Black Girls Don’t Have Eating Disorders.

I’ve just finished working out with my trainer, in front of my house, something I do twice a week. For almost two years twice a week we meet here, underneath my carport where we do a mixture of kickboxing and cardio. I realize that this is some privileged shit. That I’m even more privileged and once more during the week on Sundays I meet him at a gym for bootcamp. Oftentimes I’m the only person at bootcamp so I get another private personal training session. But I don’t feel privileged.

I feel scared. Nervous. Stressed. I’m stressed about my body. A stress that I’ve been dealing with for more than twenty years. An obsession that if I’m not careful could kill me. I have an eating disorder. One diagnosed by my psychiatrist after my divorce when I casually mentioned that I was at least eating more often. To which she wanted to know:

Do you not eat often?

How long have you been doing that?

Do you binge?


How often do you weigh yourself?

How many diets have you been on in the last year?

What do you eat in a typical day?

How often do you exercise?

Twice a day? For how long? And ordered: Let’s keep a food journal.

Of course, I didn’t. I didn’t need a food journal. I didn’t have an eating problem. I had an “I just lost my spouse problem.” So I quit going to her. She obviously didn’t know how to do her job. Besides, Black girls don’t have eating disorders.

On the one hand I’m a nurse and I know that anyone of any gender, race, and socioeconomic class can suffer from an eating disorder but on the other hand, I’m black. We don’t DO eating disorders. That’s some white people shit. Some middle class shit. Which, as I think about who taught me how to eat every other day, how to eat whatever I wanted and throw it back up later, how to stick a toothbrush down my throat until I learned to vomit on demand, how to over exercise and under eat- a group of black girls on a cheerleading squad, black girls definitely do DO eating disorders.

But It’s under control. I have not weighed myself in over a year. I eat daily. I haven’t purged in years. I’m cured Or so I tell myself. But I’m obsessed. I spend hours a week in front of the mirror looking at my body. Assessing the weight distribution. Is that muscle? Is my belly fat? Are my boobs getting smaller or bigger. I obsess about food. Eat secret meals that I buy with cash so my wife is unaware of what all I’ve eaten then throw the bags in the front trash can where she never looks or at gas stations on the way home. Then I obsess about what I’ve eaten for days. For months. And I know that this too, this obsession with my body composition, with every calorie that I’ve put into it, is in fact an eating disorder. I wonder, how long it’ll take until I convince myself to abstain from food or even worst to purge.

I feel lonely in this journey. I’m not super skinny so I don’t fit in with those girls and the thick girls, well I’m not quite thick enough. So I don’t pipe up when they discuss how difficult it is to find good bras, or how happy they are about their weight loss, about their inch loss. On more than one occasion, on more than one thread I’ve received the message. The shut yo skinny thick ass up you can’t sit with us message. So I suffer in silence. Drive my wife crazy with questions, Do you see it? Do I look skinnier? Is all of my hard work obvious? I fret that I’ll drive her crazy. That eventually she will leave me, for someone with a higher self esteem. For someone who loves their body. For someone skinnier.

I’ve looked up the stats on eating disorders in black women and not surprisingly there are none. Exact statistics on the prevalence of eating disorders among women of color are unavailable. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, “Due to our historically biased view that eating disorders only affect white women, relatively little research has been conducted utilizing participants from racial and ethnic minority groups.” Even though sociologists recognize that black women suffer from eating disorders they don’t have enough data because for a very long time, even for scientists, black girls don’t have eating disorders. At least until now.



Around March 18 2016



Around October 15 2017

For the record my trainer is amazing and I can see the difference in pictures from before I started working out with him up until now but I can’t see the difference. (Only someone with an eating disorder will understand that last part.)

Same Stuff Different Day

I’m still nursing. People come in and sit around fidgeting while they wait for their issues to be diagnosed. Sometimes, when appropriate I make them laugh. I relate to them. I let them know that this isn’t anything that any of us really want to deal with.

In my head, as all nurses do, I diagnose them: rheumatoid arthritis, liver problems, diabetes. I don’t say anything even when they begin to share their ailments because we all take the vow not to diagnose people. No matter how much training we have we aren’t skilled enough to diagnose people.

It’s the same. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a mechanic. I don’t tell them that I think that their brakes are bad or that what they’re describing sounds like their power steering pump is going out.

