When you’re a third grader, the phrases anxiety and emotionally damaged is something that is foreign to you.
However, as I sit and peck away on my phone to write this column, the first seeds of my long battle with anxiety began with a simple report card.
I had gotten two C’s in the second report card period and managed to follow it up with two more C’s. Of course, in most cases, that would mean positive reinforcement from your parents and no form of punishment.
In my mom’s case, it meant a whooping.
Because I knew what was going to happen if I said it, I tried to get my teacher instead of me to break the news, believing that if my teacher broke the news, I would be spared a whooping, which wasn’t the case.
Years later, after making four B’s and two C’s on a report card, my mom decided to call me a “major fuckup”, notwithstanding the fact that I’m a 13 year-old kid.
That’s not to say my mom was a bad mom, because she gave me what I needed growing up, however, as I got older and started to realize things, I came to the realization that I had a very emotionally damaged mother, which got even worse after my grandmother died in 1998.
The mother I knew that threw parties for my friends was transformed into a bitter person that took the hurt of my grandmother’s death out on everyone, especially me. To me, it seemed like when that happened, I not only lost my grandmother, I lost my mother as well.
A long time ago, on a radio program I co-hosted, I retold this story to my co-hosts at the height of the Adrian Peterson controversy, mentioning about how my mom created a culture of fear and how even as an adult, the childhood trauma left lasting emotional scars and a long standing battle with high functioning anxiety.
“You can break the cycle,” my co-host Quentin Scott said to me that evening.
As I write this, I’m planning to take the first steps towards getting professional therapy, not because I want to brag about going to therapy, but because I want to break the cycle and not become as emotionally damaged as my mom.
I want to be able to be an example for other African Americans that want to go to therapy, especially black men.
That’s my goal.