to why we couldn’t say those words if me and you was playing those roles. I always wondered if i wasn’t pretty enough or wasn’t smart enough. Maybe i wasn’t successful or not making enough money that you thought your “woman” should be making. I tried to be the positive light in your life not knowing that I was dimming my own. Not knowing that I was kinda selling myself short everyday, cause in the back of my mind I sorta knew it might wasn’t meant. Maybe I wanted you to stay because you was a person that can get me away from my normal life. I wanted you to put your pride aside and show me the affection I was showing you. I wanted you to love me like I loved you. You told me plenty of times that you loved and appreciated me, understanding now you just wasn’t in love with me. I thought you was going to choose a side and you did but it wasn’t mine. But I still pray for you every night. I pray that you find peace in whatever is in God’s plan. I pray that God molds you into the man that he wants you to be. I pray that God’s sends you someone in your life that will be able to feed your mind, body and spirit. I pray that God hears all your prayers. If it is in God’s will that our universe comes together again, I pray it be within his will. Until then.. I wish you the best 

 

Sincerely,

A person that Loved you.

Whatever methods you use to get over a person make sure its mature. Make sure that you are ready to let your past go. You don’t want to move on in your future with baggage.

Comment below, and tell me a time when you had to get over someone and how did you feel.

Another Year Older

Aye, It is the Leo zodiac season, so you know what that mean. It is almost time for a young beautiful Queen birthday. Who do you ask…. well obviously me of course. This year I turn the BIG 2-7. For me turning 27 is a reflection of all the things I have went through to make it to get to this age. To be honest this year, I really didn’t want to celebrate my birthday. I feel the older I get, I just thank God that I am to wake up and see another day. Plus when I try to plan events for my birthday things doesn’t go as planned. Whether friends don’t want to go to your event, or the place you wanted to go to is closed. So this year, I am doing something simple…. going out to dinner. I know who doesn’t love food, everyone does. Bringing my family and friends together to laugh and enjoy each other’s company.

I have realized being 27 is the age of beginning a new chapter in my life. There is a lot of things that I want to change:

  1. Being more vocal on how I feel with my family as well as my friends. I am so worried about me not hurting people feelings. Then I realized, being a good friend is not always telling a person what they WANT to hear but what they NEED to hear. 
  2. Stop stressing over EVERYTHING. As I am getting older my time clock is ticking. I do want more children and a husband and own a home. Everything happens in God’s time. Don’t wreck your brain over somethings you can’t control. 
  3. MAKE TIME FOR YOU. I am always in mommy mode that I am always forgetting about myself. I need to stop “babying” my son and let him do things for his self. Yes he has hirschsprung’s disease but it is not mental, he can learn to do a lot by himself. Plus he starts kindergarten and he needs to be a big kid. 
  4.  Not forcing anything with anyone. If someone wants to be in your life, they will put forth the effort to do so. If not, wish them well and continue to live your life. 

So about my birthday weekend, It was one of the best birthdays EVER.  Friday I had made it to Chicago. My friends and I went to this “Old school Juke party”. I must say, that it was a decent party. I saw a lot people I haven’t seen since high school plus the vibe was really nice. It bought so many memories of when I was in high school going to Fifth City dancing and having a great time. Not to mention, I had to something I haven’t done in a while which is lie about my name. Saturday was my dinner party and I have to say my friends showed up and showed out. My Make up was done my the lovely Simply Sheka. Check out her YouTube page ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMm2MgpFxsXDGAgwoIt5_lQ.  So before I went to dinner, I was drinking and celebrating. When I was getting dressed, I was drinking. We went to dinner at The Clubhouse in Oakbrook, IL and it was so nice. I showed up a little bit late. Now all my friends and family should know that me and father time do not get along. The dinner was wonderful seeing all the people who I invited come together and laughed and had a great time. Sunday I had went on a boat with my best friend and her family. Just being on the boat was so relaxing, looking at the skyline of Chicago. Thinking to myself, how can a city this beautiful be in so much hurt. Then Monday, it was back to reality I went home to my awesome kid.

In the words of SZA “Hoping my 20 somethings won’t end, Hoping to keep the rest of my friends. Hoping my 20 somethings don’t kill me”. Getting older is not the end of the world. It’s just like wine, it only gets better. Thinking about when I was 21 where I was and where I am now. I can say I have made great progress. I am still working on making me a person as well trying to find my way like everyone else.

Comment below and tell me what did you realize about yourself after your birthday.

