Facts and Opinions

Summer Walker’s Social Anxiety

In August 2019, singer/songwriter Summer Walker, announced that she was going on tour. Me, a relatively big fan, freaked out over this news. Now, I can’t say that I knew about Summer before “Girls Need Love Too” hit the radio waves, but if you look at my Apple Music, I guarantee Summer Walker is always an artist that I have recently been listening to. I think I’ve listen to her latest album Over It a million times…no, a million and two times. When I first heard the song, I was greeted with sultry and soulful tones; her voice reminds me of old school rhythm and blues. I was sold. Since then, me, and many other music lovers, have followed Summer’s career, and when she announced that she was going on tour, I immediately tried to gather my coins together and go see my girl sing “Playing Games” in person. The name of the tour, however, was a little interesting. The First and Last Tour…well, it’s pretty self explanatory. It sort of reminded me of The Eagles Hell Freezes Over Tour. After fourteen years, the band came together after they claimed that they would perform together…when hell freezes over. So I was assuming that by her title, this would most likely be the only tour that she will have for a while. Maybe she doesn’t like touring. Michael Jackson, although he did it, he hated it. Maybe she just thought it was tiring. Touring is exhausting, but it isn’t just physically exhausting for Summer, psychologically, it takes a toll on her.

During Summer Walker’s Tiny Desk Concert debut, people noticed that Summer didn’t seem to be acting “like herself.” She seemed nervous and she looked annoyed; singing stiffly into the microphone placed in front of her. To me, she looked tired, but her voice overpowered that. You can’t deny that her voice is three steps towards angelic, but she did look uncomfortable. I wasn’t the only one to notice this. There were so many news publications, people on Instagram, Twitter, and Instagram, and YouTube talking about how Summer Walker didn’t want to be there and how ungrateful she was acting, when it was actually a much deeper underlying condition.

 

 

Summer Walker has spoken out a numerous amount of times about her social anxiety. Social anxiety is the fear of situations where a person has to interact with others. Social phobia is the third largest mental health care problem in the world. Social anxiety effects around 7 percent of the population. This condition is chronic so it can’t just go away, however, there are definitely ways to manage it; medication, meditation, therapy, and etc. A lot of the time, people may confuse social anxiety with shyness or aloofness, but many people who have social anxiety are very friendly, open, and relatively happy people, they just can’t act that way freely due to their disorder. Once I learned about Summer’s dilemma, I could see some symptoms manifest. In a few of the videos that I’ve seen from her tour, you can see Summer standing there almost like a deer in headlights or sitting down very still. Even if you didn’t have social anxiety, picturing what’s going on through her eyes sounds a tad bit terrifying to me. You’re standing in front of a crowd of thousands; people yelling and screaming at you. There are bright flashing lights around, the music booming through the surrounding speakers and you can feel the vibrations of the bass through your feet and up your body. Wouldn’t that trigger some nerves? I get nervous when I go to arcades for that very reason. People are running around, people are loud; talking over each other, pushing, and shoving. It’s typically dark, and there are bright flashing lights from the games that are around. I can empathize with Summer, although my anxiousness is not as severe as hers is.

Recently, Summer Walker has cancelled most of her remaining tour dates due to her social anxiety, and it has a lot of people talking. For those who do not have anxiety, it may be difficult to understand. Many people on the internet are claiming that Summer is acting and that her social anxiety is not that bad; exaggerating her condition for…ugh I hate this word…clout. I didn’t know Summer was a stripper prior to singing, and that’s a big reason as to why people are claiming that she is lying. I do not personally know Summer (I wish I did though); I cannot read her mind, but it is kind of disheartening that so many people are shaming Summer. It’s not the weirdest thing in the world to be a person in that type of industry and have an anxiety disorder. Just think about how many people know her and how popular she is and how many instances she is confronted with having to surround herself with people now; the anxiety factor might have gone up a notch. After accepting her award at the Soul Train Music Awards, the topic of discussion came up once again with people dragging Summer through the mud. Summer has come out defending herself. In an Instagram post, she says…

 

View this post on Instagram

1. bareface & beautiful 2.you know the scariest shit I’ve been witnessing is that most of the women leaving negative comments like “it’s an act” , “I don’t have the right to act like this b/c I’m famous, “bitch you slow” or just flat out making fun of me for being vulnerable. HAVE CHILDREN, these women have children. It makes me feel soo bad cause it’s clear that if the children are developing or struggling with any type of mental disorder such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, it’ll be brushed to the side and will never receive any treatment because it’ll just be “an act”. These parents are probably so ignorant that instead of reading up on symptoms they just whoop the child 🤦🏽‍♀️ sad, my shit started at 6 so yes kids have it to.

