Hey Friends! Thanks for joining me again on the blog. Today, I am sharing a post I wrote a few weeks ago. The post below does not contain the original words that came out when sat down at my laptop and began to type.
To be frank my emotions were all over the place. My initial post definitely showcased more of the mom in me than therapist. My words were filled with anger, fear, worry, and frustration. And even though I still feel those emotions from time to time, I wanted to give you a more structured post.
Releasing my emotions in raw form was definitely needed, and my hope is that you will benefit from what you read today.
So, here we go.
I believe it is safe to say that most of the world has heard the recent stories surrounding Black people in America. The stories of the White woman who threatened a Black male birdwatcher in Central Park, along with the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.
I refuse to watch video clips of any person being killed. But since I know the reality in which I live, if I am informed that an unarmed Black person was killed, I do not need to fact check that statement.
I know it is true.
Over the past few weeks I have become mentally and emotionally drained from the influx of information, images, and opinions surrounding the deaths of the aforementioned men and women.
It is important for me to share that Black people are not exempt from being triggered. Or in other words Black people are not exempt from having an emotional reaction to an image, video clip, audio sound, or reading about the untimely death of another Black person.
As a woman raising a Black son the constant flow of clips, photos, and information is triggering because it is a harsh reminder of the struggles and challenges my son will face. The reality is that my son will be racially profiled and has a higher probability of losing his life solely because of the color of his skin.
So, as a Black mother raising a Black son, I am scared. I am terrified for him.
The constant flow of information has triggered an emotional response in me and took me back to the day of my 20-week ultrasound appointment. This is the appointment where the technician examines your baby’s body parts, internal organs, and offers to disclose the gender.
My husband and I were eager to find out the gender of our baby, so two minutes into our appointment the ultrasound technician revealed that we would be having a little boy. Even though I had my fingers crossed and was hoping for a girl I knew deep down in my gut I was having a little boy.
These recent events reminded me of two thoughts I had after finding out my son’s gender. Initially, I thought “well, that’s not a big surprise, I figured I was going to have a boy”, but my second thought was more alarming.
I changed gears completely as I thought “Ugh! Now I’m going to have to teach him how to protect himself from other people and the police!”
As a Black mother raising a Black son, I had to sit with this.
Finding out the gender of your baby is usually a happy and exciting time. But in my case that excitement was immediately discounted by my second thought, “now I have to teach my son how to protect himself.”
The most recent news coverage sent me back to my mental state while I was in the examination room. And honestly it got me to thinking.
When does my baby boy become a threat?
Every person my toddler encounters wants to comment on how handsome, adorable, and sweet he looks. So, when does this narrative change? When do the men and women who wanted to play with this curious and energetic little boy decide he is a threat?
At what age does the switch happen where he goes from handsome to thug, adorable to angry, and sweet to aggressive?
Even though I am unable to find a rational answer to this question I had to release myself from this headspace.
As Black mothers we are faced with much more than everyday worries such as scraped knees, chicken pox, starting kindergarten, making friends, learning to drive a car, or graduating from high school.
We are also faced with the fear of not knowing whether our child will be killed solely because of the color of their skin.
I wish there were a way to alleviate your fears and worries by cross checking these types of thoughts with a simple true or false examination, but that is not possible.
Because your thoughts are real.
Your thoughts are valid.
Your thoughts are true.
I know it is not mentally or emotional healthy to remain in a state of fight or flight; therefore, over the past few weeks I had to use some of my therapist tricks on myself.
Acknowledge: Take a moment to yourself. Find a place where you can sit with your emotions and identify your feelings. Depending on your personal preference you can write or say your feelings out loud.
For example: I am terrified, infuriated, afraid, worried, disturbed, or anxious.
Process: When we are dealing with intense emotions it can be helpful to redistribute that energy by taking an action step and doing something to physically get those emotions out. Keep in mind that this does not have to be a grand gesture. This is simply a different way to channel your energy, so these feelings are no longer sitting dormant in your body.
This may be the time where you allow yourself to cry, vent to your spouse or friend, journal, pray, or go for a run.
Control: When faced with circumstances that are outside of your control it can be helpful to focus on the aspects of your life that are in your control.
This may include the motions of your morning and nighttime routines, family activities, what you eat, music you consume, or where you spend your money.
Helpful or Harmful: If you feel those thoughts creeping back in ask yourself this question, “Is this thought helping or harming me right now?” If you find the thought helpful continue to think on it and recite it in your head, but if it is harmful try replacing it with something else. Let me give you an example.
Thought– I am afraid my son will be hurt when he is older.
Question– Is this helpful or harmful for me right now?
New thought– My son is safe with me right now.
Previously I disclosed that my thoughts had me in a state of fight or flight, which is one of our bodies, natural protective responses. Our fight or flight response is extremely helpful when we sense immediate danger, but not so much when preparing lunch on a Tuesday afternoon.
Boundaries: Protect your peace. Boundaries are put in place to protect your mental, emotional, physical, relational, and spiritual well-being; therefore, I would encourage you to exercise your right to choose what you allow in your space. This may require you to limit or cease your interactions with family members, friends, or various social media outlets. Exercise the power you have to say no to anything that is not serving you right now.
Mama, if you are currently in a heightened emotional state, I encourage you to incorporate these steps into your life. There is no shame in stepping away from the real, valid, and true thoughts that are haunting you by taking the time to protect your peace. It is okay to take time to reset your mental and emotional state as they are a vital part of your well-being. We need you as we continue to fight for the lives of our sons and daughters.
So, to my sisters out there. My fellow Black mothers raising a Black daughter or son…
I see you.
I feel you.
I am you.
Thank you again for joining me on the blog. I really appreciate your continued support.
A lot of Black people have been asked by White men and women how they can help. If you have been asked that question all I ask is that you share this post with them or anyone else who may benefit. Thank you again for being here.
See you next time,
**If you need any additional support as you navigate motherhood schedule a 15-minute consultation with Patience today. You are not alone mama.**
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