Fellas, y'all alright?
Are y’all alright? Feeling ok? Quick wellness check:
1. Take a deep breath. Become one with your heart beat.
2. Deep breath in…exhale.
2. What is your mood?
3. Close your eyes and listen. What do you hear?
4. Are you tense?
5. You good?
Brothers! Our wellness is important. We are tasked with being present, being accountable, leading all while being protectors and providers. Seemingly from dawn to dusk of each day, we arch our shoulders and carry generational burdens as we push forward. And, as if the burden wasn’t heavy enough, 2020 has challenged every remaining nerve in our soul.
A deadly virus, poorly regulated during the most stressful and overwhelming election of our lifetime. Virtual home school and stuffy masks, furloughs and layoffs, and financial freedom confronted with continued injustice capped with an eight minute – forty six second video that encapsulates how many of us are feeling today. “I can’t breathe.”
So, I gotta ask again “Fellas, Y’all alright?”
As often as Black Women commit to protecting us, the question remains, are we committing to protecting each other? Are we offering space, grace, gratitude, understanding and love to each other? We need assurance, support, safety, validation, accountability, and love; from each other. We need each other.
Historically, we have been trained to master the skill of discreetly emoting. To always show up strong, chest out with a stiff upper lip, in all circumstances – be the man. That is, always be “alright.” Truth is, we’re not always alright. And that’s OK, too.
Emotional vulnerability is a sacred experience, and only our most trusted circle is privy to witnessing this process. Some have noticed that our feelings are often kept internal (we shut down), expressed in our safe spaces (with our homies), covered and masked with ego (avoidance/we act as if they don’t exist), or overtly expressed through anger (verbal/physical aggression). Creating safe spaces to share our emotional experiences is important. It’s vital to holistic wellness and is a need for Black Men. While the world sees a solemn front, deeply we secretly desire to feel safe and yearn for consolation in the time of distress. We want space for validation from those resources that share the same experiences.
Safe emotional spaces create solace and allow Black Men to love at our most optimal level.
Kings commit to providing grace to each other. Continue to share, express and connect through our unique emotional experiences. Starting today, pledge to construct safe spaces, as we continue to uplift and bring voice to Black Men’s Mental Wellness.
Gregory Pate, LPC