With the third "Chocolate" piece, ISAAC is concluding his exclusive text series with a hard-hitting essay on dealing with mental health issues as a Black person.
Originally published in summer 2019.
For those who see me as destructive … your hypocrisy does not go unnoticed. Those who recognize my intelligence, should understand the effectiveness of it and its urge to be heard. For those who call me weak, ignore the sounds you have heard all your life, that vulnerability defines one’s character as frail or dainty.
Those who walk with me, walk beside me. For those who laugh at me, jokes on you. Those who laugh with me, the joke is on the clouded, (the ignorant) for one should not fathom living a life so boxed. Whispers move faster than words spoken out loud. When we allow ourselves to be driven by constant fear, we hold ourselves back from truly LIVING. Truly thriving, truly combining those components to make a miraculous unity.
Those who judge me, breathe the breath I do before deciding if my breath is worth taking. For those who sing with me, sing thunderous and strong, for your melodic cries of our inner hearts, give peace to the world full of anguish. Recreation: Cultures and societies are infatuated with this term these days. Can we however, admit that we have been recreating a hateful past? Populations have simply found ways to hide or blur racism more accurately, leaving it toward the notion of “keeping the peace”.
And because of this, chocolate can become moldy. Sticky. Distasteful. It can become the thing one most hates, in a blink of an eye if not appreciated to its utmost deliciousness. The cocoa bean was not rotten upon the creation of such different delicacies. It was malnourished. It was “taken” to only be “used” for another person’s prosperity. So, do not let the sweetness of our skin fool you. We are furious. They wonder why we are angry. They wonder why we cry when another one of us is lost senselessly. They wonder why we retaliate. We are angry that one cannot flourish in the world. We were made to be different. We were made to be unique and nothing will change that. Difference is not alarming. Certain values taught in communities, are alarming.
Racism is just a concept; we must allow our minds to be stripped away from limiting and demolishing particles of the human race. The answer to the problem of racism, is not so complex; just “shut up and listen”. My advice to the privileged, dialogue within your own communities will tremendously lend to the action of moving forward, in ways we may have never been able to envision before. Forget politics, what about humanity? War on skin from the shade we were born with that robes our organs, is absolutely vapid.
The curiosity surrounding a chocolate’s mental state, becoming so easily poisoned, remains floating in history. It is our constant past and present oppression that lends to minorities mental and intellectual health conflicts. The damage of our past can’t be undone, but it’s hard to move past it when people hold us in the past. Don’t you think that by now, it is time for a change?
“You have to be bigger and better than everyone else, true perfection. They are waiting for you to fail.”
For chocolate people, we are taught to believe this at a young age. We have to work twice as hard as others, just to get the respect we so desperately deserve. To uphold true perfection lends to my anxiety and roller coaster of depression.
Anxiety and depression presses against your thoughts while your soul resists the overwhelming feeling of goodness. There is a thick fog in your head where emotions and actions mend together masterfully, beginning a process of healing or pure demise.
Smiling hurts, hurts bad.
You allow people to have power over you, in times of unhappiness and nervousness. You begin to question things that shouldn’t be questioned in the first place. The feeling is suffocating while maintaining a steady exhale. Your heart beats in a mud of melancholy, chemically imbalanced, soaked mass which is negativity’s offspring. You begin to give birth to misfortune, jealousy, greed, and hatred. You can become imprisoned in your own mind. In a blink of my long eyelashes, I created a poison that infected my own body and soul.
We are programmed to push away from people that seek aid. Help in the form of therapy is looked down upon because, truly we are scared to admit defeat. There comes a denial tone that lingers on before the seeking of much needed aid. Yet, accepting help does not symbolize weakness, it really does symbolize strength. It is taking power and control of your own life, so that you and others are not affected anymore in the process. Some people are just anxious people. That realization I had to figure out about myself.
Habits we create to numb our pain or uneasiness, can be troublesome. Picking up a pipe, rolled up trees, cancer sticks or intoxicating liquids to ease the feelings, only give us expectancy and dependability. But what about retraining your brain to breathe in and breathe out nontoxic air? Acceptance that the mind changes at a rigorous pace is a normal process of the mind. How we handle it, is what is most important.
Entertainers are prone to constant mental health issues. We are designed to feel emotions in ways others do not. We are constantly evaluated more than the average human. We are held up on pedestals, and have a thirst or desire to keep it up. We are our careers, we are our professions, we are our art. Therefore, we are constantly critiqued and criticized, by ourselves and by others.
The words cut deep because we are bearing confidence and emotions that seep through our pores. We are representing groups of people that share a commonality. We are a sensitive specimen. Whether it is our hair, our clothes, our chocolate skin or our weight, artists in this technological world are examined under the magnifying glass of perfection. We can deny and say it doesn’t happen, but it’s a constant fight, even for the most confident.
What I learned from embracing my chocolatey goodness, is that we don’t need different versions of ourselves. You will always be your worst enemy and struggle to be your biggest fan. You can let your mind take you to a place so silent, you cannot hear the love around you. Or, you can choose to embrace every aspect of your beautiful mind and your life by feeding it constant positivity. Because in all honesty, losing control is to be in control. One does not have all the answers and one should not have all the answers. Cease from this idea that “everything” needs a persistent fight or challenge. Don’t just live “the” life, but live “a” life. A life made up of your own decisions. Being heavily influenced is not a sign of strength but absolute confusion. One should not waste breath on thinking about the breath. Just be yourself when the world is telling you exactly what to do.
Being chocolate allows me to push forward in the world, a chance to rebuild. To rebuild minds, rebuild love and to rebuild good. Everyone has the power to build. Everyone has the power to destroy. I decide to use my chocolate strength for greatness. I am so thankful and blessed to be given the skin I am in. I am so honored to represent such strong majestic beautiful people, that smile from the inside out, regardless of their horrific past. My ancestors wore shackles, herded as cattle, only thinking of a better tomorrow. We remain to fight for you. We remain to acknowledge you. For my chocolate brothers and sisters, do not spoil your beauty on self-destruction. You are kings and queens. You are brilliant, but even greater, you are capable. It is a chocolate’s imperfection that glows angelically and the brightest.
We do indeed need sadness to appreciate happiness. We must however, have a balance. A healthy balance. We all need a peace of mind. We can’t let others’ wrong doing, affect our good doing. We need to heal. Heal together. I am chocolate.
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