My Thoughts: Living in NE and Missing Black People

I’ve lived in NH the longest I ever lived anywhere. I am miserable and have never been so unhappy in my entire life. I thought Massachusetts was terrible and it was. I miss being around black people.  Interestingly, I didn’t always feel this way.

Within the last year, the source of my unhappiness revealed itself when I started to date again.  Dating made me realize I don’t want to be with a white man yet those are the only men asking me out. I want to be around people of color where my culture is embraced instead of ignored. I went to see Blackkklansman (my suggestion) on a date with a white guy, and his only comment after the movie, it was intense.

Social media reconnected me to my past. It helped me reconnect with friends from high school, college, medical school, and residency. This year I discovered my unhappiness stemmed from not being around my own culture.  I miss having black friends in my life. I am not sure how I ended up surrounded by so few black friends.

I use to have real fun, and I use to feel love. While I  made the decision to live here, it was the wrong one because it robbed me of happiness. I caution black people who may be considering a move to the area, NE is different. Think carefully especially if you have young children attending school.

When I speak to my friends of color I have to relearn being black:

  • I have to learn to trust again.
  • I have to relearn letting go.
  • I have to relearn forgiveness.
  • I have to relearn faith.
  • Most of all, I have to relearn being real.

The present culture is suffocating me. It’s not my values or beliefs that I feel pressured to embrace to maintain the peace. I can’t be me when the air is so thin and void of oxygen.  The real me is rather simple, maybe not. The grass always seems greener on the other side.  The truth lies somewhere in between.  Perhaps the problem is me.

It is me.  If I kept in contact with friends, I would have had tremendous support throughout residency.  Unfortunately, I was unknowingly processing traumas from my childhood triggered by an extremely stressful environment.  It was then that I should have reached out to old friends, but instead, I withdrew. I always do or push people away.

My family didn’t know how to care. Imagine a 9-year-old daddy’s girl lost her dad and no one seemed to notice or care. No loving arms told me I would be safe. I don’t recall anyone showing affection or concern for my feelings or my brothers. As children, we had no choice but to control our emotions. Children’s tears did not trigger affection but rather had the opposite effect. After my father died, I remember leaving my home then us moving in with different relatives or friends until we immigrated to the US.

I didn’t realize the significance of my father’s death in my life’s trajectory until I had therapy some 35 years later.  I underwent a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).  It revealed my father’s death was a pivotal turning point the brain hadn’t processed properly.

In one therapy session, I visualized a 9-year-old me sitting across from the adult me. I was to tell the 9-year-old me I would take care of her.  At first, I couldn’t utter those words.   It took a few sessions before I could. That moment was significant because the  9-year-old me finally got the comfort she never received.  And the adult me finally processed the memory associated with living in darkness that haunted me most of life.

It’s amazing how writing can give one insight. When I started the post, I didn’t know where it would end. Now I understand how I ended up here:  a job and wanting to get away from people.

#LessonsLearned:   

  1. Life is about connections to people and from that everything flows. In general, good connections lead to a good life; bad connections lead to a bad life.
  2. Don’t be afraid to share your joy and fear with friends. Through sharing our lives, we understand each other and develop trust.
  3. Spending time with friends is a way to relieve stress.  When you spend time with people who care about you, it’s food for the soul.  You also create memories that live on forever.

Has anyone else ever found themselves in a miserable situation and wondered how did they land there?

#Mythoughts is a cathartic section of FTL to unload and work through feelings.

Note: This post does not negate my appreciation for the support of friends and acquaintances in NE.

 

17 thoughts on “My Thoughts: Living in NE and Missing Black People

  1. Dear Angela,
    I get the essence of what you mean imagining I would be cut off from the African community here and be cut fom my friends in it, though a whole number is now scattered over the world (today I had the pleasure to telephone with an old friend in Somalia, who´s like a brother and whom I know for 48 years). It might be important to change the place and get nearer to your roots.
    Don´t give up & keep on struggleing!
    Weekend hugs

  2. Angela my heart goes out to you! Living in Nebraska I kind of know what you mean. When I visit the Bronx especially in the summer, I love walking on White Plains rd between Gun Hill rd and 233rd st. WOW all the stores and so many people of color especially the women of course beautiful. Sometimes you need that to recharge your battery. Instead of driving take the bus once in the city take the train & bus to get around. A couple of days there can clear your mind!

