Curly Nikki says when you love your hair, you love yourself.
Maybe that’s what is so exciting to me about the whole natural hair movement. Its a step, an obvious step, at black women moving towards acceptance of self. That excites me in more ways that one. Yesterday I was blog surfing and came to a post on The Write Curl Diary that addressed the issues of black women and their propensity to avoid the topic of depression. It was titled “Black girls don’t cry.” I encourage you to check the post and leave a comment (unless you’re a lurker…I know I have quite a few here that lurk)
Anyway, it gave me the idea to start a new blog. A blog focused on mental health issues from the perspective of black women. I talked it over very briefly with Cleo and she asked the following:
- What type of content? Informative? Personal experience? I really want it to be 90% objective. I cannot deny that I have a strong writers voice and I am (nearly) a licensed professional (5 more months, Amen). So I do have privy to a lot of insiders dish on mental health and personal wellness. It is not, however, my goal to educate the masses. My goal is to start a dialog. Lets not be afraid to say, “I think I suffer from depression.” I know many many of my friends have exhibited the symptoms of depression yet most are very hesitant to get help. I’ve even had one tell me her and the Lord can work it out. Um, clearly not and if so get off my phone. This is the belief of many in the black community though, that prayer and or pastoral counseling is enough. Now, I’m not going to deny the power of spiritual healing, but I do believe that God sent people here to help. I would never choose my profession for myself. Its definitely a blessing I cannot deny. Not only that, but your pastor? Here’s a good rule of thumb. If your counselor (pastoral or otherwise) ever says the words “should” “why” or gives advice, that is not therapy. Spiritual leaders are excellent for spiritual guidance. That’s not always what one needs, though. Sometimes you just need to talk things through. Especially if your spirituality is waining, going to God may seem just as trite as “just getting better.” All in all…I want a lot of content, a lot of comments, and a lot of feedback. I can’t promise there will be no personal experience, but a good pro knows when to self-disclose.
- What would you title it? I didn’t ever answer this, but the only thing that even feels remotely right is “Black girl, cry.” A nod to the article that unearthed the idea. Why is it that I never tire of writing? There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get it all out. I already have a starting point, but I want about 5 posts up before I unveil. I have to wait until I get to work though. I need some of my resources from the counseling library.
When I was asked what my goal was as a professional counselor, I told my Dean that I wanted to be instrumental in reducing the stigma of mental health care and personal wellness within the black community. I’d forgotten about that until today. My daily focus is on college students, but I forgot my personal focus. My community. I’ll never give up on my people. We are a beautiful and resilient people; I just think that strength came at a high mental price. If natural hair is just the beginning of self-love, then I’m excited to see what happens next.