And if they ask me, I will tell them – Black men don’t bleed. We ooze affection, we radiate strength, we hold manuscripts of creation in our melanin, heck we do a whole lot of other things but we do not bleed .We are more hero than human, more rainmakers than dessert dwellers, more strength gushing beings than tear bearer – no we do not bleed.
And if I wanted to breakdown for a second, to lower down my defense, to take off my superhero costume for a day, for a minute where do I go?. Who gives black men permission to feel, permission to cry?. See, We are not okay. Black men don’t bleed, we don’t feel pain or at least we have suffered enough to be numb to the pain. Suicidal thoughts cuddle us to sleep every night and death enjoys playing hide and seek with us but we do not bleed.
We do not bleed because we were taught so well to keep our secrets and burdens to ourselves, to show nothing but strength, to put on our lion kings masks so well that weakness is not a part of our vocabulary. Maybe, just maybe we are our worst enemies, maybe we should learn to talk to someone, to empty out , to go for therapy. But then again, how can I be able to empty out to a stranger when it feels like I will be lowering my black scores, when even I can not understand these feelings and traumas I carry within me. Maybe it’s our culture’s fault which taught us not to feel,not to cry for a crying man is a weak man, maybe we look so attractive that death blushes when she sees us. No we do not bleed but our breath stinks of the war inside.
A few months ago, Riky Rick – a south Africa rapper committed suicide and it took that moment for most to wake up to the state and attention given to depression and mental health issues when it comes to African men. “But he was rich”, most said, but then depression is funny like that ain’t it. It doesn’t matter what it might seem like, it’s what’s inside that counts. It trended on Twitter just like everything else black.
Maybe we will one day learn to shine through our traumas, to carry joy so well it overflows, to love unconditionally without a fear of loosing, heck we will learn to love even those that do not deserve it. Maybe we will one day learn to catapult our troubles away and pour our struggles aside. Maybe one day we will learn to scare off darkness and love our women the way they are meant to be loved – like a masterpiece.
But until that day come, I will lock my skeletons in the closet and but keep a gun under my pillow just incase the monsters under my bed decide to come out and play. I will dry the river of pain within, I will uncover my wounds so they bleed and dry. I will pass to my son my thick lips, my wide nose, my brown skin but not my traumas. I will teach him to bleed, for this is an ode to my unborn son. Dear son, may your birth echo the beginning of a new season. May you catch a wave that doesn’t subside…
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair.
2 Corinthians 4:8