A post shared by Summer Walker (@summerwalker) on

One of the reasons I started this blog is to shed some light on mental health in the black community…and this kind of solidifies how desperately we as a community need to educate ourselves. Summer is stating some good points with her Instagram caption. Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and all of the mental health disorders that are in between can affect anyone…that’s right…even you! And it will really hinder a person if they show signs of something, and they are told to ignore those signs; thinking that they will go away or that it can just be suppressed. It seems like we never take black people seriously; especially black women. If we have anxiety or exhibit any emotion that isn’t pure joy and happiness, we are seen as bitches or God forbid angry. We are told that we are faking it. And what’s sad is that it’s other black people that are trying to regress the black mental health discussion. A lot of it has to do with just not knowing and being ignorant to the fact, but there are literally people out there that think that black people just don’t suffer from mental health conditions. I will say, when you have a condition, it is your responsibility to get the help that you need if you are of legal age. My anxiety is…anxiety. I used to feel like someone else was controlling me when I would get into these little mental fits; sometimes I still do. I’ll give myself some credit; I am at a much better place mentally. That came with a lot of self reflection, hard work, more reflection, getting out of my comfort zone, more reflection, a great support system…did I say reflection? If you have done the same and can see some progress, no matter how little, you should pat yourself on the back. Seriously, I hope you’re doing it right now. I think with Summer Walker speaking more candidly about her condition, she can not only start a discussion about anxiety and other mental health conditions in the black community but she can set limits for what she can and cannot do, as well as pinpoint certain methods of healing that may work for herself.

I feel like when people are famous, their fans expect them to be somewhat superhuman. What we forget is that they too are human beings as well. They can get social anxiety; they aren’t immune to these things. There are so many people who look at their friends and family member’s social anxiety, depression, panic disorders, and so on and don’t see it for what it is. They tell them to get over it or to suck it up; not knowing that what they are doing is more harmful than helpful. Anxiety isn’t a little bout of nervousness, it can really affect a person and what they deem to be reality. Instead of pointing fingers and stating that other people’s (emphasis on other people’s) mental health conditions are exaggerated or fake, maybe we can educate ourselves a little better on what some of our peers may be going through. Okay? Thanks.

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Journaling

June Manifestations + Change

Now that’s she’s back from the atmosphere with drops of Jupiter in her hair. She acts like summer and walks like rain, reminds me that there’s time to change. Since the return of  her stay on the moon, she listens like spring and she talks like June.

Drops of Jupiter by Train is probably one of my favorite songs. As a child when the song would come on in the car on my way to school, I would instantly become a bawling mess. I still to this day don’t know why, but the song has this connection with me. The song captivated me with the first few lyrics, pictured above. She listens like spring and she talks like June. I distinctly remember asking my Mother what that meant, and if I did that because I was born in June, which is in the spring. She had no clue, but I have given myself my own personal meaning of what that means.

Spring is rebirth; it is the start of new things. June is the last month of the season, the 21st being the first day of summer. When I think of speaking like June I think of speaking positively or speaking with purpose. No matter how hard times may get, there is always a sense of hope when you speak. The weather during the spring acts as nourishment towards crops (rain), but then it can also be a bit hectic and (thunderstorms). Some words can destroy infrastructures, removing the old so that the new may be built. Listening like spring is being attentive and open-minded; being adaptable and open to the future. Honestly, I’m probably just reading too much into it, something that I do constantly. It was probably something that sounded good at the time, so they slapped it to some music.

