Putting Holes In Happiness (My Debut AAH Article!)
Check out my first (hopefully of many) article for African Americans for Humanism's blog page, entitled "Puttng Holes in Happiness," which talks about why many of us feel compelled to plaster a smile on our face even when we're feeling anything but cheery . Here's a sneak peak:
"Why should I be expected to feel like kissing the sky every second of every minute of every hour of every day? Why should any of us? Like anything else, this put-on-a-happy-face mentality is ingrained in us because of the culture we grew up in. In America, we are raised to believe the picture of happiness is someone practically skipping down the street, grinning from ear to ear and greeting everyone they meet with a bear hug, and that walking into a room with a wave and solemn nod indicates that something is wrong. There is little or no middle ground.
In my view, religion exacerbates this way of thinking ... How many of us have sat in church services and heard a minister rail against "spirits" of depression, worry, fear, and so on? Believing that allowing yourself to experience said emotions is sinful adds guilt on top of whatever else you are feeling at the moment, and cannot be good for one's mental health, in either the long term or short term. Those who do suffer from genuine mental disabilities suffer even more from this line of thinking, as they are often encouraged to pray or trust in God rather than get the proper medication or psychological treatment, the latter still carrying the stigma of "something white folks do."