I recently had the pleasure of viewing (and suffering through) “For Colored Girls.” This is such a powerful movie that it took my breath away. After watching it, I needed some time to recover, mostly because I too am a “colored girl who considered suicide when my rainbow Was enuf.” That was the poetic way that Ntozake Shange put it in her book and choreo-play.
The movie is something that you just have to see.
Three weeks after premiering it – to great applause for Tyler Perry, who skillfully directed and produced this movie – I still can’t articulate all of the ways that it’s impacted me. However, beyond the movie – and in light of all of the celebrities like Fantasia, Kanye West, Perry and more recently revealing how they’ve felt violated by people, by life, and by circumstances to the point of considering, if not actually trying to commit, suicide – it’s forced me to revisit some of my own pain, trials and tribulations that took me to a low place.
Here’s what I know for sure: In a moment’s notice, life can change drastically. Issues like suicide, depression or thoughts of giving up in some way can affect everyone. Yes, I intimately know the plight, complications and yes, tremendous joy of being a black woman. I embrace it all.
My pastor used to say everyone gets depressed sometimes; you’re human, and that’s allowed. But the key is you can’t stay in that dark place too long. Have your pity party, and after a few days, you need to get up. You may not feel like you’ve got it all together, but you certainly cannot keep functioning as if you don’t.
Have you ever thought about something too long, giving it too much power, to the point that it took you over, even against your better judgment? It sounds like a cliché, but there’s a lot of truth to the saying, “You think too long, you’ll think wrong.” I can almost guarantee you that when Fantasia was sitting in that closet taking those pills, a million thoughts went through her mind, including all of the wonderful things that she has going for herself. But she let the negative thoughts win. At that time, she felt like a victim, she was having a pity party, and she just wanted to escape from the pain.
Many people who act out are really just crying out for help. You may see it as them trying to get attention, but on a deeper level, they are saying, “I’m hurting, and I need help.
In “For Colored Girls,” life dealt those sistas a hard hand – situations that many of us can relate to in some way. But life doesn’t have to just happen to us. We don’t have to just lay down and take it.
We have the power to fight for our own lives. Shape it into what we want it to be. Acknowledge the pain, yes. Get help to deal with it, yes. And then yes, actually deal with it!
Without giving away the movie – because I want you to see it for yourself – the best part for me was how each of the women, in their own unique way, crawled out from under the dark trap that was set for them and decided that they deserved to live, despite their circumstances.
I, too, have crawled out from under a dark rock that seemed insurmountable. And when I did, my motto became, “My circumstances do not determine my destiny, but my choices do.” I know fully that in life, the proverbial rocks will continue to be thrown at you and me, with the goal of taking us out. I offer this motto to you if you need it.
As powerful as “For Colored Girls” is as a drama, we must remember that we deserve more than drama in our lives. We must declare and believe that we deserve happiness and joy as well. You have the power to create that joyful space for yourself. It’s a daily decision. Colored girl, walk into your happiness!
Deya “Direct” Smith, is a producer on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and host of Girlfriend FM and Beyond the Studio celebrity interviews on BlackAmericaWeb.com. She is also a motivational speaker, actress and social commentator. She can be reached at DeyaDirect@aol.com.