“Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well?… Just so’s you’re sure, sweetheart, and ready to be healed, cause wholeness is no trifling matter. A lot of weight when you’re well.”
-Toni Cade Bambara, The Salt Eaters
A friend of mine recently mentioned that she knows of several black people who are attending therapy—they just don’t share it openly.
“Perhaps it’s the new down low,” I replied.
Obviously, there are reasons why being in therapy makes it harder for black folks to admit. See Parts I and II of this series.
This post is for those of us who are in the midst of emotional and mental healing. It may be therapy. It could be reading all the self-help books you can find. Services on Sunday. Yoga and meditation. Weekly group coaching.
Maybe even a combo of some or all of the above.
Wherever you are on this path, bra-fucking-v-o. And I mean it.
We live in a world wholly invested in remaining unconscious and isolated 90% of the time. It is not easy to remove yourself from the Matrix of Un-examined Feelings and attempt to do better.
Why keep going though? Why invest in inner healing in a world such as ours that often doesn’t reward it? It’s not like you get to post selfies of your transformed brain on Snapchat.
Sometimes we need reminders to keep going.
But keep going we must.
Keep going because the world needs more models of black people who are integrated within. Keep going because you matter.
Keep going because the children really are the future (Whitney was right) and they are worthy of adults who can adequately respond to their emotional needs.
Keep going even when it hurts—sometimes pain is the first step towards a true piecing back together.
Keep going because you deserve to wrest yourself away from the voices that declare that your nose is too wide, that you are a Problem To Be Solved, that you don’t deserve to be laughing without worry.
Keep going to heal from a world that would leave your dying body in the street for 48 hours and then ask you why you’re angry or depressed. Keep going to find freedom away from voices that simultaneously declare you too much and nothing at all.
Keep going because it is easy for those voices to become your own.
Keep going because authenticity is more than social media buzz word and you deserve to keep it real for reals.
Keep going because stress-related diseases are no joke.
Keep going because you want to usher in a new understanding of holistic health for your church, temple, and home.
Keep going because you need to be heard. Keep going because you have a right to be free from the ghosts of the past.
Keep going even when the world and your family or your friends tell you it is enough to survive. Keep going because you want to thrive while your soul dances upon this earth.
Keep going because it’s okay to do differently than your family. Keep going because it’s okay to do differently than your friends. Keep going even when they do not start going.
Keep going. One small step at a time. Fall back. Start again.
May you keep going. May you respect where you are today and be with it fully as a sunrise.
Because you deserve to be whole.