I use my training to  let trained people do what they are trained to do and when they give me the go ahead I break the bad news. I sit next to people or I stand behind the counter, depending on what the customer needs. I try to break it to them easily, gently. No one wants to hear that their compressor, the heart of the ac system isn’t working. No one wants to hear that because they didn’t come in for their regularly scheduled check ups a simple thing has gotten out of control and they now need a new rotor, transmission, engine.

I’m still nursing. I left nursing but I am still nursing. Still taking care of people.

On Taking A Break

Lately I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed with the state of the world. I’ve always been really sensitive about what’s going on in my community and in the world. Like most little girls I planned to change the world by solving some major human problem when I grew up. Fast forward to now and I can honestly say that I am doing the work. On a daily basis I am making strides to help solve issues in my community.

The work of an activist of any kind can often be emotionally tolling. Many activists suffer from burn out, nervous breakdowns, and even suicide. So it’s very important to take time out to relax, treat yourself and get your mind focused. Which I’ve been trying to do since Girl Talk in The Park was completed. The event was a success but very challenging and heavy to pull off.

Except, my social media accounts don’t really allow for mental breaks. I’m constantly bombarded with the ills of the world, America in particular.

I don’t watch the news because it is inundated with the negative aspects of what humans do to each other. For many years this has been my stance and my salvation. Besides most of the news stations don’t really share the news. When’s the last time you heard a real report about global warming?

All of the stations seem to share the same things that humans seem to love, Donald Trump, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and Police Brutality. Throw in racism, children being arrested for being children, and any new technology that’s on the horizon and you’ve got yourself a piece guaranteed to bring in the ratings.

For me, That’s what my social media accounts have begun to look like, click bait. High interest topics designed to elicit a reaction. And honestly I’m cool with it. I strongly believe that people should share what they want to share on their accounts. However, It doesn’t work for me. I don’t always want to read about the horrors of the world. In fact I would much rather go back to the days when people filled their pages with pictures of their new babies and their latest vacations. Anything to get me away from the many many social media activists. People who sit behind their computers and thoughtlessly share pictures and videos of people being horrible to each other. Who share news articles about politicians being straight out racists without talking a quick jaunt over to snopes to verify that tmz- anything is a bootleg version of The Onion. All the while being noticeably missing from doing the actual footwork in their community. I.E. Tampa peeps what have you done about the widening of 275?

I’m not judging… just asking

So I’m taking a break. I won’t be back on my personal Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter Accounts until May 1st and prior to that I’m going to go on a massive unfollowing spree. More than likely if you share fight videos or old news about something the KKK did ten years ago claiming it happened last week,  we’ll still be friends but I just won’t have your shares clogging up my news feed.

I’m also going to take the time to work on my novel, take lots of naps, work on my house, spend REAL and PRESENT time with my family, go to the beach, and read sooooo many books. If you have my number I hope that you’ll reach out to me and connect with me in the real live world.

In the mean time I wish you peace, love, and loads of laughter.



Go to the Bathroom, NOW!

I’m sitting at my desk and I realize that my lower abdomen is hurting. Even though I know the exact reason why, I still mentally tick through my rolodex of reasons: Is my cycle getting ready to start, when’s the last time I had a bowel movement, am I ovulating?

NO, it’s the beginning of a UTI and NO I don’t need a UA C&S to figure out what the bacteria is or why I have one.

  1. I’m a nurse.
  2. We don’t go to the bathroom.
  3. We don’t drink enough fluids unless they’re chock full of caffeine.We also stand up and eat lunches that are at the wrong temperatures or even worse from a vending machine, we forget to arrange for pickup for our children, and more than likely the only reason why we have had a recent check up is because we need Xanax to work long hours at an often thankless job providing care for other people.


Photo from The Happy Hospitalist

Nurses don’t often take care of themselves but if you call us at four am we will triage your symptoms and recommend that you see your primary in the morning.

Sometimes I schedule bathroom breaks on my phone. When the alarm sounds I have to go to the bathroom, no matter what. Sometimes this works.

There’s this thought process that nurses have larger bladders than other people and while there does seem to be some truth to this, I’ve taken care of plenty of young nurses who have incontinence issues. The bladder is a balloon. You can only stretch and abuse it for so long before it stops functioning correctly.

We have to get to the point where we understand that we can’t take care of others if we don’t take care of ourselves. And with that being said please, go to the bathroom, NOW.

Depression is real, acknowledge it.

