asexual · asexuality · black girl blogs · black women

Hyped Too Early

When I was in the 3rd grade, a girl in my class asked me if I knew that the boys talked about me on the playground. I didn’t, because I spent most of my recess jumping rope with my friends. What the boys had to say about me wasn’t important at that time. Until suddenly it was. The girl, I remember her name started with a K, told me that the boys were always talking about how big my butt was. It made her mad because one of the boys she liked was always the leader of the discussion. He liked me, which in turn meant that she had to dislike me and make it known.

I remember that day vividly. I remember the pink shirt K was wearing, I remember the gold hoop earrings she had in and I remember burning my hands with the water in the sink because I was so shocked by the knowledge that my butt was a regular thing to talk about amount my male classmates. I was shocked and embarrassed and spent the rest of the day making up excuses to stay in the bathroom. Every day after that I spent a good portion of the mornings before school trying to make sure all my shirts were long enough to hang down over me.

The same things happened in middle school and only got worse in high school. Everyone always had something to say about my body. Never about me, as a person, always about how big my butt was. There was no “Danyi you’re really good at jumping rope or writing stories” it was “Danyi your ass is fat as hell” and someone always had to try and touch it. In college I tried for a few months to just go with it, dance with whoever wanted to, let whoever grab and squeeze. Everyone around me hyped my ass up, I should too right?

It was my second year of college, the seventh year with my boyfriend and a few months before we were to break up; we had an argument and he told me that the only reason he was with me was that my ass was fat. I’ve told this story before in other articles but it’s important to tell it in this one too. When he said that to me, I remember how I literally froze in place. My mind stopped all thoughts, everything inside of me and outside came to a halt. The humiliation and embarrassment I felt then can still make me squirm today. Just thinking about it makes my stomach turn. But it happened and it affected me. After that argument, I stopped eating and let myself lose weight. So my butt would get smaller and people would stop paying attention to me. It kinda worked, my ass did get smaller but the attention didn’t stop. Those didn’t know me before say my ass is still nice, those who did say I can easily get it back. No one seems to realize though, the focus is still on my ass and not me.

When it comes to my asexuality I often wonder if these events are a contributing factor to it. I can’t help but entertain the idea that the hypersexualization of my body from such a young age plays a huge part in my being uncomfortable with sexual situations. I was eight years old when my body began being sexualized by others. Wasn’t even a decade old before I was put in the same sentences as the word sexy. Didn’t have the chance to experience my first kiss before someone was telling all the things they wanted to do to me sexually. In a sense, my sexual development was backward. The older I got though, I learned that it’s this way for most women.

I haven’t spoken to one woman yet who doesn’t have some kind of negative sexual story. A young negative sexual story at that. We all have, in some way, been hurt sexually. And it sucks. It’s confusing and it makes for an even harder time when we find ourselves wanting to be sexual in a healthy way. I’m still firmly on the nonsexual Ace side of things but I do imagine a time in my life where that could change. I do imagine a person not pressuring me in any kind of way. I imagine a lot what it would be like to have a connection with someone that doesn’t have to touch sexuality but still can if we like it to. The problem is though that I have to imagine this, it’s not real life for me. It’s not something I can actively say I’ve seen around me. It’s definitely not the way my asexuality is percieved.

In the past few months, I’ve been having a hard time with my asexuality. Which is why I haven’t written nearly as much about it as I did last year. My Aceness is vastly different from others that I’ve come across. I wrote about it, in my Ace Discourse article. I got a lot of backlash for my statement that the Discourse is for white Asexuals. Black and Brown Aces have no place there because what white Aces consider oppression is very rarely a blip on the actual oppression radar. However, my article wasn’t taken seriously by white Aces because acknowledging that you still have privilege when you’re hellbent on being oppressed is not a trick they have learned yet. They probably never will. Anyways, I say all this to point out my confusion with being Ace because I’m not sure if I can place a point of origin to my Asexuality. I don’t know when it started. On a surface level, it seems like one day I was fine with sex and with having it and then one day I wasn’t. Like a switch had been flipped in my brain. Part of me thinks it might have started that day in the bathroom when I was in the third grade. Other parts think it started when sex with my ex went from fun and great to painful and traumatizing. I’ve also spent countless hours debating with myself that I’m not actually asexual and the way I feel isn’t valid.

