I was watching the new Chris Rock Netflix special that dropped this month and it’s very hard not to sympathize with the man and what he went through in the last few years. In the special, he opens up about his infidelity to his now ex-wife and the hell he went through with regards to the divorce. In another interview that I read as well, he goes on to say the he takes ownership for what he has done and he doesn’t wish it on anyone else, especially black men. What he said next caught my attention, he said it with such sadness and because it’s true from the perspective of men and we don’t usually think about it. He said “no one is loved unconditionally except for women, children and dogs, a man is only loved under the condition that he provides something”. He also said that the world is a little bit colder towards black men.
Last night I was on a call with Ashley who recently lost his mother to cancer and I can honestly say that I can see that he is wearing his pain on his face. We had a lengthy conversation about the loss of his mother and how it just impacts one in such a way that the pain is real and that it’s yours and yours alone. Within that conversation we came up to a similar conclusion about the world being colder towards black men and basically nobody cares much. This was a conversation between two black men, speaking about their pain and trying to articulate and navigate through this life. I am not a fan of the month February because in the past if there was a month when things fall apart, it’s February – this year was no exception, it lived up to its expectation. Every area of my life was in flames, I honestly felt like the world is attacking me because how it could be that in every area of my life, not one is ok? I remember one night I couldn’t wait for my girlfriend to get home so I could have a place to fall apart because I felt that emotionally, I was going to collapse.
There has been a family issue that has been happening for the last few months and I have been patient with the process, but it got to a point where one day I couldn’t be patient anymore. I got frustrated with how the elders were handling the situation, they didn’t handle the matter with urgency and then I ended up handling the matter on my own, which was fuelled by frustration. I remember telling the elders that I did what I did because I am trying to get their attention as to how urgent this matter is to me. Only then, after my incident, things started to move. I didn’t understand why I had to put myself on fire first to get attention.
When you are falling apart most of the time as a man nobody believes you, they think you are joking or making it up or they have the faith that you will be ok, that you will sort this thing out some way. I imagine this is what the guy who comes home with an AK 47 and shoots the entire family feels like at times, probably even worse. And from where I am standing he is saying that he’s been telling them that he is not ok and yet so much is demanded from him, he reckons that if he kills everyone, no one will have these problems. It’s not very smart logic to use but to a man who is emotionally frustrated it might be the perfect logic.
Back to the conversation with Ashley about pain, about how we struggle to articulate how we feel, might seem like a small thing, might seem easier to the next person, but on this side of town it’s a real struggle. The conclusion was that it’s hard to be a man and the world doesn’t care much for the black man and I got it, I understood it and I couldn’t even contest it. It makes sense why the suicide rate is higher amongst men.