NAMI Mental Health

#TolerantTuesday – #WomenMentalHealthWeek with Ntozake Shange’s “For Colored Girls”

So I’m starting a new segment this month called #TolerantTuesday to address May being Mental Health Month. It’s a delicate dance of being an advocate without sounding too preachy and I have thought a great deal about how I could deliver my awareness message.

As a news blogger, I’m usually re-posting timely news in the various realms of intelligent consumption at a moment’s notice – current events, politics, local/state/national government, cultural issues, education, “water cooler” topics, etc. But I’m also mindful for the KIND of information I want to put out there because it reflects the kind of writer, editor, feminist and ultimately, educator I am. I take that responsibility very seriously because I’m representing the best of American culture not just for my “country people” but internationally, with readers coming from Europe, Middle East, Australia, countries in Africa and more. Thank you, by the way, for your continued readership! XO

So yesterday, I was bombarded (I’m sure you were too) with the leaked elevator video of Solange Knowles allegedly attacking her brother-in-law Shawn “Jay Z” Carter as her sister, Beyoncé, appears to do nothing during the argument while in elevator. I am intentionally NOT posting the video for a reason.

I was a little horrified by the video, to be honest. There was a lot of rage in that attack. As the week goes on, I’m sure there will be many journalists studying the players’ social media accounts, painstakingly piecing together the timeline and tweets/status updates that may offer some explanation for the behavior. The only “positive” piece of the incident was that Jay Z never retaliated. It was the bodyguard who pulled her back. That takes some serious restraint as a man.

Unfortunately, as the day went on, my horror expanded with my firsthand viewing of the bevy of tasteless and disgusting memes created on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram that parodied/ridiculed/made light of the incident. I also REFUSE to post any of them here to give those users any added notoriety.

So instead of joining the Peanut Gallery, I looked at the incident in an alternative perspective – a mental health counselor and holistic life coach a-la Iyanla Vanzant.


Now again, I am not a licensed counselor or life coach but I do have a heightened awareness and empathy that comes from my own experiences.

We as women can harbor a lot of bitterness of past hurts and disappointments. They hide behind our fake smiles, flawless makeup, expensive hairstyles and “I’m fine” responses. I know that because that’s what I have done. What’s worse is that the hurt manifests itself in places we aren’t even aware of only to explode into wrath. I know that because it happened to me.

Oprah's MasterClass

I didn’t hurt anyone or myself but I remember feeling such a wave of anger, frustration, pain, sadness that it couldn’t go anywhere but out of me in rage. I was angry that I couldn’t be understood by family. I was frustrated that I couldn’t effectively articulate the root of the hurt initially. I hurt because I reflected on my past toxic relationships and hated how I allowed myself to shrink inside my ex’s expectations for me. I was sad because I feared that no man would ever love me the way I desperately wanted to be loved.

Love In The City on OWN

So last night, I watched Tyler Perry’s film, For Colored Girls (2010) just to get some perspective about my own feelings and provide some insight into how to process the news I was reporting.


for colored girlsNtozake-Shange-1977-antozake with janet

Ntozake Shange, the original playwright of the Broadway show For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, sprinkled such lush and lyrical monologues that made the women’s narratives come to life in front of your eyes. Even if you’re not a poetry fan, the honest and vivid storytelling cannot be ignored or denied. I heard my story in the “Abortion Cycle #1″ and in countless others. I heard my college roommate’s story in “Latent Rapists”.

As the credits rolled, I realized how much of pain we carry around with us that no one ever knows. No one KNOWS to ask about the painful experience of your life. We just endure, push forward, get a career, get married, have kids, buy a house, save for those kids’ college and retirement. But what if we could tap into the hurt in a sisterhood circle, not to belabor the issues but to heal ourselves from them?

OWN Network is a cable TV channel that is trying to do that, if we REALLY try to let it. What shows could help us ALL (women AND men) heal from our hurts?

An Open Letter to My Boobs



Originally posted on Susie Lindau's Wild Ride:

Dear Bionic Boobs,

I know you’ve been adjusting to your new digs since the reconstruction surgery seven months ago. I’ve protected you from wild elbows, supported you with a bra, and exercised you by smooshing you girls together. (Doctor’s orders.) You seem happy enough and pretty perky.

I do have some concerns.

One night, I looked down and you had wandered off to the sides of my chest. You left four inches between you two. I almost had a heart attack. I thought I’d torn something while vacuuming.  As you know, I’ve started wearing a sport’s bra to bed to corral you at night, so I don’t wake up and freak out.  I wish you girls would stick together.

Although you’re shaped like hamburger buns and aren’t huge by any means, you weigh more than my old boobs. In fact, you’re a little on the hefty side. The doctor suggested some…

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JACQUE REID: Murder Case Against Mississippi Mom With Still Born Baby

Originally posted on Black America Web:

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We go inside her story with Deborah Small, Executive Director of “Break the Chains: Communities of Color and the War on Drugs” to discuss the controversial topic of the criminalization of fetal care.

“A woman who is depressed enough to try and commit suicide is not technically trying to kill her baby, she just happens to be pregnant,” Smalls says.

Jacque Reid tells us more.

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“Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves” (but no person is an island)

This week has been exceptionally difficult for me as all my former students in Florida secondary schools return to school to begin a new year.

As I fight the feeling of uselessness and frustration, I find my blogging community as a welcoming audience who gives me feedback on my writing and perspectives on issues that I might not have considered before. I am eternally graceful for the local, national, and international readership I have (and continue to gain).

But there is something powerful about meeting interesting people (especially career women) one-on-one at my mobile office that empowers and encourages me to keep going.

Today, I met one such of a person. Her name is Lilly Rivera, a hardworking (and gorgeous Latina) Financial Consultant from Doral, FL (a “high-end” business mecca in Miami). Through polite discussion and my genius IT expertise, I learned that she was also a working mom of toddler twins (both sons have varying levels of autism).

This setback only spurs her forward with hyper-productivity (working from 10AM To 4PM weekly) but she admits that it is not an easy balance to maintain.


For me, Lilly is the living embodiment of Sheryl Samberg’ s Lean In career woman, unafraid to succeed in the workplace but sets clear priorities of family. It’s not about “having it all” but it’s about making informative choices that reflect your core values – whether it’s your relationship/marriage, family, yourself, your faith/politics, etc.

Thank you, Ms Rivera, for being a wonderful testimonial!

For more information about Ms Lilly Rivera and her company, check out the following website:

Laurean D. Robinson, MA