Even though I’m aware the last part isn’t true, I can trace why I feel that way back to a root. I know where my doubt about being truly asexual comes from. It comes from the Black community around me. It comes from the way Black girls are hyped up and sexualized from a young age until the day we die. It comes from the fact that all Black women are seen as sexual creatures first and human beings second. As much pushback as I get from white Aces, it’s nowhere near what I get from fellow Black people. I understand the initial reaction is to dismiss me, even make fun because they don’t think I’m being serious but it’s something that should be discussed. The way Black people are hesitant to accept any sexuality that isn’t heteronormative. We say we accept gays and lesbians but we really don’t, they still feel the judgment and are still shunned. They still die. So while we struggle as a community to accept even the first two letters in LGBT, it’s not hard to see that accepting things such as Trans, Bisexual, Asexual and all the other terms that fall under the umbrella of the acronym are a long way away.

I don’t exactly blame the Black community. We could do better absolutely, but how are those who need to be more accepting supposed to be when we as a community are barely accepted. Racism runs rampant out in the open again. A Black person can be shot for holding their cell phone, for walking home at night, for literally just existing. I can see why we struggle to give acceptance when we barely get any. It doesn’t excuse inner bigotry, I’ll cuss out a Black person being disrespectful about my sexuality just as well as I will anyone else. I just might take longer to do it or give them more chances to switch up their tune before I do it.

I hate hypersexualization. Completely and totally hate it. There is no way to get my blood boiling faster these days. It’s been a part of my life since elementary school and no matter what I do to myself, no matter how I change or adapt, I cannot escape it. The feeling of being seen sexually follows me like a loyal dog, it’s turning me into a cat person. I want out of it, I want to never be looked at in a sexual way again. Because I don’t really know what it’s like to not be. That part of childhood was skipped when it was my turn and I don’t know if I’ll ever be over it.

At least for now, I’ll just keep writing about it.

-Danyi

 

 

 

asexual · asexuality · black girl blogs

Asexuality and Fandom: When No One “Wants” An Ace Character

It’s been two months since my last article, life has gotten away from me and I’ve been working on this piece for far longer than I would have liked. But it’s here now and it’s finished. My last article gained a bit of traction, made a few people mad and I got a lot of messages from people trying to explain to me why I was wrong. None of that changed my opinion about whether or not Black and Brown Aces have a place in the Ace Discourse. We don’t, we probably never will. And that’s that.

Today’s article has been on my mind for years. I used to spend a lot of time on the internet engaging in different fandoms and trading headcanons with creative people like myself. I would spend hours writing fanfiction, crafting short stories and reblogging fan art that appealed to my ideas. It’s how, in the land of Tumblr, one makes friends. It’s also a sure fire way to make enemies. The biggest part of being in a fandom is shipping. It’s almost a requirement that if you’re in a fandom, you must have a ship. Which two characters would you pay money to watch have sex? Which two characters do you think are absolutely dying to be in bed together even if they’ve never looked at each other? And if you don’t have a ship then there’s no space for you in the fandom, you have to want two characters to be together. You have to.

Shipping is the reason fandoms ultimately become toxic. The first thing a person does when you happen to not like their ship? Insult you, whether by your intelligence, your creativity or just you in general. You don’t like my ship? An automatic fuck you. If you aren’t opposed to my ship but have your own? You must admit that my ship is the superior ship and then maybe we can be mutuals. Not friends, but I won’t shade or drag you publicly. These are unspoken but fiercely followed rules in the world of fandom. They are the blueprint, anything outside of them is rarely if ever well received. So when you’re asexual and looking for a fictional character to headcanon as Ace, you had better be ready for war.

Because I didn’t always identify as Ace, the idea of coding a fictional character as Asexual only came to me after I stumbled across paragraphs from Ace Tumblr users. I spent a lot of time reading and coming to the realization that no characters were thought of as Asexual. Not even BBC’s Sherlock, who clearly had no interest in anyone but was furiously shipped with John, could be thought of as Asexual. Fans took personal offense and spammed anyone who suggested it. As if the most degrading thing Sherlock Holmes could be, was Ace. BBC’s Sherlock is not my lane, it never appealed to me the way other variations of Holmes have. But I paid attention to the way the idea of thinking a character to be Asexual was shunned.

