Although, I am a black female, I believe it is important to move the For Colored Girls movie conversation out of the context of race or Tyler Perry opinions/judgements. I feel as though there are enough people talking about those things. I saw the movie, read the book and saw For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf (FGWHCSWTRIE) performed many times. These issues impact women, black, white, red, yellow, brown, et cetera. As a black female, Ntozake Shange wrote from her perspective but these issues are from the female experience and are deeply impacted by race and class.
Before the movie was released, what was real for me was the word suicide. Even though suicide was NOT in the abbreviated movie title, For Colored Girls, it was what kept ringing in my head for a long while. But, suicide has been a very real part of my world for a few years now.
We had a major life event at the end of December 2007. Since then, my beautiful brilliant fragile daughter made an agreement with herself. Out of that agreement about her worthiness and right to life she is now dealing with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), being screened for sarcoidosis, pre-menstrual dypheuric disorder and has attempted suicide more times than I can count. Tylenol overdose, slitting her wrists, running away, jumping off of the roof, et cetera. She is currently on 3 different psychotropic medications. (No, I am not pro-medication. Yes, we have tried alternate healing modalities. Yes, we are in the process of weaning her off of medication, one at a time.) As I stated in a previous blog, Can you write a blog about discrimination?, she is fragile. Life for her “ain’t been no crystal stair” and the learning for us as a family has been deep.
I cannot think of Ntozake Shange’s original work, FGWHCSWTRIE, without thinking of all of my life experiences and what was missing in her work and were only fleeting, if present, in Tyler Perry’s movie: connection, dialogue, support, therapy and medication. The choreopoem had a lot of separate disconnected women with major issues they were responding to in their lives. The movie connected them all and added some current issues.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” –Plato
We are all connected. What impacts one impacts us all. Do not allow yourself to believe you are hiding anything from your family, friends or the universe. This goes for your emotional body, physical body and spiritual body. What people do not know consciously, they feel on a subconscious level emotionally and respond to. Be authentic in what you put out there for people to connect to. They are getting it anyhow.
Silence speaks volumes. When your partner never comes to the family dinners/functions, when you have all too many visits to the emergency room, when the bright light of your spirit is now dim, when you build walls too high and too thick for you to see out of or anyone to get in, it sends a ripple in the wave of the universe.
If you give word to the realities you live, it allows the other beings in your cipher to show up. If you talk about it you can get help. People can talk to you and you can both grow. Or they can run and hide and you will know that they were never really there anyhow. But starting the dialogue helps, even if it is painful. Once you know what hurts, you can get it fixed.
You can hire a life coach. You can join an existing support group. You can create a support group. If you are not willing to use your family or friends for support, you can find support by calling an 800 number. You can find it on the internet, you can go the emergency room, you can see if your job has an employee assistance program. I have done them all for myself or family members.
Get some. I am a parent, and as well meaning as most of our parents are/were, we are still left with some residual issues. As my family was dealing with the looming mental health issues related to my daughter and other life events (13 deaths in 2009), we were ALL in therapy. Therapy was not a part of my upbringing but I left no stone unturned in my tool kit toward wellness. Some of my family was willing to participate, others were not, however we all benefitted from the process. There are some great mental health professionals out there. Find the right one for you. It is a lot like shoe shopping. The first few might not fit, buy the one that does! It is, you are, definitely worth it.
Perhaps start with an overall physical. You need to know your levels (blood pressure, cholesterol, et cetera) and counts. Stress impacts all of your body functions and thyroid imbalance can affect your emotions. Chiropractic care, hypnotherapy, massage therapy, reflexology, reiki and kinesiology are all healing therapies as well.
Medication. Wholistic or Otherwise.
In this toxic world we live in, it is rare for a person to have all of the balance they need to function well, much less thrive. Food can be your first medicine. Vitamins and supplements can be your next. And under the guidance of your therapist and a psychiatrist there are prescription medications available as well. My daughter, several of my friends and extended family members have been on psychotropic medications for a period of time. Each person has reported that it was the support they needed at that time. While, I have never been on psychotropic medication, I do take a lot of supplements to assist in my balancing process.
With all of that said. I am filled with questions.
What makes you happy? Why aren’t you happy? Are you depressed? Are you getting any kind of support? Group therapy? Individual therapy? Medication? Most of us have baggage. What are you carrying in your bag? When are you going to unpack it? How does carrying this load serve you? For every state of being there is a response. It all boils down to one or two questions. What are you WILLING to do about it? What are you DOING about it? And the operative in both questions is YOU.
I hope people pick up Shange’s original work, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, and read it. I hope it soon becomes available in e-book for this generation of people that do not flip physical pages. I hope you identify your issues and face them head on with fierceness, passion and joy. Use the same passion you use for Sunday brunch. You KNOW you love pancakes at Sunday brunch. Just a thought.
May joy be your weapon.
I am living my life