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The Black Memorandum

Guest Contributor: Protegee of Purpose

Distinguished Poet and Influential Spoken Word Artist.



What does Black Mental Wellness mean to you?

Black mental wellness, to me, is the liberation of the mind from the chains of systemic oppression and the empowerment of individuals to embrace their authentic selves. It involves dismantling ingrained narratives that perpetuate negative stereotypes and embracing a holistic approach to mental, emotional, economic, and spiritual health. Through my work, I aim to contribute to this wellness by fostering community, relational, and self-love, cultural pride, education of self, and triumph in the face of adversity.

 

How do you promote change and well-being in the Black community?

I promote change and well-being in the black community by using my art as a tool for empowerment and awakening. Through my poetry and spoken word, encapsulated in my book, 'The Black Memorandum,' I challenge societal norms and inspire individuals to reclaim their narratives. I strive to create spaces for dialogue, healing, and self-discovery.

 

What are some ways that you promote mental health and wellness through your area of expertise?

I promote change and well-being in the black community by using my art as a tool for empowerment and awakening. Through my poetry and spoken word, encapsulated in my book, 'The Black Memorandum,' I challenge societal norms and inspire individuals to reclaim their narratives. I strive to create spaces for dialogue, healing, and self-discovery.

 

What are some things that we should know about your area of expertise?

Being an author, poet, and spoken word artist who addresses social, systemic, and spiritual phenomena as it relates to the oppression of the black community involves a continuous learning process and studying the content of your messages and its delivery. Creativity, emotional intelligence, and resilience are key traits to have and develop to be extraordinary in your craft and passion.

 

How can we encourage more people to seek mental health treatment?

Promoting mental health treatment is a journey towards collective well-being, which begins with creating spaces that resonate with individuals' experiences. It involves acknowledging the impact of systemic oppression on mental wellness and providing avenues for empowerment. To encourage more people to seek mental health treatment, we must first destigmatize the conversation surrounding mental health. This involves recognizing that seeking help is a courageous step towards self-care, growth, and a significant step toward mental freedom.


Another way to destigmatize negative connotations around mental health is to incorporate art—music, visual arts, storytelling, poetry, spoken word—as a tool for empowerment and awakening. Additionally, it serves to educate and edify our community, encouraging individuals to self-educate and research topics of interest, including ancient and current history, economics, and spirituality. This empowers them to courageously challenge societal norms and inspire others to reclaim their narratives. By sharing personal stories and creating spaces for open conversations, we can break down barriers preventing many from seeking the support they need. It's crucial to make mental health resources accessible and culturally sensitive.


Providing education on therapy benefits, showcasing success stories, and emphasizing the strength in seeking help can reshape the narrative around mental health. I encourage fostering an inclusive and compassionate environment where individuals feel supported on their journey toward mental wellness.


Do you have an experience with seeking mental health treatment that you would like to share with the Black Mental Wellness audience?

As a melanated woman with a different ability—some call it a disability known as Spina Bifida—born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and with part of my childhood spent in Maryland, my mental wellness development started from humble beginnings and not without trials and tests. The years in Maryland were some of my happiest childhood years. I lived in a diverse neighborhood and received a quality education. Despite facing hardships, it never felt overwhelming because of my phenomenal mother who effortlessly provided the best for my sister and me after she and my father separated. Life led us back to Philadelphia, where, although still blessed, we found ourselves in the conditions, inequities, and disparities of an underserved community—a contrast to the perceived quality we experienced in Maryland. Nonetheless, we adjusted well and were resilient in making a decent living.


Factoring in generational trauma, inferiority complexes passed down from my family's lineage, and the emotional and mental ebbs and flows of my medical condition, along with my conscience and subconscious mind being molded by unhealthy indoctrinations, dogmas, and false self-prophecies, contributed to deficiencies in my mental wellness. From childhood through young adulthood, I endured low self-esteem, negative self-talk, and depression. Throughout it all, I was fortunate to have a support system in my life—loved ones, friends, and people from my school life to my professional life—who served as blessings to the repair and restoration of my growth and wellness. I had individuals in my life who, consciously or unconsciously, provided every day and spiritual encouragement that brightened my self-image and esteem.


In 2016, as a 30-something-year-old adult, I took the initiative to invest in my self-healing through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, adding to my arsenal of resources and tools to identify and challenge negative thought and behavioral patterns that no longer served me. Furthermore, I was exposed to and gained a passion for studying Black/African history, culture, and spirituality outside of typical academic and conventional indoctrination. The phrases "perception of quality" and "considered a well-rounded environment" refer to the knowledge that while there may be obvious disparities in the quality of resources in a Black community or school compared to a non-Black one, the education and knowledge provided in both can be questioned for integrity and agenda. This led me to reflect on my own life experiences as a Black child and woman. As a result, a great passion ignited within me, empowering me to grow in self-love and the knowing of my innate power, gaining a whole new and restored image of who I truly am—not the me imposed through deceitful, harmful information from various mainstream mediums! Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Knowledge of True Self have been the most impactful conduits to the new, beautiful, confident, and restored me.


This power has ignited the passion and understanding that I could be a beacon of light, a conduit of change for myself, family, and community who have suffered great inequities, disparities, oppressions, and mental enslavement. As you can see, "I AM" truly an advocate for mental wellness, for all, especially our community, who are extensions of me!

 

How do you make time for your own wellness and self-care?

I am still learning to master that through work-life balance! What I found that has helped is incorporating time for my wellness and self-care in my schedule daily and weekly

 

What are your top 5 favorite wellness and self-care strategies?

  1. Establishing a weekly to do list broken into increments rationed out in each day of the week. This helps me to more easily digest tasks toward effective and efficient execution.

  2. Meditate

  3. Physical and Intentional internal and external exercise (internal- martial arts external -strength training)

  4. Working towards making time to invest in having fun

  5. Working towards a better diet and sleep schedule

 

What resources do you find most helpful to encourage mental health and wellness?

  • Meditation music on YouTube

  • Meditation apps like "Calm"

  • Support Groups etc.



Guest Contributor

Protegee of Purpose is a distinguished poet and influential spoken word artist. She takes pride in being the author of her debut poetry book, "The Black Memorandum." This collection seamlessly weaves together poems and spoken word pieces, complemented by insightful memos—referred to as “gems” and shared personal stories that bring her words to life. Her writing delves into various themes, particularly focusing on Black Empowerment, Black Love, and Black Healing. The body of work serves as a testament to her passion for dismantling indoctrination and challenging mainstream education, social norms, and systemic methodologies that have proven detrimental to the growth of our melanated nation. Protegee of Purpose continues to evolve in knowledge and perception, embracing a mission to edify, encourage, inspire, and empower fellow melanated individuals. Through her writing and voice, she seeks to awaken and remind others of their spiritual and cultural historical roots. Her humanitarian efforts are dedicated to being a catalyst for positive impact and the restoration of minds and spirits within a community that has faced physical, spiritual, and systemic oppression. Protegee of Purpose stands as a living example of growth, perseverance, and strength. She serves as a genuine power source, inspiring many and leaving an indelible mark on all who cross paths with her on this transformative journey.






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