Embracing your Melanin…

I was watching a documentary about black women and their skin color. Now everyone knows I love watching documentaries and learning about more about my culture. What shocked me about this documentary was how many of the women really disliked their skin color. One part in the film that caught my eye is when a little girl didn’t want to be considered “black”. It was a lot of older women in their mid 30’s and early 40’s in the film and it got me wondering… Do black women still feel this way? Now the documentary was made in 2011, and that’s not too old. So I went to my friends to ask a couple of questions. Did you have trouble embracing your skin? As  for me growing up, I wasn’t teased about my skin tone. I knew I was black but I didn’t think it was a big deal until I went to school with other cultures. I had a Caucasian friend, who had a dog. She had the nerve to tell me the dog didn’t like black people.

Now being 8 years old you didn’t think about how dogs are color blind, so how can this animal tell the difference. My white friends always stated the obvious. For example, my hair texture was different or I didn’t get lice. I remember, since I was the only black girl in my class I liked this boy. I forgot his name it’s not important but he didn’t want to like me back because I was black. Instead of hating myself I thought about he missed out on a fabulous person.

Majority of my friends that I have asked, luckily didn’t get teased and always have love their skin. Black kids didn’t tease me about my skin but more so of my appearance. I had/have big lips, which I didn’t like as a child but the older I got I knew they wasn’t going anywhere. I had to learn to embrace things that couldn’t be changed. One of my friends gives an in site about growing up as a black girl: “don’t recall being “teased” about my skin color. However, I have been told that I’m pretty to be a dark skin girl. I remember being told this as little as 8 years old. This made me think that being “dark, but pretty” was a privilege and that I must be lucky.” “there were times instances when I got into arguments with others and they would feel the need to comment on skin color by saying things like, “Black ugly ass.” “Believe it or not African-Americans usually made the comments”. This got me wondering why does black kids tease other black children.

My friends and I all agreed on the Willie Lynch syndrome. If you don’t who he is I’ll give to a brief summary. Willie Lynch was a slave owner who delivered a speech to other slaves owners on how to control slaves/blacks. Not beating them to death, not even whipping them until your arms were tired but put them against each other. Putting lighter shades of blacks against the darker shade. Hints the brown paper bag method.  Putting the difference between blacks, he stated that this can control blacks for hundreds of years. Unfortunately he was right it has. He also stated in his speech, if they were to put the status of blacks (house nigger vs field nigger)  against one another this will be successful as well. Again he was very right. We now may not be in chains and out in fields today but this does affect us. One black woman may buy “red bottoms” another one may buy shoes from “Ross”. Is the “red bottom” wearing woman better than the other?? No, she is not because when it all boils down to it, in the words of Jay-Z “we are still niggers”.

How does this Willie Lynch syndrome affect our dating life within the black community. Majority of the men I asked “what was their type” of black woman, they went for the light-skinned woman. Then when you ask them why the answer always ” umm I don’t know, they keep themselves up and they make cute babies”. Like really??? Me personally, I don’t look at the color of someone’s skin. Something about a black men is so sexy. Not to mention, they look awesome in a suit. I have dated lighter, medium, and darker shades of black men. In my opinion, it is all about if we have an awesome connection. If a person have a great heart and a great personality. Also I am somewhat of a goofy damn near a goof troop (no offense to anyone),I love to laugh. Also having an intellectual conversation is a plus. Just so happens that a guy lighter than me likes having me around 😂😂.  Someone I know, she always dated lighter black men. Never knew the reason, that’s just what she liked.  One of my closest friend tell me why she loves her husband’s skin tone ” I feel the darker, the better. I love dark skin so much, I married an even darker man so that we can have chocolate babies”  Another friend had to chime in about dating a black men. “I prefer dark skinned. The darker the berry the sweeter the juice lol. It’s just something about a dark skinned black man. I have nothing against dating a man of fairer skin, but I just like my men dark.” 

What exactly do you love about being black? Honey I LOVE EVERYTHING  about being melanin. From how we are able to do our hair is such a diverse way. To the point we look awesome in every single bright color in the summer time. How we stand together in the time of need as one unit. How black leaders laid their lives on the line for African-American rights. How we are creative and artistic making things into our own. How God created us in all types of shades and we can have to connection with one another. How we are so original and that so many other cultures, wants to duplicate us. To know that the laws was not made for us, but some how we are trying to make it through.

Yes we do have so many ways to go with not only embracing our color but embracing one another. Hearing my own niece stating that she does not like to be considered to be “dark”. I know that I have to teach her that being “dark” is the best thing to be she is very beautiful. To tell all my nieces and little female cousins to stand up tall and be proud of their color. To start buying dolls that resembles US. It’s more than loving your skin but it’s about loving the person that God as created you to be. 

Comment below and tell me when did you start embracing your melanin. 