Spring is my favorite season, mainly because it is the season that I was born in, as well as what spring symbolizes. June is all for revitalization, and going into the fourth day of the month I can feel differences ever so slightly. It’s about making a change in one way or another. I just got some really great news a few days ago, so I am praying that this is the change that is taking place. What kind of change are you looking forward? What type of change is going to take place in your life? This is the time to start that project that you’ve always wanted to but have been putting off. Your ideas that you have been cultivating, put it into action! I know that I’ve been saying that I wanted to start sewing and pick up my viola again to practice and I certainly think that this is the time to do so. I have just enrolled in a summer psychology course, and I am hoping that this is going in alignment with the rest of the things that I want to accomplish. I already am eating healthier and engaging in the vegan lifestyle, and now I am trying to make a change in my education. The person that you want to be, it’s time to start doing things that that person would do.

Now is the time to clear out any things that you don’t need; mentally and physically. Sometimes, God or a higher power will remove these things for you. The people that are no longer a benefit or a positive place in your life…they need to go. The habits that hinder your growth…gotta go. It’s time to acknowledge the things that you would like to change for the better. You have the plan, so put it into action. If you don’t have the plan, that is the first step. Take it one step at a time. Have a plan, but don’t get discouraged if things don’t go the exact way you want them to. For example, curing world hunger…that might not be the first thing that you should start off with. Maybe apart of your change could be volunteering more and being apart of a difference in the community. It’s always good to dream big, but actions definitely need to be apart of the journey there. You’ll never get there if you stay stuck in old, toxic ways that serve no purpose. The time for change is now. The best version of yourself is emerging.

I will let go of any negativity that I am still holding on to

I will be successful and happy in my life

I will change myself for the better

I am closer and closer to being my best self

I am growing

I will be the best version of myself very soon

I will be the best version of myself very soon

I will be the best version of myself very soon

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Journaling

The way Mac Miller died happens quite too often…

Pittsburgh native rapper Mac Miller (born Malcolm James McCormick) has been pronounced dead due to an apparent drug overdose. Miller had just released an  album, Swimming, August 3rd. He was scheduled to go on tour October 27th.

Miller is not the only rapper who has fallen victim to drug abuse. Fredo Santana succumbed to drinking Lean in January. In 2017, music artist Lil Peep, was found dead on his tour bus from a drug overdose. The amount of people who have died due to drugs can’t merely be counted on fingers and toes. Lil Peep was said to have suffered through depression and anxiety. I don’t know what  Mac Miller went through, or if he went through anything a long those lines. The main thing is that he’s gone, and that his death could have been prevented.

Drug culture has skyrocketed over the last decade. Percocets, Xanax, molly…each one of these has been mentioned in a rappers song at least once. It’s definitely being pushed to a wide audience. Trust me, I understand the feelings of depression and anxiety. I understand wanting to do anything to make the pain that you’re feeling go away; many people do. Drugs isn’t the answer. It really isn’t. It’s a mask. It’s a distraction. You pop the pill, drink the lean, whatever you may do…and it makes you feel numb to what’s bothering you. At the end of my sophomore year of college I spent many a weekend drunk, making a fool of myself because I wanted to forget some of the things that have happened before. Wine was my drink of choice, but I would have drunk anything if it was there. Your bad memories fade, but only for a little while. You hit that high and you feel invincible, but only for a little while. Once that feeling fades, you’re craving for the high, and the cycle begins. It scared me because I wanted a drink, but soon I needed one. I would think about the weekend and how there’s some party out there that will serve me a close to unlimited amount of alcohol. I would think about this every time I would feel like I’m at a low point.

This becomes a crutch. A crutch keeps you up, but it still makes you that much slower. Most people when they break their leg they don’t stay on a crutch the rest of their life. When they’re ready, they try to move on their own. You can’t go your whole life like that. There are so many people who don’t think that life will get any better, and that Xanax bars and oxycondone is what will take the sorrows away. They will come back.

Check in on your friends. The quiet ones, the funny ones, the ones you haven’t spoken to in a while….see how their doing! They might expose their deepest darkest secrets to you then and there, but it let’s them know that someone is thinking about them. Being surrounded  by others and still feeling alone hurts. There are always ways to feel better, even if it feels like there aren’t. Talking to someone may help. Hell, if it gets to be that bad, go to a professional if you can. There is always a way out of whatever you are going through, but you have to start it. You have to want it. You have to try to want it. Drugs aren’t cool. They don’t do anything for you. They are a toxic friend that you can’t get rid of. There’s always a way out, always. I’m still trying to get out. It’s not something that happens over night. It takes time. But when you’re free, it’s going to be life changing. You just have to be patient. Anyone can do it. I pray for Mac Miller’s family and friends at this time. I pray for their strength and healing. God bless.

