TRIGGER WARNING: TALK OF SUICIDE AND EMOTIONAL ABUSE.
Everything that happens in this house stays in this house.
The mantra that occupies most Black households still rings true in my everyday life. It’s the first thing I think of when people start to get “too close”. According to my family, keeping my life private is my number one priority, simply because “people don’t need to know my business”.
Don’t get me wrong, I respect the sense of unspoken unity and the sleekness of living like FBI agents but at the same time I feel like it restricts us from making some genuine relationships.
Maybe I’m just rambling off and I’m just saying words that don’t really make sense together but it makes sense in my head.
Obviously that doesn’t help you.
I guess my whole purpose of this post is to get some things off my chest.
As you may or may not know, I’m talking to this new dude who I referred to previously as the tatted puerto rican. For the purposes of further discussion we’ll call him Mr.5’7maybe.
Well last week Mr.5’7maybe and I went out for sushi which was actually a pretty dope experience for the most part! We met up, got food, he took me to the Bodega (my first time going; it was hella dope), and then we relaxed and talked in Starbucks for a bit before going our separate ways.
Everything was going well until we starting talking in Starbucks; it gotta hella awkward for me.
I can’t remember exactly how we got on the subject but we started talking about 13 reasons why and he comes out and says “I think the show was stupid. Like, why would someone kill themselves because they were being bullied? Only people that are weak-minded think about killing themselves”.
I sat there across from him on that wooden bench frozen with shock.
How in the fuck does one respond to this after we were just ha-ha-ing and ke-ke-ing? I didn’t wanna put a damper on the mood but at the same time I had to let him know that I wasn’t cool with his view on suicide.
I simply said something like… “That’s not cool. People go through a lot and bullying can be the straw on the camel’s back”, to which he replied “I guess. I just think it’s stupid. It’s just cause I don’t think like that; I don’t get it. I just don’t get it”.
My mind: Hurry up and change the subject quick before it becomes too much for you to handle! Make your opinion known but keep the mood light!
What comes out of my mouth: “Oh wow.” Followed by a shameful smile and slow shake of my bald head.
What the fuck was I supposed to do?! I still don’t even know this dude, and for all I know he could be the type to joke about things that make him uncomfortable.
For his sake and the sake of this date I brushed it off to hopefully return to it at a later and more understanding date.
Of course, due to my amazing luck, the “later and more understanding date” never came. Instead I was told “Hey, lemme read your blog or I’m gonna kill myself. Lmaooo jk”.
When did suicide become a joke?! Not only that, has he never heard any stories about emotionally abusive people that use this line frequently?! Like, what in the entire fuck.
I responded “don’t joke about that man. that’s not cool”. Nice and simple with not too much information so he doesn’t know I’m personally connected to this topic.
He goes “You’ll be on my first tape. Lmao I’m jk u know I’m kidding. First of all i’m not white. Lmao I’m jk about that too”.
The main reason why so many POC don’t reach out to get the help they need is because we have this idea that mental health issues are a “white people problem”. If he could joke about this I was surely in for it man.
At this point all I could think of was my mom saying to me “everything that happens in this house stays in this house”. Although this was the perfect time to say “hey, this is a very sensitive topic for me and I don’t play that etc” I had to remember that that part of my identity was off limits, it belonged to the very long list of things that were supposed to remain in my tower of secrets.
Let’s not forget how when I only responded with a “womp” he replied “Don’t get offended easily, only white ppl get offended easily lol”.
So not only was I not supposed to feel a type of way that he was joking about mental health but I couldn’t feel a type of way period because emotions were reserved for the whites.
I know there’s never a perfect time to talk about your history of abuse and mental health issues but how am I suppose to establish a line of respect for my experiences without diving into the forbidden land of what’s supposed to be “my business”, the hush-hush, the “sensitive”. The myth of black female strength can’t be so strong as to completely erase me from the narrative; I refuse to believe it.
I don’t like having to hide this part of me just to make people feel comfortable. Like, I’m pretty sure over half of the people you know have been through the same things I have or even worse, so why do we all have to act like we have everything under control.
Ever heard about the rose that grew from concrete?
The world may paint me as a “strong black woman that don’t need no man” or apparently “don’t need no emotions”, but I’ll have you know that I am a rose with a couple wilted petals right next to my smooth ones. The juxtaposition of the two make for a picture perfect story of what strength really looks like.
Now I’m plagued with the decision to teach him that or to let him go. It shouldn’t be this simple because like we all know, I don’t know him, but I’m at a point in my life where I don’t have time for energy that’s not similar to mine. I’m tryna push through ya’ll and cutting people off to do so is not an issue; trust and believe that.
On the one hand I can’t fault him for his ignorance regarding mental health but I also don’t think it’s my responsibility to teach him.
What do you ya’ll think? What should I do?