Girl Trips

This is the year for you. You made a promise to yourself that you was going to enjoy life. You been looking at a couple of places to go this year & you want to invite your friends. You text everyone letting them know the dates & times you want to go. Even giving everyone a couple of months to prepare. Then when it is time to go……………………………………

I think my friends can agree with me, when I say I am always down to go to a well needed girls trip. Heck we work from Monday through Friday, just to go home to work on OUR gifts/goals. We have kids, bills and life that comes up out of no where. As my friend would say all the time “I don’t like counting other people’s money BUT, somethings you can make time for”. I don’t know about all my friends but for me, I don’t want to go through life just paying bills and working.  Don’t wanna wake up old saying “I could’ve, would’ve and should’ve” did this or that.  Now this past weekend trip almost didn’t happen, and the reason why is because I love inviting a lot of my friends out on trips. When they can’t come I usually just cancel the whole damn thing. But I am starting to realize, when you wait on certain friends, more than likely you don’t go anywhere.  I can say I have a decent amount of friends but at some point you have to stop asking everyone and ask a good 4 to 5 friends and just go.

So my friends and I finally went on a trip together.  This past weekend, I must say that it was one of the best trips I have ever been on. Now it was SIUC black alumni weekend and let’s just say the turn up was really real. Great vibes, great attitudes and just being around your friends it was great.  Just seeing all the beautiful black people in every shade of  color was so touching . Going to the pool parties and well as the BBQ’s and not seeing one fight or argument was a blessing. Hell the Kappas did a damn great job with the all white party Saturday. I think us having no cell  service at the white party was a great idea. Just because we was able to really enjoy the party and not focus too much on social media. The Bar had a very nice setting and the drinks were the bomb. Earlier Saturday it was a BBQ which was a hit. All of the divine nine was strolling and taking pictures. Also it was a softball game, which some people were a little bit salty they lost.

Friday afternoon, it was the hottest pool party my friends and I has ever been to. Even though I was a little bit occupied, I was able to see everything that was going on. Selling Hennessey drinks, playing in the pool and the weather was nice. Until they starting towing people cars and the police shut the shit down. Friday night however, it was okay but it could have been way better. There was no organization and I mean NONE. The lines were horrible and not the mention people who had bought tickets in advance was not able to get in at all.  Not to mention the drinks were so watered down. And the police was on mad bullshit. Coming in the club and literally counting everyone in the place.  From my drunken speeches to my friend taking so many L’s on the food it was all awesome. We all was saying this trip was well needed and I was glad that we had went. Not only this trip was a wake up call to continue to make plans for trips but to ALWAYS follow through with it. Also stop continuing to bring things up. If people want to come, then they will come, no need to force a trip on anyone.

 

Comment below and tell me about the obstacles with your girl’s trip.

Adulthood

Yay you are finally 21 and older. You can officially throw that fake i.d in the trash. No need to sneak through the back door of clubs, you can go through the front door. No curfews, no listening to people rules and most important you can buy your own liquor.  Life is great…. then responsibility slaps you in the face. Rent, light bill, gas bill, water, etc all comes at you at once.. This is called adulthood.  When you look in the dictionary, adulthood is defined as ” the state or condition of being fully grown or mature” but that’s just the cookie cut version.  For me being an adult means being independent, living one day at a time. Standing on your own two feet & try to make a way out of no way.  Feeling accomplished when you are finally able to pay a bill on the exact due date. Being able to say “hey I can finally get my eyebrows done or nails polished” just because you have a few extra bucks to spare.

Now if your adulthood is all peaches and cream than great for you that you haven’t had the adult life that majority if us have. If you live with your parents and don’t have to experience anything, well your awesome and again good for you. Sometimes you hear the saying “when life throws you lemons, you make lemon cake or lemonade”. I want to change that, a large number of individuals don’t know what real life is until you hit being an adult. As a kid, you never really thought about how your bills was paid, you knew that they were paid. You didn’t think on how you was getting water in the house, you just knew you was able to wash your ass in the morning. When I decided to move out on my own with a little boy on the side of me I knew right then I was becoming an adult.

Thinking in my mind that me moving from my auntie basement, I have gain some independence. That day at that very moment me standing on my own will not be taken for granted. Since I have been on my own, I have had a lot of bumps in my pathway and that’s okay. Usually I cry about it ( I am the all time cry baby) then get through it. I have learned and still is learning it’s not always about your rough journey, but what you was doing while you was having this rough time. You can either get up and dust yourself  off and keep on striving for YOUR greatness. Or you can sit in misery and nothing gets accomplished. Being an adult is not bad. Going to work, seeing the fruits of your labor is a great thing. For me, going home to a nice quiet home is a great way of relaxing. To see me being able to provide the life for my child that I never had.  Also making the dreams that you had as a child, you can actually make them into a reality.  As one of my friends say, being an adult is to have the free will to make your life the way you want to make it. Being an adult, is something you just can’t reverse like a car. It’s coming and the only thing you can do is face it. So when adulthood, gives you lemons, make lemon cake. Tackle the problems that adulthood has and you will get through it.

 

Comment below and let me know how you handle with adult hood.