The author and her mother, Analise Brown, circa 2000

My mom died on July 18, 2021.

I’ve been in a weird in-between state, half awake and half-sleep.

I wanted to post on social media a funny experience I had with my sons but I could not bring myself to share it.

I cannot share the few glimpses of light that brighten my days because the world has returned to normal and I don’t want to invite the idea that I have also returned to normal when I’m far from it. I am terrified for people to get comfortable with me laughing and joking again because I’m not sure when…

**Trigger Warning: The following contains mentions of physical and sexual abuse, suicide, and mental illness. Be advised***

Me, the author, at 8 years old.

Every time I swallow his name without revealing his identity when I speak on my past, the poison becomes a little more potent and I kill myself to protect a person who violated me with impunity. What he did and the subsequent denial of it and suppression of my voice, has caused me NOTHING but heartbreak. I was not resilient. I was a roach that had been told they would survive and did just that. Survive. I had no choice but to survive…

Credit: Cartoon Network

*****Disclaimer: I am not a mental health professional or expert.*****

I was an adult when I received formal diagnoses, but the truth was I had suffered from anxiety all my life and depression and PTSD since I was 8 years old. After a particularly rough pregnancy with my third son and an accident that almost killed my mom, I noticed changes in my older two sons that I recognized from my own childhood that led me to seek professional help for them.

I realized, that for me, therapy had always been the raft that I sent for when I was…

Photo by David Geib from Pexels

What a privileged thing to say “I have no regrets”. Having no regrets is the implication that you always had a choice. Having no regrets is the assumption that you are fully cognizant of the ramifications of those decisions as you make them. I remember being in my 20s reflecting on my life up until that point and feeling content with my decisions. Now in my 30s, I’m really disappointed in the lack of self-esteem and self-worth that some of my decisions reveal. There were so many times when I compromised my own peace and even my identity in order…

Photo of the author about a year after the attempt

***Trigger Warning this article includes subjects of suicide, domestic violence, and sexual assault. Please be advised. If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800–273–8255***

It was a warmer day than Buffalo, NY was used to in October. I woke up that morning, called a really good friend of mine to find out could I come by and see her and her newborn, and I drove to my job at the mall to pick up my check. My finances had been a shit show for months as I took care of…

“Don’t let them people make you come out of character.”

Photo by Mike Von on Unsplash

‘Out of character’ is a phrase used notoriously by black women to try to explain displays of public anger or hostility. Recently, during a girls' night out, my friends and I were discussing boundaries. After discussing an event that happened in which I had to establish a boundary with a person, my friend explained how she felt that I had ‘come out of character’ during the situation and didn’t feel that that was healthy and that it wasn’t the way to establish healthy boundaries. Currently, I am in the middle…

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

*****BE ADVISED: Graphic depiction of bodily fluids and miscarriage*****

One sunny day in August of 2009, I woke up in my on-campus apartment having the most intense cramps I had ever had. To be clear, I’ve had the kind of cramps that have required Demerol, so when I say these were bad, they were bad. I was in so much pain, I was bowed over, unable to stand. Clutching my stomach, I stumbled to the shared bathroom in the apartment and sat down on the toilet. I was praying that I would find some relief. I felt the pressure to…

me in all my blackity blackness (author)

I’m proud to be a black woman. I love who I am and I understand the rich history of how I came to be.

I’m ashamed to be a black woman. I understand the stereotypes and the implicit biases that follow me and my name wherever I go.

I’m not ashamed to be myself and I’m proud to be black but when you couple my blackness with my womanhood, I cringe. I know that once the two are discussed in conjunction with each other, I have suddenly become a little less human and a lot more invisible. A caricature, I…

Photo by JoEllen Moths from Pexels

I was recently in a debate on Facebook with another mother about the suicide of a young athlete, Bryce Gowdy. I commented about his mother’s tone as she said “he was talking crazy” and “he asked to hold my hand but I told him to toughen up.” The woman, who took offense to my comment that Bryce Gowdy’s mother should have gotten him some help instead of pushing him away, was adamant that the young man’s mother had done “the best she could”. This defense made me start thinking about all the times in my life I had heard parents’…

Anessah Barker

Both a keeper and a weeper. A writer, a wife, a mother, and a life long scholar. BA English Literature(2013), M.LIS(2018), current MSW student. She/Her/Hers

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