As someone who didn’t acknowledge their Asexuality until after my trauma, it didn’t really cross my mind just how low the representation for Ace people is. Even in the world of fandom, perhaps especially in this one. When it comes to fictional characters, fans often get obsessive and territorial. If they love a character enough, some begin to think that what their interpretation of the character is better than what the creator has made. Fans on the internet have gotten to a point where the headcanons in their minds hold more value than the actual content. Which is fine, until they start to project these feelings on to others.

When Steve Rogers met Sam Wilson in Captain America: The Winter Soldier the internet rightfully exploded. At least, Tumblr did. There was finally another person to ship Steve with. A new ship means more fanfics, more fan art and more think pieces on why this ship is meant to be. Only this time, the introduction of Sam not only brought more shippers but it also brought a lot of thinly veiled racists and exclusionist that wore the mask of an inclusionist. If you’ve read my pieces before you know I don’t like to use those words (inclusionist/exclusionist) but I’m not sure how else to describe them. When the fanfiction for Sam Wilson rolled out, I couldn’t help but notice something. All of a sudden Sam Wilson was Asexual. Almost overnight the idea of Sam being a romantic love interest for Steve (or Bucky) had been jumped over and people were declaring him Ace. Which at first was great. Until after reading fanfic upon fanfic I realized that the only reason people were making him Ace was so that he didn’t get to sleep with Steve. Bucky is almost never made Ace in any of his fanfics, same goes for Steve, same goes for Tony or Bruce or Thor. However, with Sam, you’re more likely to find fanfic about him being a weird Ace third wheel to Bucky and Steve than you are to find him in an actual relationship with either of them. Coding Sam to be Asexual was more about racist fans finding a way to keep him from touching their Golden Boy than it was about actually bringing Asexuals into fan fiction. But if you called them on it then you weren’t really Asexual and didn’t want Ace characters in the first place. It’s the same argument fans use when they “just can’t see the chemistry” between a Black woman and a white man. Same format different lettering.

Of course over time, and several callout posts the fanfics got better and Sam was starting to be truly shipped. However now that he’s mainly shipped with Bucky and it’s a sexual ship, he isn’t headcanoned as a Gay Ace. He’s just Gay now. The Asexual part has disappeared. Save for those who still don’t really want him around and need him out of the way.

As someone who used to be deeply involved with fandoms and is now working to be deeply involved in the representation of Asexuals; I’ve noticed that while one may not be ostracized anymore for wanting Ace characters, you’re more likely to be told to be grateful that any characters were thought to be Ace at all. In fandom, it’s the throwaway characters, the unpopular ones, the ones deemed ugly or the ones that have the most Anti-fans that are coded to be thought of as Asexual. Because people think of Asexuals as choosing to not want sex, when that isn’t the case at all. It’s easier for hardcore fans to assign a character they don’t like to something they don’t understand rather than step out of their comfort zones and look through a different perspective.

It’s a double edged sword really. If you want the community of fandom you have to be willing to put up with a lot, you have to be willing to pick your battles wisely. It’s easier to go along with what the masses are saying than stand your ground on a detail that means a lot to you. Like the case of Jessica Rabbit. For some reason, she has become representative of Asexuality, on the internet at least. I’m pretty sure it’s because she is so overly sexualized and Aces would like to make a statement. I don’t code her as Ace so while I don’t understand, it’s not something I oppose of. However, I have seen fans on Tumblr being driven to tears on both sides. Those who want so badly for her to Asexual against those that cannot fathom the idea of a “sexy woman” not being interested in sex. I can still get on Tumblr today and watch in real time as people argue about it, about her. It’s weird. And frankly, it doesn’t really do much in terms of representation, because canon wise she most definitely is not Ace. But also, she’s married to a rabbit and as far as I know, only ever had the relationship with him. She’s not the best representation we could ask for.

Another side to the ever-growing argument is that coding a sexual character as asexual is infantizing or desexualizing them. This perspective often comes from characters that are heavily thought of as representatives of a certain orientation, such as a lesbian icon or a gay icon. There is a point to make in the fact that Asexuality is a spectrum, there are Gay Asexuals and Lesbian Asexuals. Asexuality isn’t limited to the simple definition of a person who doesn’t want to have sex. It’s as inaccurate as it is a blanket statement. There are Aces who enjoy sex, there can be asexual fictional characters who enjoy sex as well. Furthermore, even if the character doesn’t enjoy sex that doesn’t make them infantized. This concept loops back to the toxic idea that many of us have been taught since we were born. That sex is to be looked as an achievement and if you don’t engage in it then you must not be mature enough to understand it.

