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.)

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.


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