James T. Green is a conceptual artist, radio producer, writer, and educator from Chicago, Illinois, and now in Brooklyn, New York.

thoughts + feelings

19: Be Strong

Growing up, I’ve always been told to be strong. Phrases such as “never let them see you sweat” ran through the majority of my childhood lessons. As I’ve found out, it’s incredibly hard to do that on a daily basis.

Keeping up the appearance of strength while holding in your own feelings is difficult. It’s a dance between the pain you have to keep to yourself from others, the convincing to yourself that everything is okay, and the doubt that fills up your head while being too scared to let it out into the world. Silence seems to be the moment when vulnerability creeps up; without the distractions of TV and the internet, your mind is the only voice that begins to fill the spaces. There is no holding back when that voice of vulnerability grows louder— insecurities look back at you like nakedness in a mirror. Appearing to be strong is difficult and sucks.

I’ve been thinking about this often lately for two reasons. A) I’ve had to be “strong” over the last few weeks and believing that holding in my true emotions would be the answer to the issues facing me and B) Coming across this article that hits very close to home about the saddening suicide of "For Brown Girls" founder Karyn Washington. Talking to someone about my inner struggles brought peace to the madness and didn’t make me feel like I was alone; I’m sure there are plenty of us that have our inner fights and put on a face to appear all alright in the world.

I have a challenge for you all this week, and it’s something I’m going to try as well. If there are struggles going on in your head, talk to someone about it. Don’t try to muffle it behind online posts and passive aggressive tweets—try to shut down the external noise and give a moment for your inner dialogue to breathe. Also, step outside of yourself and think about all the people in your life you deem as “strong” and check in on them too. See how they are doing either by setting up a date for tea, or chat with them on the phone or Skype. At least in my case, I’ve tried to pack my schedule and overcommit just so I wouldn’t have to face the real issues that were looming in my subconscious. 

It’s okay to be strong, but there’s strength in asking for help.

Thanks for reading and see you next week.

-James


What did I find interesting this week?

1) Whose Picture Is It, Anyway?: From the perspective of a 9 year old boy that refuses to have his photo posted on his father’s Facebook wall, this piece discusses social media awareness in the youngest generation.

2) How Y’all, Youse, and You Guys Talk: A clever personal dialect quiz from the Harvard Dialect Survey to see how the way you talk compares with the rest of the world. I got a mix of Chicago, Orlando, and New York.

3) Marketing Around Situations: Writing is important in designing. Even more is marketing your product (or service) to each individual situation rather than large blanketing terms. This is why.

James T. Green