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Facts and Opinions

Stay Woke? Feels Like Summer and the Black Woman Savior Trope

Childish Gambino is a star within his own right. I mean, it seems like there is nothing Donald Glover (that’s his real name….yes, they are the same person) can’t do. Starting off as a writer for the popular television sitcom 30 Rock, Glover has proven his capability as a writer time and time again. Search Glover on YouTube, and I’m sure that you’ll find a couple stand up specials of his. His comedic chops were a dominant reason as to why Glover rose to stardom. Even with his most recent project, the award winning FX show Atlanta, he is no amateur in front of the screen, nor behind it.

Another hat we can give Glover is musical artist. Childish Gambino is his alter ego, coming out when he is ready to indulge in his craft. The first song I heard from him was Heartbeat. I remember bobbing my head to the song in the car as my mom dropped me off at hell…I meant high school. I also remember being shocked at finding out that the guy who created the song was previously playing a former jock turned nerd on the NBC show Community. I was impressed at his versatility, and don’t get me wrong, I still am. Awaken, My Love! was the album that made everyone realize that Gambino was a force to be reckoned with. They are still playing Stay Woke on radio stations. If you didn’t know who Childish Gambino was, I’m pretty sure you have some idea now. The psychedelic, funk, Bootsty Collins-esc vibe was a delight to my senses. When we were hit with This Is America, I was stunned at the amazing visuals that Gambino’s video left us with. It was one of those videos where you had to watch it a few times to make sure that you caught everything, and even then! You still would miss something. The white horse symbolizing the coming of death, the violence towards the black man in the beginning, but the careful handling of the gun representing how we care more about gun rights then the rights of other human beings…and so many more symbols for us to digest. People knew that he was talented, but now, it was no longer an opinion, it could be considered a fact.

Most recently, Gambino released the music video for his song “Feels Like Summer” off of his Summer Pack EP. The song was easy going. The song was mellow. It felt like a song that you would listen to during the summer time. I can easily envision myself on my back porch back at home in Chicago as the sunsets; my friends and I laughing and reminiscing about the past and how much we’ve grown as individuals sipping lemonade and not having a care in the world. I kind of zoned out a little there, but the song is just a chill song for lack of a better word. I notice that with Childish Gambino, his music is good, but the visuals make it that much better. I feel like This Is America would not have gotten the point across without the music video, and I can say the same with Feels Like Summer. Gambino gives us a dual sensation with the senses; auditory and visual. With the Feels Like Summer video, we see some of our favorite music artists and public figures interacting with each other. I didn’t notice what was going on until I saw Chance at Birdman’s cookout. I saw the Migos, Trippie Redd, Nicki Minaj, Travis Scott, but the moment I mostly want to talk about starts at the second minute and the sixth second. Kanye West is seen crying his eyes out as he’s donning the infamous MAGA hat. Soon after, we see Michelle Obama embracing him in a hug as his tears begin to cease. I’m sure it was only supposed to be seen as a sweet sentiment, but something with that visual did not sit right with me.

Michelle Obama is the epitome of an inspiration. When her husband Barack Obama was President, she did not just sit on the sidelines. She was vocal, she was active, and she was just a straight up badass. I know that it’s just a little music video, but the only animation that you could give her was her consoling a man who called slavery a choice? Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but hear me out. Why are black women always the ones who have to “save” black men? When Snoop Dogg said that Kanye West needed to be hugged by a black woman, I thought about it. Black women are the most ostracized demographic in America. Black women are at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to desire and respect it seems like. Black women are constantly ridiculed for their hair, the way they look, and so on and so forth. I know I’m kind of going off on a tangent here, but I’m just trying to explain where I’m coming from.

