As I am sitting here tonight, I am reflecting on one of my favorite movies I saw quite a few times, "Brown Sugar." I can remember this line at the beginning of the movie (When Did You Fall in Love with Hip Hop)? Sanaa Lathan and Taye Diggs were the main actors in this movie. Sidney Shaw, who was Sanaa Lathan character, wrote a love letter to hip hop. A few excerpts from the book reads:
"I remember the exact day I fell in love with Hip Hop. (...). Little did I know how much Hip Hop would be a part of my life. (...). Hip hop was as young, naive... confused... sometimes innocent, and sometimes as mischievious as I was. And as I grew up, Hip Hop grew with me... and along the way it took on all my baggage, my dreams... I felt Hip Hop and Hip Hop felt me. And I know that everyone who loves the music feels the same way I do.
For many people Hip Hop was that first friend... the first to talk to us, the first to understand. Hip Hop has always been that kind of friend to me. And like any relationship... I watched it grow, I watched it change.
I always thought, one day I would outgrow my relationship with hip-hop. I never thought it was a fad, like many. But I never thought it could grow and mature. I thought it would be an adolescent memory I'd look back on. But I realize we have more than that. Much more.
We have a history...a friendship. We listen to each other. We laugh together. We finish each other's lyrics. I don't have to pretend with hip-hop, and hip-hop doesn't have to pretend with me. My feelings have never been more clear, and I know they will never go away.
This reminds me of the similar connection I have with the mind and body connection. I think about my love for mental health from a personal and professional level a lot. I have realized that the mind and body connection drives one another. As I am sitting here with my eyes closed, I can see my journeys throughout life, some personal and some from a professional stand point and I realize the value of self-love, imperfection, psychotherapy, positive support systems, falling forward, resilience, compassion, loyalty, individuality, diversity, equity, inclusion, hope, spirituality, eliminating mental health stigmas, and the power of speaking to someone to address trials and tribulations in my life. This journey through life will require these things and I understand I must allow myself to fall in love with the mind and body connection for myself and to continue the advocacy for my clients.
I cannot emphasize this phrase enough to my clients and to myself;
"You have to take care of self first mentally and physically before you can be there for someone else because if you are not together, how will you be able to help others?"
Another value statement I love to share with my clients is:
"You are a unique individual and your mental disorder does not define who you are."
I believe building trust, cultural awareness, and a comfortable environment is important for the best client outcomes. That is why at Mental Health Soldier, LLC, we welcome our mental health soldiers into destigmatized non-judgmental combat zones. We support and grow with one another.
---Alenna Smith (Founder of Mental Health Soldier, LLC)
When Did You Fall In Love With Mental Health? We Would Like To Hear Your Story.