So the question remains, how can Aces deal with fandoms that have no Ace headcanons or only code their throwaway characters as Asexual? For now, the best thing is to create ourselves. To find each other in the fandoms and stick together when it comes to Ace representation. That’s easier said than done however, I’ve seen small groups here and there that pick a character and defend them possibly being Ace to the end. But fandom is supposed to be fun, it’s supposed to bring joy and entertainment like the original content it comes from. It’s draining to spend most of your fandom time arguing, defending and protecting a character that doesn’t even exist in real life.

It does make me interested to see how fandoms will deal when we get a successful movie, tv show or some kind of franchise that has canon Ace characters. Will their Aceness be erased and replaced with different sexualities? Will the content of the characters be ignored completely and declared not worth a fandom at all?

I guess only time will tell.

-Danyi

asexuality · black girl blogs · black women

The “Normal” Asexual

I’m old enough (barely), to remember a time before social media. I remember when the computer was in the family room, everyone had their own account on it and no one could call the house if you were on the internet. I remember spending most of my time on the computer playing pinball and drawing badly in “Paint”. And I most certainly remember a time when the only thing a cellphone did was make calls and send texts. Now though, cellphones are computers. Everything I used to do on the desktop in the living room, I can now do on my phone without having to leave my bed. The little girl in me who more often than not would pick playing outside over time on the computer, is still to this day flabbergasted.

I like my smartphone. I do. I literally have no excuse to not know something or at least teach myself something, because Google is always in my back pocket. However, social media is where I start to become weary of that heavy electronic device I take everywhere. At first, social media seemed great. A way to connect and keep track of my friends, without having to bug them with constant texts. Amazing. As I get older however, I’ve watched social media take a turn for the worse. I’ve watched it turn people into their worse.

Social media is tricky. It puts a screen between you and the person you’re trying to communicate with. For people with anxiety or those who have a hard time with confrontation, this is a good thing. It gives them that little bit of confidence to say what they have to say. But it also gives people who only have confidence when hidden, a chance to be mean. And more than anything, it leaves tons of room for misunderstandings.

I like to post pictures. And here recently, I enjoy making and posting videos as well. I love the idea of capturing a moment forever, because once a moment is over it can’t ever be truly replicated. So pictures and videos are a way to hold those moments and memories. Hence, I really like Snapchat as an app. I like seeing the world through other people’s eyes, I like seeing the pictures of what they find interesting enough to post. But because humans are the way we are, Snapchat is not viewed as a simple app for pictures. People use it to cheat on their partners, with the pictures disappearing after 24 hours it’s hard to catch a dick pic being sent. The app alerts you when someone screenshots you so racy messages can be sent in comfort, without fear of secretly being screenshot and leaked. It’s a lot, but only because humans make it so. I try to keep my Snapchat as simple as possible, I post pictures and videos of what interest me. My snaps still get taken out of context all the time though. Especially the ones surrounding my asexuality.

I made a point to make sure that it’s known on my social media that I’m asexual. I post my articles about it with links on my Snapchat all the time. I post text posts about how irritating it is when men don’t respect my sexuality on my Snapchat. More than 98% of the time, I am the only person in my snaps. It’s not something I actively think about doing and it’s not me trying to shove asexuality down my followers throats, it’s just the way I am. I want people to be aware so that they can stop themselves from asking me awkward questions. I want to help raise awareness to asexuality and normalize it. Which is one of the biggest goals I have, I want to normalize asexuality. Because there’s this phrase that I’m starting to hear the more comfortable I become: “You’re pretty normal for an asexual”. It’s not always exactly like that, the wording definitely changes but it’s always some variation of that. If it’s not you’re pretty normal then it’s “you aren’t like other asexuals”. And that bothers me.

I held a friend of mines hand in one of my snaps last week. For about five seconds we held hands and swung them back and forth. Nearly every male who follows me, sent me a message about it. Most were polite enough, a few ending up getting blocked but they all were asking the same variation of one question: Aren’t You Asexual? And it pissed me off. The hand I was holding in my snap belonged to a guy, and we were holding hands really tightly. He and I went to highschool together, we’re very good friends. I considered sleeping with him some years ago. I don’t want to sleep with him now. But absolutely none of that matters. We live in a world now where any type of physical contact between two adults is seen as sexual. No matter what. It’s a stereotype that is put upon us all even when not everyone has that same mindset. So even though I’ve known this guy for years and if we were going to sleep together we would have already, the five second video of us holding hands is all people need to question my sexuality.

