At the moment, I’m having a very difficult time formulating a sentence. My thoughts are scattered, my nerves are shot, and I am exhausted. To keep it totally one hunnid with y’all, I have no clue what to do right now. I am not one to start a rally or organize a protest. I am a writer. I write things. I use words to connect with people. To uplift. To heal. But today? Right now? I’m stuck. Lost. Disturbed.
Mad as all hell.
I keep thinking about how [insert hashtag name here] could just as easily be my grandfather, father, uncles, cousins and friends. I keep trying to think of something — anything — I can do to help prevent yet another innocent Black human being from getting shot by corrupt police officers. I keep trying to come up with ways to help reassure and reaffirm my and my people’s humanity and unalienable right to live. But again, I’m stuck.
So to help retain the little bit of sanity I have left, I’ve compiled a list of strategies I’ve begun practicing and would like to share them with you:
- Block trolls. The BLOCK feature was created for a very specific reason. So when the trolls come lurking, don’t be afraid to use it. It works. And by “trolls” I mean those people (generally non-Black in these types of cases) who, for whatever reason, feel the need to crawl out from whatever racially oblivious rock they’ve been living under to come onto YOUR page and contaminate it with their ignorant, backwashed-bottle-of-stale-Dasani-water comments justifying the murders of innocent Black lives. The people who spew that “He/she shouldn’t have resisted” or “If he/she had listened he/she would still be alive” crap. In the past, I’ve fallen victim to these “troll traps” by responding in long, well-written paragraphs about why they are wrong. Which would then turn into hours of pointless back and forth on social media. And when these drawn-out debates would finally end, I would always leave feeling exhausted and more frustrated than when they first started. But yesterday I decided to try something new, and it worked. When a troll tried to try me on my page, I did not respond. I did not even allow myself time to respond. I simply hit BLOCK, and Voila! The troll disappeared. No heated words were exchanged. No time was wasted. No sanity was lost.
- Delete comments. Deleting comments on social media is the equivalent to pouring lighter fluid all over a huge pile of garbage then lighting a match, dropping it on the pile, and walking away. So when a troll comes onto your page, not only do you have the option to block the literal hell out of them, but you can also remove their venom of ignorance from your page by simply hitting DELETE. It literally takes two seconds to do and it works wonders for your sanity.
- Log off. Yesterday, after watching the videos of Alton Sterling getting shot and his son crying hysterically on national television for his now-dead father, I cried. I cried for Alton Sterling, his family, and the millions of Black men, women and children — dead and alive — that he represents. After a while, I needed a mental break. Scrolling for hours upon hours seeing post after post after post about death after death seriously does something to your psyche. It’ll consume you to a point where you become mentally drained, discouraged and damn-near depressed. But you can’t let it. Which is why logging off for a while is so crucial for your mental and emotional stability.
- Pray. We are in a state of emergency, y’all. Thousands of Black people are getting killed left and right at the hands of OUR OWN COUNTRY’S LAW ENFORCEMENT and nothing is being done about it. This is why prayer is so important. Yes, actions need to be taken. Yes, hella changes need to be made. But we can’t win without God. We need Him. We need His direction. We need His wisdom. We need His guidance. We need to tap into His unmatched power through prayer.
- Participate. However you possibly can. Use your voice. Use your platform. Write. Volunteer. Protest. Donate. Whatever your strengths are, USE THEM. But whatever you do, don’t sit idle. If you haven’t done or said anything about everything that’s been going on between the law enforcement and Black folk, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. But if you simply don’t know exactly what or how to contribute at this point, you can start by practicing and applying these five simple steps to help retain your mental health.
Because every bit of strength and sanity will be needed for whatever is about to ensue.