Saddened by news of another suicide, this time of Titi Branch. I remember venturing to Miss Jessie’s when it was Curve, taking a cab into Bed-Stuy to their brownstone salon back when Do or Die was still a foreign & slightly intimidating place to enter. It wasn’t a cheap visit, but it was a unique one; so unlike the many wash & sets in the hood, the vibe was chill. They asked if I wanted tea. Nothing was rushed. I was treasured as a client. I watched the sisters’ empire grow with respect, awe and enthusiasm, even while whispers of oversaturation and negative curly talk swirled in the air. I couldn’t afford their services often; I last visited their SoHo location years ago for a twist-out (that lasted three weeks!) and although the digs were jazzier and shinier, the service was the same. Did I want some fresh fruit? Was it OK if I took a minute to stretch the tight muscles in my lower back? I was given those beloved samples on my way out, and made a promise to try to return when the sisters were there, to remind them of my first try at Curly Pudding, to let them know how many folks waited for their annual BOGO to stock up on those yummy, creamy products. My soul is heavy today, for the family, for their customers, for myself. Why are we losing ourselves? The struggle is so real. I wish I had answers. For now, only prayers for some mild balm for a tragic loss.
If you are at risk to hurt yourself or anyone else, I implore you to seek out help. Anyone supportive will work. Don’t overthink it, just make the call, or write the email, or send the text. Be specific. “I don’t feel safe” is a good phrase, if you don’t want to blurt out what you’re really thinking: “I want to end it,” “I’m done and I have a plan,” “I’m calling to say goodbye.” Let someone know you need help. Hospitals are bound to assist you if you present yourself and say you feel you’re a danger to yourself. There’s also lifenet and lots of places to call, where empathetic strangers will talk you through what may just be a rough moment you don’t want a disapproving or non-understanding spouse or friend to know about. What’s key is that you don’t keep this to yourself. The mask is easy to wear, and can fool many: Your face may be on billboards, you may bring thousands to see you in concert, or you may just have a 9 to 5 that you never call out sick on. Please educate yourselves, know the signs of sadness crossing over into something darker, know that there IS another option.
I’m posting this on the fly; forgive me for typos. I’m sad for Ms. Branch’s family, for Karyn Washington’s family, for all the families and friends, those left behind with their questions, their love and their grief. Times are turbulent, and I simply wish us all peace.