It’s almost as if asexuals are expected to never acknowledge the existence of another human being. And if we do, we’re no longer what we say we are. Which is both impossible and ridiculous. There’s a difference between acknowledging a nice face and wanting to have that face in your personal space. But society can’t seem to separate the two. I’m not sure how or in what way it can be explained for people to understand. I’m even less sure that it should even have to be explained in the first place.

Not only does the question itself and the implications behind it bother me, the way people say it also irritates me as well. When someone says to me “you aren’t like other asexuals” in whatever form, they always sound as if they are praising me. Like a dog that’s successfully completed a trick. A pat on the head for being myself and managing to fit in the box that they have labeled as normal. I’m a “normal” asexual because while I may not want to have sex (they’re sure I’ll change my mind soon), I still must somewhere deep inside be interested in people. Since I can recognize a good looking person when I see one. In order for my sexuality to be accepted, people have to pick it apart and slather one little part in compliments hoping it overshadows the things they don’t understand or like about my sexuality as a whole.

Why am I a “normal” asexual for acknowledging other humans and why has social media given people the confidence to comment on things that aren’t any of their business? Both of these questions have been on my mind for longer than just the latest hand holding snap. Because there seems to be no clear answer, even when asked. People should have never thought it was okay to question my asexuality just because they saw me holding a guy’s hand on Snapchat. They shouldn’t think it’s alright for them to try and put my bisexuality front and center in the hopes it means I have actual sex. Just so that they can find some kind of comfort in my sexuality.

They don’t realize, it’s not my job to make people comfortable while in my presence.

-Danyi

mental illness

“What You Got To Be Depressed About?” – Mental Illness and the Black Community

It’s hard to write about something that you were told all your life you didn’t really feel. I’ve been depressed since middle school, I get this bone-deep sad feeling that wraps me up and suffocates me until I feel like screaming. Sometimes it happens a lot, sometimes I go months without feeling it. I get restless and can’t sleep and when it’s really bad there’s a constant buzz in the back of my mind that drives me wild. It’s almost like I become a completely different person.

For a long time, I tried to pretend it was just a bad mood. I tried to view my depression as something that would pass. Something that would eventually stop. But once I got into year three of my depression only subsiding and never really going away, I had to come to terms with maybe this was something I’d have to deal with for the foreseeable future. I also had to accept that maybe feeling sad was putting it too broadly and if I wanted to at least manage it, I’d have to look into it deeper.

When I was younger, I was just moody. Then in high school, I was just being a teen. In college I was lazy and now, I’m just a mess. All words that have been used to describe me so that the word depression isn’t brought up. My family moves around that word like ninjas. They cover it with synonyms and downplay it even when it manages to be said. Not only is it harmful but it’s also confusing. I spent years thinking depression and mental illness were bad words. I spent so much time believing that they were things that only happen to white people. Anytime there was a discussion in my family about mental illness it always ended with some variation of “that’s white people shit”. There are even instances today where the conversations still end that way.

I spent a lot of time thinking that there was something wrong with me. I was the only person I knew in real life that was depressed. Once I got a computer and began to explore the internet I learned of other people around the world having depression but it’s still hard to truly connect through a computer screen. At least it is for me. And everyone around me seemed to be happy and loving life to the fullest. I felt alone even when I was surrounded by those I considered my closest friends. When I would try to tell someone about how sad I was feeling, the words would get stuck in my throat, they would tangle my tongue and struggle to make it past my lips. I feared what my friends would think of me if I let them know the kind of sadness and hurt I was feeling.

Because mental illness was such a stigma in my family and all around me, I had to find a way to deal with the deep sadness I felt. What I turned to was definitely not the best thing, but it did help. I was in 10th grade the first time I self-harmed. I remember I’d read about self-harm in the act of cutting and I remember the post describing it as a way to feel something again. Back then I desperately wanted to feel something other than sadness, so I started cutting. At first, I was extremely careful about it. I only did it in the dead of night when I knew everyone in the house was sleep. I locked the bathroom door, played music and turned on the shower to make it seem like I was taking a late night bath. I would disassemble plastic shaving razors and keep them in a music box near my bed. And I only cut in one specific area on my left arm, never anywhere else. I did this for the better half of seven years. Over time though, I noticed that the few times I failed to properly hide my scars, no one said anything to me. My mom never mentioned the marks, nor did my aunts or uncles. Not my cousins or my friends, anyone who accidentally glanced at them always looked away quickly. Not even my own boyfriend who constantly held my left hand said anything. It was just another taboo subject to be swept under the rug.

