Not one to shy away from attention or the camera to be specific, a few weeks ago, R&B artist/actor, Tyrese Gibson, was trending virally on social media and in popular culture due to an emotional meltdown that he decided to film and air on social media.
To recap, the past few years of his life have been rather tumultuous, to say the least.
To my knowledge, he’s developed estranged relationships with his fellow members and surrogate brothers of R&B trio, TGT (Tank, Ginuwine, Tyrese), he’s verbally lambasted black women, his loyal fan base, for reasons that I don’t understand, and recently he’s been faced with a child custody battle with the mother of his 10-year-old daughter that is so emotionally, mentally, and financially contentious that he’s unraveled to an extent that he says has left him unemployable. On his Instagram page, he said: “I’m almost broke swimming in legal fees CAA tried but couldn’t book me anything cause my ex-wife killed my reputation so no one wants to hire me.”
As such, in a last-ditch attempt for mercy, he took to social media to sob and plead to, who I presume to be his ex-wife, “Please don’t take my baby”. At first take, I thought it was some sort of selfish exercise in shock value to stay relevant, but after watching it a second time, I realized I was wrong.
As someone who has had to negotiate his own share of seemingly insurmountable mental and emotional obstacles—major depression and anxiety— I empathize. It takes a lot for men to cry or more accurately, weep unashamedly. I can count on both of my hands the number of times I have seen grown-ass men, including myself, crying and the majority of those times were at funerals.
Admittedly so, rapper Scarface, in “I Seen A Man Die” says “I never seen a man cry til I seen a man die” and rapper Jay-Z in “Song Cry” says “I can’t see ‘em comin down my eyes/So I gotta make the song cry”.
Society just doesn’t create the space for men to freely express themselves emotionally outside of being violent, aggressive, and hypersexual. So when I saw Tyrese crying openly, I knew he was experiencing what some would call his breaking point. Oddly, but not surprisingly enough, some commenters on social media showed no remorse at all when they stated:
“Tyrese Gibson is not my responsibility”.
“Tyrese wouldn’t want the average black woman praying over him. Save your prayers for deserving brothers.”
“They should have left his ass on the bus in that Coca-Cola commercial”.
And while I can understand the egoic tendency to disparage him and abandon him during his time of need due to his messy, disrespectful and manic behavior, shouldn’t we create the space for a person to make mistakes knowing that they aren’t perfect and neither are we? Are we capable of loving the good aspects of a person while helping them repair or eliminate their undesirable traits or should we throw them away all together? Am I or you any better or worse than Tyrese?
Now, before you think that I’m turning him into some sort of martyr, hear me out: Tyrese is not a victim. Neither is his wife. If anyone is a victim, it’s their daughter; as she is a minor.
Valuable lessons can be learned from this situation:
1. In order to mature, we must take 100 percent responsibility for our actions. No one forces us to do anything. We all are presented with choices to make and those choices have consequences—good and bad.
2. We should be mindful of what we decide to share online especially if we hold positions of mass influence. Everything isn’t for general consumption. It’s healthy to be vulnerable; however, we must know that the information we share in public spaces will expose us to criticism, ridicule, and more and we have to be prepared to handle that.
3. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Don’t disrespect your base of support e.g. your fans. You might not ever recover from it.
4. Men cry and it’s okay. Many women in society ask for emotionally available men, but are unwilling to accept those men when they do cry. In the same vein, men, toxic masculinity is a problem. Oftentimes, we ridicule men that are unafraid to openly emote because it makes us uncomfortable. That’s selfish and it speaks far more to our insecurity more than anything else. Far too many men suffer in silence because they are more concerned with how they will be perceived rather than actually being free from what afflicts them.
5. Disconnect from negativity. We are not wired to be constantly inundated with the external stimuli of this world. Consider a digital detox in order to give your mind, body, and soul rest. Give yourself the opportunity to listen to your internal voice. You just might be surprised at what you discover.
6. It’s okay to ask for help. If you or someone you know is experiencing an extended period of emotional or mental trauma, seek professional help.
To close this out, I want to stress this: Most, if not all, of us are good at esteeming others when they’re on top, but we’re often critical and cruel when they’re at their worst and simply in need of a supporting hand. And that needs to change.
Originally published on rebelwithapen.com
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