Every race of man has degraded black women…including black men. I can count on my fingers and toes the times I’ve heard a black man ridicule black women  on something that they possess. However, if a woman of another race does the same thing that a black woman has done (long acrylics, braids, etc…), it is seen as innovative, cool, and them stepping out of their comfort zone. Kanye West…I have no idea what happened to him. He used to be a vigilante for the kids on the South Side of Chicago. He used to talk about the issues that plagued the streets that he used to live on, now he kind of mentions it when he is selling a brand new pair of shoes. Mr. West has shown some disrespect towards black women in the past. In 2016, he came under fire when he requested only multiracial models for his Yeezy Season Four fashion show. It’s all fun and games to drag black women, but when you’re getting dragged a black woman is supposed to come in and save the day? It’s a black woman’s job to set you straight? No no no, that is not our sole purpose in life.

Childish Gambino has been accused a few times of being “woke” when necessary. Now, when it was revealed that Glover was dating a white woman and had two kids with her, people flew off the handle and started labeling him a “traitor” and a “coon.” I wouldn’t go that far. Mr. Glover can date and marry whoever he wants, but as a black woman myself, I can definitely understand the disappointment that some black women felt. Chrissie, a YouTube commentator made a video about Childish Gambino in May, detailing some of the reasons as to why Gambino may not be as “woke” as people think. I’ll be honest, before this, I thought Childish Gambino was one of the most unproblematic people on the planet. That’s probably an exaggeration, but I didn’t question any of his intentions. In her video, she plays a clip of one of his stand up specials. To sum up everything, he has sex with an Armenian woman (not half Armenian, half black, not a black woman from Armenia….a full blooded Armenian woman) and got extremely aroused when she called him the n word during climax (er not a). Hmmm…maybe the joke was a little over my head, because I didn’t laugh; not even chuckle. I don’t know about you, but I personally believe that non black people should not ever use the n word, not even if their life depended on it. On an episode of Atlanta, he has a dark skinned black woman verbally going at it with a white woman on the fact that she’s with a black man. “We’re good enough to fight for black men, but we’re not good enough to marry or date….” she says later on in the video. That struck a chord in me. Black men will fight with black women, but not for.

Stephon Clark was gunned down by police March 18, 2018. Black women were the main people protesting for him and against what happened to him. His death was senseless and uncalled for, and there are no ifs ands or buts about it, but Stephon Clark…would he have done the same thing for a black woman. Tweets were released of him clowning black women, saying that dark skinned black women bring “dark days.” He had a seething hatred for black women. Even when these tweets surfaced, black women still were up to bat for this man. The women on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other forms of social media that repealed their support, were lambasted and shamed by mostly none other than black men.

Coming back to Childish Gambino and his video, I wasn’t the only one who felt this way when that image was shown. A few women on my Twitter feed felt the same way I did, reiterating the fact that black women are more than just a black man’s superhero. I’m not saying that black women can’t be, but there should be more of an equal response when black women are being attacked. Under the bus is not a good place to be thrown, and black women have been there more times than they should have been. Like I said previously, I’m sure the intentions were innocent, but when we acknowledge how these once acceptable ideologies can be seen as toxic, we have a chance to change the narrative for the future. Black women have their own struggles to deal with. If you have whatever you’re dealing with, and on top of that having to be the “savior” of someone else, that can cause tremendous pressure. Again, black women are HUMAN, and as well as deserving respect, they deserve a break.

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Poetry

First Date

Your eyes are filled with wonder
Sclera bright and white
Behold the strength of millions
On this quiet, forthright night
Impaled lover’s soul
The feelings I don’t know
Do you know?
I’ve worn tired of depression
Turns on and off like a switch
Happiness is made for someone
But it hasn’t happened quite like this
Lover’s in tow
But severed once you go
Change
Change is a strange thing
But welcome the shift it brings
You’re not alone
It’s inevitable
The transient gradients
It’s been with me ever since
All along
I’ve made a grave decision
I made it a while ago
I just had to plan the greater escape
I’ve got to examine
If it’s worthwhile
The plan unfolds
They say greater things are coming
Greater things
Greater good
I fiend for nourishment
Just like food
It gives me strength and courage
But I can’t help to think
They lie
Do they lie to keep you going?
Or is there an ulterior motive?
I probably will never show this
Piece of work
To anyone
Or any living thing
I think it’s time for me to go
I’m ready to come home

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