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Teach the Next Generation to Feel

Bonjour mon ami!

Growing up I was left alone a lot. I would get home from school around 3pm and be alone in the house until 7/8pm. There were no other kids in my neighborhood at the time and I had no place to go. I was home a lot doing a whole lot of thinking. The absence of adults made it very hard for me to understand how to process my feelings.

My folks were busy hustling to make sure I could go to college. I was doing my part (make good grades) and they were doing their part (make that money), but in the process the mental health education definitely suffered because black, boomer folks, in the south back then were taught to stuff those feels down and keep that hustle vibe alive. Make shit happen!

That hustle led to me growing up in a depressive household. All work and no play or decompression will lead to chronic depression. Everyone was too exhausted by the time they made it home to really talk about anything. I maybe had 30-45 minutes of my parents' time before they turned on the news to tune me out.

I was ignored because I was dubbed a nuisance, but it wasn't me. I now realize that they were irritable all the time because that's a symptom of depression! But no one bothered to tell me that, and my folks were obviously struggling with their own personal demons. Instead of processing their feelings in front of me, they would hide. They would stay away or ask me to leave them alone. This made me feel abandoned. I literally had no one to talk to about anything, ever. I had no immediate examples of how to process my emotions in a healthy way.

So I learned to let me freak flag fly early in life to find others who were like me. I found that the more I shared about my own mental health struggles with friends or close acquaintances, the more people I would find who were just like me. I no longer felt alone.

As I grew up, I read and educated myself about self care and therapy. I keep learning and I keep sharing because the process is never over. That's why I dance and I'm silly because this is my healthy way of coping with any hard knock that life gives me.

I also learned that depression is a normal state of human existence. To be able to enjoy all the joys of this world, we also need to appreciate the down periods as well. Depression is part of the human existence and it should not be ignored until it's gone because it will never be gone. It is a natural part of living. Depression allows us to pause and investigate ourselves. It's your body telling you to sit on things for a while. I find, the less I fight these depressive feelings, the shorter the duration of pain. I simply walk through it instead of resisting it.

If you're ever having trouble walking through your pain, my love, reach out to others. You are not alone. We can walk together hand in hand and learn from each other.

So my little fellow sprites, please be nice and pay it forward to the younger generations. Don't perpetuate the mistakes of the previous generations. Don't hide your feelings and don't hide the processing of those feelings. Find the right words and communicate.

My folks were taught to stuff down feelings, but we're going to break the stigma of feeling all the feels (#emotion). Keep bringing it up, keep being loud, keep sharing your light with the world. That is the only way we will learn from each other and grow as a community.

Teach the younger generations how to process and that these feelings are natural. Remember, my love, it is an honor and a privilege to be alive and in your body right now. You were chosen to be here out of all the little souls that could have been. So live your life to the fullest, emotions and all - high and low.

Yours truly,

#MerryMarie #ChristmasSprite

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