Years ago, I was talking to a friend of mine about how I had to constantly fight the darkness from taking me. Sometimes I feel the way that the Hulk says he feels all the time. Apparently, he’s always angry and has to control that rage. In my case, it’s a perpetual anger and sadness that is omnipresent. When I was younger I was seeing a counselor for depression, and though I’m not entirely sure I was ever clinically depressed, according to them, I was.
This friend I was speaking with said that I carry this darkness in my genes. She said that these are a combination of the memories of the suffering of my ancestors as well as my own trauma. Apparently, there is some science called epigenetics that says we can pass on the memories of pain and trauma in our genes. According to her, and some material that I read, it is natural and expected to feel this way as a brown person.
Yes, I know, I look white to many people, but my life experience, my culture, and my genes are what they are. In my cells I carry the white man as well as the brown man. I look the way I do, but if you saw my grandparents, you’d wonder from where down the line I got this appearance?
Anyway, after all that treatment, I feel that whatever I had never truly died. It’s still there, but I just learned how to ignore and control it. It’s like a parasite still attached to my body at the cellular level, watching, biding its time and always waiting for me to let my guard down. Depression and I have a symbiotic relationship where my mind and body play host to the parasite. So when I have a moment of weakness, swoosh, like a hawk it swoops in to tries to take control of the entire operation.
I have my moments where my mind goes into dark places, but for the most part I have control of this. I find that keeping my mind and body active helps. If you are idle, the thoughts can come forth and take over your mind. By keeping busy, or at a minimum entertained, the demons are kept at bay. I have no shortage of stuff to be “depressed” about, but as I said, I have become so good at avoiding it, that it doesn’t even feel like I’m making an active effort to do so. Yet, those moments where I slip up are powerful reminders that though I am in control of it, I’m never truly free from its grip.
Growing Up Bronx
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