Somethings are hard to admit to yourself, like the fact that you’re depressed. That you’ve been riding the roller coaster of grief for months now and you’ve been holding that all inside. Letting it all out, trusting someone else with it is powerful. That’s strength. I of all people know this to my core.

So why is it that when I’m in the center of the worst bout of depression that I’ve experienced in years do I zip my lips tighter than ever? I didn’t tell my mother, I didn’t tell my best friend, I didn’t blog about it,  or journal about it, I didn’t even tell the person who shares my home; the one person whom I should be able to share anything. I refused to even begin to acknowledge it.

I went through the highs and lows announcing to myself that I was just sad… no, bored… no, lonely… until I was driving along in my car and out of nowhere I thought of how easy it would be to slam my car into a median and call it quits. Followed by the thought “I wonder how long it would take for anyone to notice that I’m gone.” Followed by the thought that “I’m not ready to die” and an admission to myself that I was Depressed, Majorly and I direly needed to talk to someone.

I  was on my way back home and upon arrival after crying until I felt like my soul would explode I finally opened up to myself and to AB about what I was feeling and why I thought that I was feeling that way. I went to bed feeling better but still deeply depressed. I awoke feeling like a thousand pounds had been lifted from my heart. I have no idea why it took me so long to acknowledge to myself what I was feeling but I’m so glad that I sought help before I did something irreversible.

Depression is different for every person. That image that is in our brains of a person whom either over eats or doesn’t eat at all, doesn’t shower or perform personal hygiene, and loses their job for lack of showing up is just one view. I proceeded through my life the same as I always have, I even went out to drink with my friends a couple of times, the only difference that I noticed in hindsight is that I stopped writing and I began to really isolate myself. I didn’t read as much because I couldn’t focus on books. I watched more Television and ate more foods that made me happy (Yaaayyy ICE CREAM). The point is depression may not exhibit itself in the typical ways but you need to be aware of yourself so that you can notice those subtle feelings that are stronger than sadness and seek help before it’s too late. Don’t expect anyone to just know that you’re depressed. Most people will miss the subtle signs or assume that something else is going on. You’re important. You matter. You’re worth on this Earth is not finished yet.


On Being Kind For Kindness Sake

You can say what you will about my Resting Bitch Face, you can say how you were scared to talk to me initially because I always look so serious, you can talk about how I’m not fake and can be blunt. You can even discuss how in instances where you have given me a real reason to not like you I simply don’t deal with you outside of common courtesy. What you probably also know is that I’m one of the kindest people you will ever meet.

If you do you’ve probably heard it from someone who really knows me, more than likely it would be one of my patients. I don’t push my kindness in your face. I don’t do it for show. And every so often I am reminded of why I am glad that I am so kind, because we are all going through serious shit. This life that we live is not an easy one.

There’s a young girl at my job who is not doing well healthwise. There are people at my job who treat her badly because she’s young, not a professional at her new job, and is overweight. Initially I was going to steer very clear of her because she had a crush on me and she’s so young and I just don’t need those problems. After talking to her I figured out that the crush is harmless and because of the way that other people treat her I have been extra nice to try to make up for the BS. I’ve taken her under my wings and tried to both teach her the aspects of her job that she needs help on and ensure that she provides the staff the simple things that they need.

Now that she’s sick I’m sure people are going to flood her hospital room, the same people who spread rumors that she was on drugs on Friday, the same people who show so much disdain for her on every other day, the same fake people who do things to be lauded by others. I however am not going to visit, at least until she can verbally tell me that visiting her is ok.

If she leaves this earth today I will feel good knowing that I made her laugh, that we had a relationship built out of genuineness, that I took the time to listen to her problems and dreams, and that one of the last things she yelled to me while I was walking down the hall was that she loved me, and  even though I have been telling her to watch her volume in the halls, I yelled it back, and I meant it.

Journey to a Healthy Body : Cross Motivation

imageYesterday I restarted my journey towards a healthy body. One thing that I know for sure in regards to my fitness journey is that I am more focused and encouraged to stick to my regimen if I don’t have a real regimen and I if have a lot of people to consistently cross motivate with.

So I did what people so frequently get frowned upon for doing in this digital age: I took my plight to the internet  by posting a picture of my dream body and some motivators onto my social networking sites asking for buy-in from my friends and family. Of course plenty of people were down to join the get fit and keep each other motivated cause. There are a lot of people struggling to get in shape. After getting buy-in I decided that I needed to keep the posts up, both for myself and the other people on the body fitness journey, so this post is a first of many. Below I’ve compiled 5 things that come to my mind when I think about getting healthy and fit.


