This is the Second of Five articles for the Fanbros.com Mental Health week. Before continuing, I will say that this article was written literal hours before the mass shooting tragedy in Cleveland, OH(where I’m currently writing this) on 4/16/2017. The effects this has had on my city and myself have weighed on us and my deepest condolences have gone out to the neighbors and families whom are victims in this tragedy.
Breakups to some people may not initially seem like something damaging enough to crush someone, but they are. A relationship is a support system strong enough to give a person reason to get through a day. To try harder when you’re working. To get home safe. To maintain stability.
So, when you feel like you’ve had the structure removed from your (mental and emotional) home, that’s not something to be ashamed of. That’s not something to scoff at or brush aside with a friend simply telling you “Man, fish in the sea…” or “You can do better than him, anyway.” And it’s strange because being a Black male, it’s always felt like this is a subject we’d have to dance around among friends and peers without coming off as “soft”. It’s a weird stigma that we’ve pressed upon one another to the emotional expense that we can become self-destructive in the nature of finding some relief or some “reclamation of dominance” that hurts us or those around us. This could be a simple trip to a night/strip club, a flight to Vegas or just over aggression in immediate interactions. But, at the end of the day, you still have to come home, acknowledge this new void and assess who & where you are in this situation.
I have personally flown to Miami to drink & party, but cried on a beach during a sunrise while yelling at a starfish for being ambiguous.
Look at this asshole. A rock that breathes that PETA will come after me for stepping on. I know what you are, but WHY are you?!
While I can’t speak for the counter perspective of ladies, I can say that the grieving process on both sides can take it’s toll in ways that also are individual to the griever. That includes drastic weight changes, emotional fluctuations, strange purchases(Stay away from Amazon.com! That’s how you end up with shiny aviator shades, 2 scarves and an unimpressive bottle of champagne) and depending on your demeanor, people approaching you as if they’re walking on eggshells. And you know what?: That’s just part of it! That’s grieving. That means that you may have loved something and we all are lucky if we get the opportunity to have that. And this doesn’t even have to be just a sexual relationship. This could be the loss of a friend, a family member, a pet(R.I.P Chiba) or even a job! Separation hurts when you are invested in something emotionally. And it devastates when you when you don’t know how to handle it in a healthy way. So, let’s get down to that:
Life isn’t a Beyonce song: Sometimes, the relationship falls apart and it’s also your fault. And I’ll admit to having trouble with this, even within the past couple years.
For example: I fell for someone hard and she did the same. We moved in together, had a dog, the whole works. She quit 2 jobs for various reasons and I agreed to continue to work, but I felt the pressure start to hit as I had not fully recovered from her first job loss. She grew more frustrated with herself and lashed out. Passion started to die. I still promised to help, but distance grew and our differences started to show. On my end, I didn’t enjoy my life of only working for bills and not happiness, and resentment can grow, whether someone wants it to or not. We both said things that were unhappy judgements of each other’s character and then suddenly, we weren’t friends anymore. And then afterwards, I realized I was doing something that many men do that are striving to be a gentleman: I was being a “Nice Guy” and not a nice guy. I was working on being a gentleman for the sake of being a gentleman and feeling better about myself and the living situation, and not genuinely doing it for the sake of us as a couple. It’s almost “mansplaining” without speaking.
To reach this point, I need to step back and just hurt for a while until I figured out where in that situation did I also go wrong. I didn’t do the wild party phase, but I started to go out and meet friends(new & old) and started to figure out who I am, what makes me happy and that I should focus on genuinely finding someone who not only makes me happy, but I want to make happy in return. Correcting mistakes of the past isn’t simply an “upgrade”, but a modification. Sometimes it’s about decisions we made prior, which can include us ignoring red flags or even not asking the right questions that we know genuinely matter to us. Everyone is capable of getting there and defeating that cycle. And sometimes it requires a strong support system, but at the end of the day, you’ll be much stronger in your search with Knowledge Of Self.
But, let’s not kid ourselves: That Grieving Process Is Hell. And sometimes you need to sit on your couch or lay in your bed and just sulk while you work shit out. So, let’s hit you with some FanBros favorites in entertainment that can help ease you through that bumpy ride on a dark day:
A major favorite on the spaceship. Not only does the first season of Issa Rae‘s breakout hit perfectly chronicle the story of the ups-and-downs of being a young, Black professional in modern day Los Angeles, it makes the relationships in her life the primary focus and gives so much depth to both sides of the conversation. So many of the issues addressed above were handled intelligently and respectfully to each gender, that you will immediately want to have a discussion with anyone around you.
Master Of None
I resonate with this show at an almost uncomfortable level. The realities of getting over your childish side and figuring out what your place in life may be with your partner are strong issues in this show. It’s funny, optimistic, heartbreaking and sarcastic all at once. Many of these stories have even revealed to be true from Aziz Ansari, which becomes very noticeable with the attention to detail that will make you fall into his journey of being single and never quite sure of who he is and what he wants.
You’re The Worst
This has been a show discussed on the FanBros spaceship behind-the-scenes multiple times by myself and Chico Leo. We both love it and also see a lot of our flaws on display in characters. This show is one of the best comedies on television while also being one of the most devastating dramas(by surprise). Two people who are the most angry and volatile individuals you could ever meet collide into a “non-relationship tornado” that causes them to giddily destroy everyone around them or crosses their path in passing. You will laugh and cry nonstop with this one.
Why aren’t you already reading Saga? Hasn’t every website already told you that this is a comic that’s been running for years without a single bad issue? I’m not judging… I’m just saying.. This book is sci-fi at it’s most socially methodical. It centers around around an alien couple of warring races who have just had a newborn. Both of their respective kingdoms want them dead and they are working out getting past the honeymoon phase of their relationship. If this sounds lighthearted, it is not. It’s heart-wrenching, funny, terrifying, gory and even disturbing at times. But, it’s so modern and real with characters who are so passionate and lost that you will never feel disassociated with anyone on the page. One of the best comic series ever put to print.
The opening issue will grab you and have you turning pages full force in one of the most satisfying binge reads. It’s about a girl who has discovered during puberty that she has the ability to freeze time whenever she experiences an orgasm and her complicated journey into adulthood while experiencing this. Things suddenly grow far more complex as she meets someone who may have the same power as her. The twists are amazing, the conversations are real, the tension is always there and it’s dramatic moments are poignant. Definitely give it a read.
So, when I take some time off of the spaceship on Mondays and go to a geek bar local to me, there’s always one TV playing this game and it entirely captures anyone in the room who has never seen it before. The entire nature of the game is to punish you or reward you for your views on relationships, cheating, adulthood, commitment, etc. Meanwhile, your character is being punished for adultery(potential or otherwise) by being trapped every night in a dream world where he must solve puzzles to climb a pyramid as he escapes nightmare manifestations of whatever he is dealing with in reality(scary baby, angry vagina, etc.). All while trying to solve the mystery of what the hell is happening?!
While you’ll hear stories of people calling this a “walking simulator”, this is one of the most adult stories I’ve ever had with a video game. It’s equal parts 80s thriller and an overall conversation of where a person’s life goes after feeling like a failure after the loss of a relationship. How two people with problems may not be the best for each other, but discover they need each other and have to figure out what to do with that.
I hope if you’re reading this, you’re enjoying life and if you have someone you’re with, that you both focus on the happiness that comes with this whole journey. And if you’re not: that’s okay. There’s more to life than just that and who we are with doesn’t define us. We have to find our own definition. And maybe we may meet someone along the way…
Have any thoughts or favorite media you’d like to share on the topic? Comment below or at @FanBrosShow!