Slap Stick Comedy That Wasn’t Funny.

Everybody loves a good joke. Laughter is good medicine. But not at the expense of someone else (although America has a slew of comedians who built massive careers on it). We’ve all laughed at jokes targeting people (stop, before you get to lying and denying, ask yourself why do you watch sitcoms and/or reality tv?) But when you target someone’s disability or health condition with the intent to embarrass or humiliate, it’s no longer comedy, it’s malicious bullying and abuse.

So that’s where we found ourselves Sunday night during the Oscar’s live broadcast (I didn’t watch in real time because I was listening to The Wheel of Time Book 6: The Lord of Chaos – thanks audible!). Chris Rock, love him or hate him, tickles a lot of funny bones so the Oscar’s felt he’d be a great emcee for the show. Little did the producers know he had a surprise joke line-up for them, at Jada Pinkett-Smith’s expense.

For those who don’t know what the G.I. Jane reference is from, it was a movie from the early 1990s starring Demi Moore (a white actress) who played an army soldier. Demi had to shave her hair for the role. Here’s where the problems start. Demi Moore CHOSE to shave her hair for work. Jada did not. Jada chose to shave her hair due to a medical condition she has been struggling with for years. A condition that causes the same angst and anxiety felt by those affected by chemo therapy.

So, based on the LOUD and DISRESPECTFUL commentary that flooded the internet streets IMMEDIATELY after the slap heard round the world, people wanted to BLAME Jada for the outcome of Chris Rock’s tasteless joke. Would he have told a similar joke in regards to Angelina Jolie while she was ill? Or to Sinead O’Conner who recently lost her son? Black women sacrifice for the greater good daily but it’s supposed to be acceptable to disrespect, humiliate, and degrade us after all our usefulness has been milked dry?

During my little bit of years in life I glean lessons from all who are willing to share and one lesson I received from an older woman years ago was this: people may not remember what you said, but they ALWAYS remember how you made them feel. Chris Rock and Will Smith will have to live with how they made Jada feel, at that moment, for the rest of their lives. How do you make others feel? How do others make you feel?

What Does Depression Look Like to You?

As I celebrated my birthday this weekend I reflected on my life, how I gave away power in search for love and acceptance and strayed from discovering my purpose during this life time. I also reflected on the many blessings I have because the headlines have shown prominent individuals who reportedly committed suicide.

Whenever the topic of suicide comes up, many people ask what was wrong with the individual. Many state things like, “They looked so happy”, “But they were so successful”, “But they acquired (fill in the blank)”. There is no compassion, concern or understanding in any of those comments. Society has become so commercialized that many believe that monetary or social success equates to happiness. Social media has made it too easy to hide behind filters, on top of the societal filters we already wear daily.

Depression is not something only poor people or drug addicts deal with. It is a mental health disorder that does not go away. It has to be managed daily. Every person is different, with different experiences contributing to their particular situation. Medication is not a cure all for every case either.

Depression: n. 1. Feelings of severe despondency and dejection. Synonyms: melancholy, misery, sadness, unhappiness, sorrow, woe, gloom, despair, dejection, moroseness…

The former Miss USA, Cheslie Kryst passed away over the weekend with headlines stating it a suicide. Just a few days before, actress, Regina King’s son was reported to have committed suicide. Last month Sinead O’Connor’s son committed suicide. There are a lot of should have, could have, would have comments from people but think to yourself, would you recognize the signs of depression in any of your loved ones? If you struggle with depression, do any of your loved ones know or would they recognize the signs?

I lost a friend in 2017 to suicide and I didn’t recognize what was going on with him because I was wrapped up in my own battles. Now he is gone. Each time I think of throwing in the towel I see his picture in my mind as though he’s telling me “You better not even.” So I fight through for the both of us. It is a daily battle, so my goal is to plan how I envision my future, but focus on conquering today.

We all need to be able to have a safe space to talk about how we feel openly and without judgment. But not everyone has that person or place of safety to retreat to. If you or a loved one is dealing with depression, please talk to someone, this is a 24/7 mental health hotline: 1-866-903-3787. You are not alone. If you need help, please reach out to someone.

One Stitch At A Time

These last 18+ months have taken a mental toll on many of us. Far too often we are unable to take much needed rest because of life’s obligations. Jobs, children, aging parents, even pets have all still needed us performing at an optimal rate. But what is an optimal rate when burnout is looming around the bend? How do you protect your peace of mind and recharge yourself before spazzing out on an unsuspecting person? What can you do?

