Hello Internet. I was racking my brain trying to think of the perfect first post only to realize that this post won’t be seen by many. So in the spirit of getting shit done, I thought the easiest introduction to my blog would be a short list of must know facts about me. Let’s get acquainted.
1. Bliss is my favorite word. For as long as I can remember, this word has been etched into my brain as a goal. I seek to attain and understand what it means to live a life of bliss. Bliss, by definition, is unobtainable. Perfect happiness is a myth. But try telling that to my dark and twisty mind. I’m still going for it. It’s a tall order but one that has helped me push through some of my toughest moments.
2. I’m Ghanaian-American. My mother is from the mountains of Ghana, West Africa and my dad is from the projects in Queens, NY. Subsequently, my mom is religiously a Protestant and my dad is a Jehovah’s Witness. I grew up with conflicting cultures and at times my confused identity shows. There’s a part of me that refuses to eat with my left hand because my mom told me it was an insult to her cooking. And there’s another part of me that avoids wearing necklaces because my dad swore up and down that someone could choke me with it. It’s made me feel like the only pen in a pencil box at times but it has also been one of my strengths. Also yes, that means I’m Black. I decided to write this blog primarily for black people going through mental illness. We’re out there, we’re just not very visible, and I’d like that to change. Personally, my journey to connecting with my blackness began at the same time as the symptoms of my bipolar disorder, so they’re forever intertwined. Denying that fact has cost me a lot of time and energy, so I won’t be making that mistake again.
3. I have bipolar disorder II, with psychotic features. A mouthful I know. It’s also a mind fuck and the main reason I started this blog. I want to provide a transparent look into the life of a black person with mental illness, an area of storytelling that I believe is currently lacking. I’ve had my battles with this disorder, many of them I’ve lost, but recently I’ve had a series of wins, and I think it’s worth documenting. Even though I’ve had this disease for a while, I’m still not used to showing people my symptomatic side. Whenever I think about being vulnerable, a montage of reaction faces flash through my mind like a warning, and I recede. This blog is like my coming out story, for myself and for those who might hide like I did.
4. I was a division 1 athlete, past tense is crucial here. A difficult thing that happened after my diagnosis with bipolar disorder was that I left my Division 1 soccer team. Truth be told, I was kind of forced out, but that’s a story for another day. It’s been five years and I’m still mourning the loss of my old self. It’s not easy to shift identities after only claiming one for 12 years. I lost my sanity and my first love within what felt like a single breath , so it’s worth acknowledging that this disease is not my friend. While I know it doesn’t help to deny it’s existence, I will never be the type of person to lie and say I’m happy that I got diagnosed. I am happy that I can name what has railroaded my life, but I will never thank my mental illness. And that’s that on that.
5. I have the same birthday as Prince. My birthday twin is the one and only Prince and I will never shut up about it. Besides fueling my love for weird R&B, this little fact has heavily influenced my love of purple and all things dramatic. Less impressive but still noteworthy, Michael Cera and Bill Hader also entered the world on my day. Yes, that makes me a Gemini. And no, the irony of being a bipolar Gemini is not lost on me. I also read in a book of birthdays that June 7th is the Day of the Entertainer, so it is my personal mission to live up to that. This blog is my first step, so let’s see how it goes.