Currently my go song, the song that I play when I need that extra boost and the song that I have last on my playlist, cued to play right when I think about giving up is 99 Problems by Jay-Z. Why? My body fat is my b*tch and I can’t let her be one of my problems.

Activities vs The Gym:

I prefer to do activities as opposed to going to the gym. I’ve been to the gym all weekend but I plan on joining an adult kick ball team by the end of March. I’m also on the lookout for inexpensive Pole Dancing, Barre, Acrobatic, and any other class that I think would be fun, help me work up a sweat, and give me the shape of body that I’m most comfortable with.

Eff The Scale:

One thing most people don’t know about me is that I suffer from an eating disorder. Currently it’s under control but I know if I don’t get my body in check I’ll be tempted to perform unsafe weight lose practices. Hence, you will rarely if ever hear me talk about getting on a scale or losing a certain amount of weight.  I have no idea how much I weigh and I have no intention of trying to find out.

Fun in The Sun:

Sometime in the very recent past I became an outdoor lover. Indoor activities like twerk or zumba classes can be fun but if given the choice I’d gladly do anything that keeps me on the water and in the sun. My goal is to become a strong swimmer when it gets warmer outside so that I can try to join some kind of team that practices water sports.


I’ve been reading up on how to make my fitness quest a constant part of my life. Jeanette Jenkings, Rachel Brathen, Shawn T and, Massy Arias are some of my favorite fitness inspirations. I check their timelines frequently for fitness advice. Something I read says that it takes four weeks to see results so I don’t intend to really look in the mirror for the next twenty-six days. There’s a saying that it takes twenty-one days for something to become a habit so I plan to work out for 45-60mins a day for the next nineteen days before I drop down to five days a week.

What are your 5 things that come to mind when you think about getting healthy?

Perfection Can KILL You

I used to want to be perfect. I would literally FREAK out when I got anything wrong. If I wasn’t chosen to be on a sports team or didn’t place first in a spelling bee I would literally come undone. I worked so hard on everything not understanding that when you work so hard on everything some things will not get the same attention as others. It’s statistically impossible to be perfect at everything.

When I began working in Nursing I worked so hard at being the best which honestly wasn’t really too hard. I took different jobs in different aspects of nursing giving me a wide breadth of knowledge to use in the other nursing jobs I was doing. Working in pediatrics helped me with geriatrics. My weekday wound care helped me with my with my weekend job. Everyone loved me or I should say everyone who really mattered really loved me because I was smart, hard working, and funny. I was reliable, dependable, and a team player. I was thee nurse who would jump in and help others finish up their work so that we could all go home on time. The nurse my supervisors used in leadership roles practically freshly out of school because I would get the job done and get it done the correct way.

I realize now that all of the knowledge that I had made me confident and for me confidence helps me accomplish great things.

Fast forward to me taking a management position in nursing and of course I excelled but in the beginning it was really hard and required a lot of focus. At the same time of my promotion my marriage was ending, we were up to our ears in debt, and I began having issues with people who thought that I had “made it” and should be able to help them financially. Of course I tried. I was trying so hard to be everything to everyone and failing miserably at being anything to myself. On a trip with one of my bosses somehow we got on a conversation about perfection during which she remarked “Adrien I bet you were a straight A student in school.” I smiled shyly and said “Yes, why do you say that?” To which she replied “It shows. I can see how upset you get when you send a report late, or you get something wrong on an assessment. No matter what obstacles you face that prevent you from getting to the desired outcome you still blame yourself. The sooner you learn that you can be practically perfect the longer your life will be.” Many times since that day those words have crept up on me and reminded me that I can only be practically perfect and if I want to save the world I need to start with me.

As a nurse I have taken care of so many people who suffered from anxiety, depression, hypertension, strokes, heart attacks, and more. While talking to them or their family members they share that the person was trying to do too much, trying to be too much, and trying to be perfect. It’s not worth it. What you can’t get done today will still be there tomorrow but you may not be if you don’t let this whole perfection thing that we’re all infatuated with die.

Salvador Dali said-“Have no fear of perfection you’ll never reach it” I wonder if he meant that there is a possibility that you could die before you got there.IMG_1253