'Quiet Storm': A 2-Week Series About Mental Health on VSB

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Like many folks who haven’t seen the hit stage play Hamilton in person, I relished the opportunity to watch it on Disney+ when it released on July 3, 2020. Even if you don’t care for musicals—or the subject matter of this particular musical—it’s impressive in its expanse and each of the stars of the show provide scene-stealing performances, sometimes in the same scene. The music of the show is so good that I often listen to it apart from watching the show. There is one song in particular— “Hurricane” — that holds particular resonance because of a key line in the song, “in the eye of the hurricane there is quiet, for just a moment…”

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That line sits with me often. While in the play it’s used to speak to the drama and consequence that Alexander Hamilton has found himself in and how he finds a certain clarity of action amidst it all, for me, it speaks largely to how so many people dealing with mental health struggles, might look at peace or undisturbed while there is a whole storm brewing just underneath the exterior. Even the most “together” might be dealing with mental hurdles or internal clashes that make getting from day to day difficult. The quiet storms rage on for so many of us, myself included, that we can become functioning broken people who learn to cope and manage, enjoying the victories where possible while a war seems to loom large.

For everybody, every day isn’t just a struggle to live. But it is for some. For some that quiet storm rages daily, weekly and yearly. For some it manifests in realizations that help to understand how best to overcome, turning circumstance and history into fuel, resulting in works of art for others to marvel at and appreciate. For others, it’s a jail with no hope for parole. For some, it’s both. The most telling part is that no matter where on the spectrum we’re discussing, it could literally be anybody. Life has a way of imposing its will; even the person who seems the happiest could be wrestling their own titan. As they say, check on your strong friend.

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Over the next two weeks, we will publish works by writers, essayists and authors about issues relating to mental health, the eternal quiet storm. In the eye of the hurricane is quiet, and the writers of the pieces will cull some of those moments and provide insights, perspectives and thoughts from their perspectives and experiences, the figurative meteorologists for the quiet storms.

Grab your umbrella.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.

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DISCUSSION

It’s interesting that “Hurricane” is what made you think of mental health. For me it was “Take a Break.” The interplay between the Schuyler sisters begging Hamilton to engage in a little self care while he flatly keeps repeating “I’ve got to get my plan through Congress” really spoke to me as someone who has spent my adult life living with depression and anxiety. It’s feels like the tug of war between the disease and the part of the soul that remembers what it’s like to be healthy.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the series.