    1. Living in Nebraska I suspect you know what I mean.

      White Plains and Gun Hill roads bring back memories of beef patties and coconut gizzadas.

      Unfortunately in this area the batteries available come with too much stress. I see things so differently now. Spending a day in Boston is nice but I don’t see many beautiful black faces instead I see the same faces I avoid in NH.

      1. Part of the reason I have not left boston is because I like being around my people. go past downtown and southend/south boston there are plenty of us here. but not for long #GentrificationMovingFast

  3. I’ve truly blessed that my parents raised me and my sisters in an all Black community and went to all Black schools. That made me appreciate being Black even more. As much as Black people can get on my nerves, I LOVE to be around my own people. It takes awhile to process trauma as long it doesn’t overtake you.

    1. Hi there wealthymims5, while I was raised in a mixed black and brown community, I wasn’t allowed to socialize with the neighbors. My mother discouraged friendships. I didn’t realize then I also had recurrent nightmares from living there that stopped a few years after leaving the area.

      My life growing up was filled with traumatic experiences and no emotional support or love. I don’t think I ever heard the word love mentioned when I was growing up.

      I love the ease of laughter of my own kind. No matter how bad we found things to laugh about.

      1. I’m sorry you had the challenges in life and I have some as well that still affect me today. Being around my own Black people make me secure and have a spiritual connection with. I know moving can be taxing and stressful when you are ready to move, move where Black are so you can feel connected and have a sense of self.

        1. Hi Wealthymims55,
          Yeah, that’s the plan. I’ve never felt the need to belong to anything, but I do long for roots now. Though I hope the trauma of living here hasn’t made it too late for me to engage with others in person.

          We go through life keeping our feeling close and tightly locked up. Then one day some escape and it’s like opening Pandora’s box with all the evil invading your thoughts and no hope.

      2. This is crazy there are mad black people in MA (490k) CT (330k) and RI (60k). You’re choosing to live in white towns and areas.

        Brockton is 45% black as is Randolph.

        Everett Boston Malden etc all are 20%+ Black. Hartford Bridgeport New Haven all 30%+ Black etc. you just not plugged in and you isolate yourself. There are 80-90% black neighborhoods in Providence, Pawtucket Boston and more . Get it together.

        1. Hi Jay, I’m trying to get it together. MA does have blacks but I don’t like MA not do I like CT. I moved to NH for a job. We built a house in NH because I wanted my own paradise free from people. That paradise is now my hell.

          1. Hi Angela, this is no criticism of you, just a comment on how we aspire as we become richer. And that is, we tend to isolate ourselves and thus eventually develop concerns about our care, safety, security and even sanity (“cabin fever”).

            Humans are gregarious beings. We need community and unity with our peers. Angela’s are other Black people who, importantly, think like her.

  4. Hi Angela, although I well know the above story, it still leaves me very sad.

    The therapy was exactly right, “I was to tell the 9-year-old me I would take care of her.”; this week try saying the same thing to the 58-year-old you. You are now needing such reassuring words. Online, look up advice on self-care and self-love.

    Also, let this autumn (fall) be a very pragmatic one, where you (with the practical help of the friends & family you do have), make every effort to get your home repaired long before Christmas Day. And in your mind, be determined this will be the last such you spend in NH. Make 2019 the year you put the house on sale, arrange where you will move to (I really suggest Jamaica), then if there is a mismatch with dates move into somewhere temporary until you can travel over to there.

    You are clearly an extravert, something most Americans apparently also are. Being so has added to your loneliness, as it is very important for you to express yourself with others and not within. Therefore, when you get to your new permanent home, ensure you make friends with your neighbours and of course remain so with we you leave behind in the States and Europe.

    OK? Make leaving there your job so to speak….

    1. My goal is to put the house on the market come Spring pending some unforseen issue. Yes I’m not sure about being an extravert but I do know I don’t like it here and for my sanity I have to go.

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