My reasons for self-harming changed over the years but the need for it became constant. From my abusive ex and his manipulating ways to losing close friends, developing severe anxiety and having a mental breakdown; the only thing that kept me grounded was the marks I cut into my left arm. I’d thought that once I was single and free from abuse then I wouldn’t have to harm myself anymore, but I started having panic attacks and dissociation almost daily. The deep sadness was still there and whilst in the middle of a panic attack that sadness took on a whole new level. When you’re panicking, everything is bad. Absolutely everything, even when you know for a fact you’re overreacting, if you’re caught in the middle of an attack your mind won’t let that logic surface. It just won’t.

My battle with depression, anxiety, and self-harm really took a turn when I had my mental breakdown. I spent an entire summer in a thick fuzzy haze, I never knew what day it was and time seemed to drag. I would spend days shut up in my room staring at the ceiling in silence. It was the first time I truly felt lost and hopeless. When I tried to talk about it with my aunt, she disappointed me for the first time in my life. Her response to all the pain I was currently experiencing? She shrugged her shoulders and said to me, “That’s life,”. It was a new response sure but it was no less hurtful. When I tried to discuss my feelings with my mom, to a much less extent, she asked the same question she always does, “what do you have to be depressed about?” A question that might as well be categorized as an ancient African Proverb by now.

The older I get, the less I understand why the black community won’t accept mental illness. With our past history and even current events that are happening exclusively to the black community, we should be actively seeking help for the mental trauma that is raining down on us. We went from slavery to Jim Crow to the corrupt prison system and many of us being killed out on the streets by people who are supposed to protect us. In every decade since we were brought over in the bottom of ships, we have been mistreated, abused and killed. It should almost be expected for most of us to have some sort of mental illness. We should be some of the front leaders in the world on PTSD. However, it seems the complete opposite has happened; the black community has shunned the idea of any of us being mentally ill. Any celebrities or public figures brave enough to come out and talk about their mental struggles are never looked at the same again. They aren’t taken seriously and often become the butt of Facebook jokes and Twitter memes. It’s only in recent years that black people suffering from some kind of mental illness have started to speak up and raise their voices. Only recently have we begun to shed the shame that’s wrongly attached to mental illness and confidently confirm when asked if we have one.

Aside from the jokes and memes, when the community does decide to listen to a select few, it’s only the people who fit a certain type. An individual with an appealing face is more likely to be given a platform to speak about mental illness in than an average or “unattractive” person is. It’s even more likely if they have what society has deemed as an acceptable body. If you fit the physical beauty standard then you can be as mentally ill as you please and you’ll get the help you need. There’s still a catch though; there are really only two mental illnesses that society seems to be willing to discuss. Depression and Anxiety, as if Borderline Personality Disorder, OCD, Anorexia, BiPolar Disorder, Self Harm and Schizophrenia don’t exist. Or rather we know they do but they are deemed the “scary” mental illnesses. The people who have these are “really crazy” and often ignored in favor of those who are more manageable with their simple depression and anxiety. Even though depression and anxiety are in no way the more acceptable, simple or better mental illnesses.

There are so many layers and so many levels of mental illness. Everyone’s experience is different, everyone’s symptoms can and will change over time, and everyone manages their illness differently. We relate to each other by sharing our dark and sad thoughts and we can find comfort in knowing that we aren’t alone in this invisible battle we’re fighting. That’s not enough though. As a community, black people have a long way to go in the acceptance and understanding of mental illness. I’m unsure if we’ll ever get past the point of thinking that illness in the mind is only something white people experience. I’m unsure if we’ll get past the point of shunning the community members who are confident enough to speak up. I don’t know if we’ll ever have enough time to put forth the effort we should in therapists and seeking help. I’m a fairly cynical person, whether it’s from the years of depression or just the way I am, but I don’t see progress being made any time soon. There are so many other things the black community has to rightly focus on and fight against, but I hope that one day we’ll able to see that mental illness deserves just as much attention.

-Danyi