Recently I asked a random question on Facebook just to see the answer. The question was; ” Black men ,who do you vent to ?”
The answers I got were almost all the same. Many of them did not vent because they don’t trust anyone, felt the women in their lives would throw their feelings in their faces or simply coped by drinking and/or smoking marijuana. I asked this questions unsure of the feedback I would get but the answers made me sad.
How or why is it that Black Men don’t have ANYONE. OR feel they don’t have anyone I should say. I asked the reasoning behind some of these feelings and a lot of the men said they have been taught that it is weak to show emotion or told that no one cares how they feel. They stated they were programmed to suck it up and go on about their lives while burying their problems. It made me wonder what makes men think that their feelings don’t matter or that they are weak for having emotions. Its what makes us human and I started to ask myself where it begins. Naturally understanding home is our first teacher.
I have four sons and I sometimes used to find myself telling them to ” stop crying like a little girl” and then I changed my ways. Not only little girls cry, HUMANS cry! We cry because were happy, sad, and angry. And it is OK ! Showing emotion doesn’t make a man weak, or vulnerable it makes a man strong and confident enough in himself to show that he cares. Not only cares about what is going on with him or the things around him but shows the courage to want to talk about his inner pains or concerns in order to get help and work on his issues.
I think naturally parents sometimes say certain things or make statements and don’t allow themselves to explain to the child what it means. When I talk to my sons I allowed myself to be open and honest. I told them that as men they are the protectors so they are seen as strength but they also have emotions and they have a right to be heard. I tell them they have to learn not everyone will be receptive to their abilities to talk about their feelings BUT as longs as they get it out in a healthy manner then that’ s what counts the most.
The black community has to do a better job of working together in allowing black boys and men to be vulnerable. WE have to try and change our own thoughts about what it means to be weak. We have to stop allowing ourselves to believe that crying is for girls only or talking to a therapist is somehow a bad things We need outlets!! Allowing black men to bottle up their emotions and pretend they don’t have them only hurts them in the long run. It affects their communication , their ability to trust and connect with others and in their romantic relationships. Bottled up anger leads to disastrous things. Lets protect Black Men and their mental health.