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We need more safe spaces!

Sometimes it can be hard for people to open up about what is troubling them. Society puts the onus on us to be the very best version of ourselves. Anything less is seen as not good enough to be displayed and this can push people to ignore trauma and push their mental health aside to impress everyone else. Society also doesn’t necessarily want to hear about other people’s problems too long, either. You need to buck it up and just deal with your problems while putting on the damned best show you can for your loyal “followers” The rat race demands that we continue to succeed and achieve, your heart and soul be damned. It is easy to see how some of the most successful people can appear to be at the top of their game and be suffering from some of the most intense emotional trauma you can imagine.

I recently watched an episode of a reality T.V show called Love and Hip Hop where one of the cast members, Lil Scrappy, really put himself in a very vulnerable position. Throughout the seasons, you could see that he was struggling with a few aspects of his life and that his trauma had a trickle down effect in his relationships. Growing into the rap industry already came with it’s own trials and tribulations, not limited to toxic masculinity. This was also compounded by his mother who stepped a little too much into his life and created conflict with his spouses and Scrappy himself on numerous occasions. Scrappy’s wife stood strong and learned the importance of mental health in order to be as safest a space should could be for him as possible and you can see the growth he has finally been able to have due to having someone he could be vulnerable with. Now he is gaining the strength to have healthy boundaries with with his mother and other people. You can see the growth and development in him and he is a much more powerful man for it.

Safe spaces and not as numerous as we think. This unfortunately is double for black men, as we can be chastised in the very same safe spaces that are supposed to keep us safe. Toxic masculinity, gaslighting, and a general lack of empathy towards male issues can infect these spaces, dimming the light that should be shined on the many mental health issues men face. The increase of violent activity and crime in certain areas can be considered a direct effect of the inadequate mental health care and lack of priority given to men. No one to talk to that won’t use our insecurity against us. No one to speak to about the more gritty parts of our past without feeling like less of a man by society. It’s a multi-faceted problem that needs to be tackled as soon as possible. I fear priority won’t be placed until men litter the streets dead due to the never ending increase of violent activity from men who feel unheard and also feel like no one wants to hear them anyway.

Women need to stop using men’s insecurity against them. Men need to cut it out with the overly macho shit whenever another man is trying to be vulnerable. Men also need to learn to open up about issues and learn to filter out anyone who doesn’t seem to want to listen. Not just listen, but empathize. Society needs to get over this “patriarchy” bullshit and realize that not every man benefits from it and those that don’t get almost completely ignored by society, mental health issues and all. There is a systematic problem with there not being enough safe spaces for us, and that is what causes men to hold everything in. At least until they can’t take it anymore and then you’ll be hearing “RIP, I didn’t even know he was suffering” “Damn, you never know what people are going through” Yeah, you don’t and won’t due to how our society has perpetuated the men need to be strong 24/7 status quo. The issue is glaring and we need to start to shed more light on it.

We as men need to make the first move. Go to therapy. Fuck off with anyone that makes fun of you for it. Fuck off with anyone who makes you feel bad about whatever insecurity you have. Surround yourself with like minded individuals who understand mental health and get that we all have trauma. Even if you don’t want to do therapy (I preach it all the time but it’s not for everyone) you still need to find an empathetic voice. Men’s mental health matters no matter what anyone says. Never forget it.

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