What is it to be a black man?
There is no monolithic black male experience, and those who are able to answer this question have derived their answers from personal experience along their journey in life. Then there are young men like myself, trying daily to unravel, uncover, and discover self and what it means to be a black man in our ever changing culture and society.
The invisible element in this discovery (which we often shy away from in the black community), is the truth and reality of mental illness and exhaustion. Anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia, pure emptiness, and fatigue. I can attest to battling one of these in some form or another, while prolonging the facade of happiness and contentment. All of this masked by the pursuit of material wealth and occupational success, ignoring invisible doubts to celebrate the visible and tangible.
How ‘healthy’ are we as black men? Not financially or physically, but emotionally and mentally. How sincere are we when we ask, “Bruh, how are you?”. Is our question in regard sanity and well being, or asked simply out of practice?
To acquire that which is necessary for a prolonged and fruitful life we must seek help, care, and emotional support. As men it’s important not to lose ourselves in the idea of being “enough” in the eyes of one another, instead setting our eyes and focus on the intrinsic elements we need in order to manage internal health and wellness as individuals and as a collective of black men.