I don’t know about you but I have tried returning to my poetic place of solitude… nope. My inspiration tank was as dry as my mother’s first Thanksgiving turkey 🦃 🤣. Love you, ma. That in itself was concerning to me because poetry was always my go to place of relief and release mentally. Next I tried baking. Cookies, cakes, bread and pies. Delicious 😋 things smelling up my kitchen and swelling up my waistline 😭. No good. I tried forcing myself to interact with others outside. I attended some vending events, showed support for some of my IG friends in real time but it just didn’t do it. I still felt blah.

Ok, I thought to myself. Music is always a sure fire mood lifter. I scrolled through Pandora. Nope. YouTube Music. Nope. I even dug out my box of old cds from the late 90s-early 2000s. Not a happy toe tap to be found.

I couldn’t kick the funk I was in and it was seriously affecting my interactions with everyone around me. I was always irritable and cranky (and no, it was not that time of the month) and was ready to snap on anyone at a moments notice. Work pressures didn’t help. At that point I did 2 things. I called a friend for a referral to a therapist and I picked up my knitting needles.

I am so glad I did. My therapist is down to earth and real. She listens. We meet weekly through video chat on Duo and I couldn’t be happier with my choice. And since I’ve picked my needles back up I have been knitting consistently for the last 2 months. Today I decided to bring my current wip (work in progress) to work with me, to work on during down time. My commute was crazier than normal this morning (3 road construction slow downs and 2 road closures with a clogged detour) so instead of sitting in traffic frustrated as normal, I picked up my project and started knitting at every stop light and slow down. 🤗 I wish I had thought about doing this sooner. Now I look for the red lights so I can knit more stitches and my irritability is fading one stitch at a time.

Vanilla Sock Pattern by The Crazy Sock Lady

Knitting may not be for you, but then again it might. You won’t know until you try. My sure fire recommendation is to try something new to you. If you like it, go for it. If all else fails reach out to a professional for help. It’s confidential and that may be just what you need to release what’s on your mind. At the end of the day be good to you because today is yesterday’s tomorrow…

My Interview with Lisa Sparrow and How Mental Illness Affects All of Us

sunnyclouds

Lisa Sparrow is an inspirational woman. She sat with me for an hour on my blogtalk radio show, On Why Yet’s Watch, and was completely open about her daily battle with mental illness. That in itself is bravery in my book. Mental illness is such a touchy topic to speak on because growing up we (as a society) were taught to only speak of such things in the house – especially when it pertained to a relative or close loved one. Lisa shared her story with our listeners and I am truly grateful.

Depression is the most common form of mental illness that people are familiar with. There is NO one single cause of depression. There can be a combination of causes that can trigger depression:

  • Trauma – a serious trauma that occurs early in life can change our brain’s response mechanism.
  • Genetics – mood disorders and risk of suicide tend to run in families but anyone with a genetic tendency would be more likely to show signs of depression at an early age
  • Life Circumstances – marital status, financial standing, where you live could all influence or trigger depression
  • Brain Structure – depression is associated with changing how your brain responds to hormone stimulation
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse – 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have depression

16 million Americans had a least one major depressive episode last year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Women are 70% more likely than men to experience depression. Young adults aged 18-25 are 60% more likely to experience depression than people aged 50 and over. Unfortunately, Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be misdiagnosed.

There are many forms of treatment:

  • Medications
  • Psychotherapy
  • Brain Stimulation Therapies
  • Light Therapy
  • Exercise
  • Alternative Therapies
  • Self Management Strategies and Education
  • Mind/Body/Spirit approaches

Should you or someone you know suffer from depression or believe you do, seek help. There is strength in asking for help because we all need help at one time or another. For more information about depression and some of the causes of depression check out the following websites:

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Joyful Heart Foundation

To listen to the interview with Lisa Y Sparrow, listen to On Why Yets Watch with Author Lisa Y Sparrow

There is nothing to be ashamed of when dealing with ourselves or a loved one who battles mental illness.

Stay blessed.

Black Women and Mental Health

Mental health is a serious issue in our communities but is rarely addressed directly or openly. Especially in black communities.

With week after week passing and the media constantly showing police murdering innocent black people across the nation, the psyche of the next generation is being molded.

Police terrorism is a major contributing factor in black people developing mental health problems.

When the court system repeatedly fails to prosecute the abuse of power and tampering of evidence that sends a loud message that justice does not exist for everyone.

We have also seen it is far from equal. Black women are less likely to seek out professional help because of the negative stigma attached as well as the ratio of black psychologist to white psychologist.

You can read more about the importance of black psychology here:
http://blackwomenshealth.com/blog/black-women-and-mental-health/