Bahamian Men & Mental Health (And Why Commissioner Paul Rolle May Be The Solution)
I’ve always been into comics and cartoons. There is an entire generation of us that was raised on Toonami. Dragon Ball Z, Batman: The Animated Series, Gundam Wing, Johnny Quest, and the list goes on. I was raised right unlike a few of my peers….
My dad was a big man. To me he was a superhero. I remember one night I asked him about 100 variations of the same question. I asked him if he could lift a car, a boat, a lion, a truck…..he said yes to all of them. Then, in his frustration with my questions, he stopped me mid 122nd question and said, “Whatever you need me to lift I can lift, Andrew”. Meanwhile his face said…..
I miss my dad. There’s a small part of me that, to this day, thinks he could have lifted all those things. Police Commissioner Paul Rolle would have loved my dad because he was a man’s man……and that is exactly the problem with Paul Rolle that we need to discuss.
If you don’t know why I’m targeting this man or why this article even exists, don’t feel bad. It’s been a crazy couple days. Trump got banned from twitter, Joe Biden became the 46th president of the United States and Bahamians are freaking out over Kamala Harris being the first female vice president in America’s history like we didn’t do that shit years ago.
So for those of you that missed it, the Commissioner of Police had this to say about male suicide victims…
What he said wasn’t shocking to me if I’m being honest.
I mean, read the room.
Peter Turnquest told a man asking for a timeline for hurricane Dorian relief, on camera mind you, “We didn’t send the hurricane ya know”. Hubert Minnis refused questions from the press for a good chunk of Covid because fuck us I guess. Halson Moultrie, the speaker for the house of assembly, said he was “conflicted on the issue of marital rape”.
We let these niggas talk to us like we’re abused wives in a Tyler Perry movie.
So why are y’all playing shocked?
Why are we acting like we’re about to do anything beyond beat Facebook bad with our thoughts and opinions like they give a shit? That man could have said, “Bible say suicide victims going to hell anyway so I don’t know why y’all checking for real”, and half of my timeline would have been like….
…and the next half would look like this….
Hey, outraged and recreationally outraged Bahamian……you are in the minority. Do not misunderstand me….EVERYONE should be outraged. But how outraged are we really when this keeps happening with no consequence? Perry Christie put up his middle finger to half the country and y’all made memes, beloved.
Know why no one cares?
Because it’s men.
I’m sorry feminists and social media feminists…..its true.
And let me be clear…..MEN don’t care about their own mental health. Know why? BECAUSE OF NIGGAS LIKE PAUL ROLLE.
So watch the cycle.
We raise our boys to be emotionless, never cry and to always have answers and solutions. Anything beyond that is weakness. We then go through enough childhood trauma for us to drown ourselves in proclivities that numb the pain but never heals it. Because we live in a predominantly Black and fake Christian society we are told that, instead of numbing said pain, we should pray the years of childhood trauma away because that’s the thing Jesus will wake up for….
Then, right when you think maybe you should get some therapy, a “manly man” in a position of power reiterates years of verbal conditioning telling you that your mental health is weakness and your thoughts of suicide make you “weak”. Then adds insult to injury by implying its due to ”…having issues with their females”.
Beloved, who talks like that?
I’m not saying we don’t have it easier than women. We do on several levels. But this is one of the things where we get treated the worst. A man’s mental health is a huge deal. Know why? Cause I didn’t know it was ok to cry until my early 30’s.
Women were out here crying and releasing energy early.
Ladies…..we are not ok.
NONE of us.
Ok, that’s not true. Harrison Thompson seems to be genuinely ok but he lightskin and, as a child of Al B Sure, I just imagine he been cryin from early.
Being a mental health professional, this is what Harrison had to say….
And he’s exactly right.
How many of our sons, uncles, fathers, nephews and friends do we have to lose because, instead of seeking therapy, y’all want niggas to “pray about it”?
Here’s the thing….and I know this may seem “Renward Wells is the new minister of health” level crazy but…..imagine if you did both? Y’all realize y’all can pray for people AND encourage them to seek therapy right?
Maybe that’s not demons, maybe they’re schizophrenic.
Maybe that isn’t a generational curse and there’s a genetic component to why they may feel suicidal.
Maybe they aren’t just a “drunkard” or a “crackhead” they are genuinely trying to numb unspoken trauma like molestation, rape or abuse.
Maybe you can’t pray the goddamn gay away and they were just pretending to be straight this whole time for you and your god and its crushing them.
Maybe, if we’re going the bible route, the bible says “Faith without works is dead” so MAYBE JESUS WANTS YOU TO ACT….and that action may be getting your mental health in order by someone trained in it and not someone that took a “How to scream and rhyme words about Jesus” webinar.
And make no mistake when I say that all of you that are rightly outraged, that we are in the minority. I mean except for Brave “Rape Whistle” Davis who had this to say….
The average Bahamian has no issue with his words. That apology was because of social media outrage not general outrage. If it was general he would have been fired. But 10% of the island made enough noise that he apologized……but like a Bahamian woman would.
And, make no mistake, he’s not sorry.
I guarantee you that.
But he can be useful. He can get information on the matter and educate others LIKE him. He can talk to people like psychiatrist Nelson Clarke, Harrison Thompson, K. Darron Turnquest…..and a plethora of other Bahamian mental health professionals. Because here’s the thing: The people that NEED to know that therapy and taking care of one’s mental health is ok to do aren’t coming to 10thyearseniors to read #FridaysWithAndrew. They aren’t on your facebook or mine. Know how I know? My social media was FLOODED with outrage….so my bubble knows and so does yours.
Paul Rolle needs to be brought IN to these bubbles to have this conversation and know that what he said isn’t just not ok….beloved, its dangerous. He used DANGEROUS language. Not to be that guy but each one has to teach one. We ALL have to be our brother’s keeper.
My dad died 2 years ago of cancer.
One sec….lemme weaponize Perry one more time right quick.
Ok, got that out.
After my dad died I was not ok. He and I had a relationship that was not perfect. I was messed up. I didn’t know what was wrong. I was talking to Renaldo and he told me HE was in therapy, something I never would have known.
Nal is an emotionless robot and I never would have imagined HE was in therapy. It was reassuring that if this nigga, an uncaring feckless asshole, could man up and seek help then who was I? I made a call and went and it was the best decision of my life.
I walked in there like this….
My therapist literally asked me, “So, hows it going?”….I legit went from “Dis Terapy?” to…..
In therapy I learned I didn’t need my dad to lift a giraffe, or a truck or a lion or a plane. I didn’t need him to be strong enough to lift anything. I needed him to be “weak” enough to talk to me about HIS feelings.
“Weak” enough that he, and his entire generation of men, Paul Rolle included, understood that it was ok to talk to someone.
To tell the men in their lives they loved and supported them. To check on their mental health and be honest about it. It was ok TO BE WEAK….but not use the term in a derogatory way but in a human way.
I don’t have the answers and I don’t have the info. But I gave you some names above that would HAPPILY point you in the right direction for help. But as it stands, we have to be our brother’s keeper. I didn’t know it was ok to be weak sometimes and, If it wasn’t for Renaldo being self-aware enough to know when he was having a moment of weakness and sharing that with me, I probably would have been right here applauding Paul Rolle for being, what I would have thought, was strong.