To my Black brother, your feelings matter too. Too many times have we been told in our youth, “boys don’t cry.” To, “get up” or “suck it up” because that’s what men do. It’s these very instances that have led to us holding on to our unconscious ideologies of hyper masculinity. The concepts of hyper-masculinity and toxic masculinity have plagued the black community, contributing to the belief that black men must overcompensate for their masculinity. Walking around, feeling as if being or having any type of emotion is weak minded, or not seen as a masculine trait. Feeling like we have to display a certain type of attitude or aggression towards other men, and often people, around us. You have every right to be angry, you too have feelings and by no means should you have to feel like you can’t appropriately express them.
We’ve been shown these images and fed these ideologies about strong Black men in these, “taking care of home” roles. We were often taught that men hold their own and fight back, to never back down. What we weren’t taught is that Black men can too provide a certain type of nuturing within the home. Black men can hug and kiss on their kids. Black men can be affectionate towards their significant others in front of other people. Black men too can be the bigger person and sometimes walk away from a challenge that follows up with negative consequences. Walking away doesn’t always make you afraid, it makes you smart. We were not told enough, “your feelings matter too.” We should have been told that it is okay to be angry, sad, hurt, upset, and tired. We were often not given the chance to appropriately and effectively process our feelings and emotions. Sure you may be crying, but if you’re going to cry stand up and pick your head up while you’re doing it.
Little Black boy, pick your head up because your feelings matter too. You are not a punk if you fall and it hurts, so you cry. You’re not weak if you’re empathic and sympathize, or have some type of concern for others. It’s okay if you want to pick up a book and read instead of going outside and playing football. It’s okay to be smart. It doesn’t make you any less of a man for wanting to be educated. And when you get older, it’s completely fine to have feelings, and to be transparent and vulnerable in relationship. Remember to not close yourself off to world.
Black men, we too have our down falls and need to remember that it is okay to show that we are transparent and vulnerable. Being dictated by these social constructs about our feelings and emotions and how to display them, can become unhealthy in the long run. Talk about your problems, show that you have feelings, discuss what’s hurting or bothering you. It’s okay to seek counseling or guidance if you can’t figure out the solution to your own problems. Learn coping skills and how to apply self-help practices to your own life. A strong man admits when he’s hurting, and an even stronger man allows for himself to show vulnerability. Be transparent, love on your kids, reassure them, and yourself, that men have feelings too. Our feelings matter too! #SpeakYourTruth #YourMentalHealthMatters #BlackMenAlsoHaveFeelings