“It is no exaggeration to say that every human being is hypnotized to some extent, either by the idea he uncritically accepted from others, or ideas he has repeated to himself or convinced himself are true” – Maxwell Maltz
The aforementioned quote was pulled from one of my favorite books ‘Psycho-Cybernetics’, which has been on my mind for some time. It’s funny how society works. Society will tell you who you are allowed to be, before you can figure out who you are. They’ll label you so much so that you actually wear the mask of the lie, and it becomes apart of your identity. The lies parade around like they are the truth. They become so embedded in who we are its like a layer of Teflon over our skin. Our natural energy isn’t allowed to flow and grow because society said so.
On this journey of self love, and uplifting the black community I’ve found myself creating a space for women to achieve self recovery, but lacked a focus on my brothers. I love the Black man in his entirety. I’ve been able to lean on him for support, he’s stretched me to reach new heights, and has allowed me to unpack the pain he’s been carrying for Lord knows how long.
Kings are called to lead, to be fearless, to be the pillar of strength for everyone. But do we ever think about how the mask they have to wear affects them? A close friend of mine expressed that this patriarchy norm of being emotionally cold has hindered black men in forming healthy ways to express their emotions. There was no example given to him, from friends or family, on how to release his emotions constructively . He was always taught to just “be a man” which created the illusion of having it all together, when in fact he was really unraveling on the inside. One of the most common symptoms of depression is anger. When you are not taught or given a safe space to practice a way to constructively release your feelings, you become irritable and even destructive. He felt that to truly be a man he needed to be able to identify and manage the complicated emotions he was experiencing without feeling like less than a man.
One brother stated “As a black man I find that at times it is looked upon as a weakness to express emotion and love.” He found the media to be the main culprit of promoting shows, movies, and music that portrayed black men as weak when they demonstrated any emotion other than anger. He revealed that this negative portrayal was something he clung too for a long time, which left him thinking the only way he could prove himself as a man, was through physical dominance. Usually women are deemed as “the angry black woman” but men feel what they continue to see are a bunch of angry black men.
Some men have expressed that they have been plagued with these images of being hyper sexual beings. Let me refer to the quote mentioned in the beginning of my post. Anyone can be hypnotized! Black men are constantly encouraged to wear this mask of being hyper sexual. How can we truly blame, or expect them to hold full accountability for becoming what is constantly reinforced as their natural state? Men have expressed that their college peers have played a huge role in egging on behaviors that have been detrimental to them building meaningful relationships. As they mature they are struggling to truly connect with their significant others, because they were taught that key to intimacy is mainly through sexual acts.
What I’ve expressed isn’t meant to be an exhaustive analysis of the trials of the black man, but the narrative of a few may be the same for many and the conversation has to start somewhere. We as a community have to do better. As a woman it is on me to be aware and take responsibility of being a helpmate in the Black man’s journey to self recovery. I must be that safe place, I must be that example. I must be patient, kind, protective, trusting, hopeful, and truthful. I must become love if I am to expect him to rise above all of the barriers that were unlawfully placed on him. The burden is not all on me, but love spreads. We have to be the change we wish to see, so that it will ignite that spirit in others.
It would be lovely to truly know our King’s and see their natural energy flourish. But hey what do I know?
Prospero, you are the master of illusion.
Lying is your trademark.
And you have lied so much to me
(Lied about the world, lied about me)
That you have ended by imposing on me
An image of myself.
Underdeveloped, you brand me, inferior,
That s the way you have forced me to see myself
I detest that image! What’s more, it’s a lie!
But now I know you, you old cancer,
And I know myself as well.
~ Caliban, in Aime Cesaire’s A Tempest
#SEEKTOREDEFINESTRENGTH #TAKEOFFYOURMASK #TOGETHERWECANASCEND