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?

Purge?

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.

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Around March 18 2016

 

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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.)

Ain’t No More Shame Bih.

Yesterday my brother called. The one I’m closest with. Who is directly underneath me in birth order. The one I probably speak to the least. He makes mistakes frequently which end up with him paying prolonged visits behind bars.

We talk about a lot of things. Or he mostly talks and I mostly listen. To his excuses. To how proud he is of me. To how he’s especially proud since I dropped out of school and blah blah blah. He doesn’t mention that I dropped out of traditional high school because of bullies and because I was a teenager and everything that happens to teenagers is the end of the world. So I left traditional high school, went directly to Job Corps and before I would have completed traditional high school; graduated with my GED and CNA.

He doesn’t mention that after that I kept moving up. Went back to school. Got my nursing degree. That in between there I had a baby and got married. That I’ve never lived with my mother after the age of eighteen. That I’ve pulled myself along to who I am now without the help of social services.

He doesn’t know how difficult being a business owner is. That managing a home, and a family, and dogs, and a writing career are the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. I just don’t quit.

He doesn’t think about how we came from the same home, in the same city, with the same mom and dad. That the city and circumstances that he blames for his downfall are the same ones that I credit for my toughness. My tenacity. My ability to code shift. My ability to barter and negotiate. To think outside the box. To always try to be two steps ahead of danger. To be myself. To discern whether someone is genuine or not within the first few words. To do so many nuanced things that I use to run my business and my life daily.

After we hung up, I realized that his call, which was totally about him was actually ALL about me. Somewhere deep inside of me I’ve been carrying these things around in shame. The GED, the baby at 18, the divorce. Even the roughened edges which help me get through most days. My annoyance that he was throwing my life in my face as if it were such a bad thing, was actually annoyance at myself for whatever lingering shame I carry from my upbringing and subsequent bad decisions.

It made me realize how I’m often annoyed that people occasionally treat me as less than and how that annoyance has nothing to do with those people and everything to do with me. His call, – which lowkey annoyed me at first since it was late and I was busy working in bed- was just what I needed to grow pass some of my hidden shame. Like I told him on the phone, the Universe always gives you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.

 

Also, God is from Brick City and the best roses grow from concrete.

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On Sundays I Hate My Dog

On Sundays I hate my dog. Like for real hate him. Like I would low-key let my 2 year old sister/cousin/niece play with him without adult supervision for 5 whole minutes as repayment for the abuse he invokes on us every Sunday.

See, On Sundays Otto thinks that he decides when to tell us to get the fuck up. And yes that’s how he says it “HUMANS, Time to GET THE FUCK UP.” And I know that that’s what he’s saying because he hops around the bed like a baby kangaroo until one of us -read AB – gets up and takes him outside. I couldn’t even tell you what time he does this except to say that it is well before 7 am. See if it happens around 7 am I’ll just cut my losses and get up. 7’s an ok time to sleep in til on the weekend. But he does his little hoppy routine, AB takes him out, and then she comes back into the room to go back to sleep.

The fact that she can go back to sleep is the reason I feel no guilt about allowing her to be the one to get up first. I don’t even blame Otto for doing his hoppy routine as he has to use the bathroom and lacks opposable thumbs to open the door for himself, but I DID buy him a whole piece of real ass grass in a box that he ignores the fuck out of, for this exact reason. BUT that first trip outside was just a warm up. He lays down until AB goes back to sleep then HE STARTS THE DAMN HOPPY ASS ROUTINE ALL OVER AGAIN!!!!!

I’m barely asleep at this point anyway since he halfway woke me up with his first routine, so at this point I usually just open one eye look down at him hopping around like a manic ass kangaroo and remind him that “It’s fucking SUNDAY.” My only semi-day off and that he’s a cute little devil. Also that God or whomever he believes in made him cute for this exact reason and that cuteness only gets you so far.

Of course he doesn’t care about any of what I’m saying. He feels no guilt. In fact, since my eye is open he triples his former hoppy ass routine and starts to bark (as much as his little ass baby puppy voice can bark) and reminds me that I wanted him and to get the fuck up so he that can go outside to play.

Finally I drag myself out of bed and move sluggishly towards the back door so that I can let him out. After I open the door I go back in and sit on the kitchen steps to monitor his playtime (he needs supervision since he likes to eat things that could kill or maim him) there is no furniture in the yard currently because of raggedy ass hurricanes. SO now I sit on the hard ass, cold ass tile floor while Otto runs around like Speedy Gonzales and stares at squirrels. I sit there until he’s had his run of eating grass and rearranging DJ’s stick pile and comes back into the house to look at me like “Ok human you may make your coffee or whatever I’m done. For NOW.”

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I do as I’m told and make myself some coffee so that I won’t kill my family in anger then climb back into bed where I am completely done with any hope of sleep. I guess staring at squirrels and eating grass are worth waking me up out of my sleep. Though, Now that I’m fully awake he climbs back into his bed and he GOES BACK TO SLEEP! His mission, to remind me why I don’t really wanna have a baby in real life, is complete. And I both appreciate this and HATE his cute little puppy face. IMG_7071.JPG

 

The 4 Types of People Who Show Up When A Family Member is Sick.

My grandma (whom I call mommy) came to FL for a visit and ended up getting sick and spending almost two weeks in the hospital. Now she’s at my home and my family is trying to figure out how to get her back up north to her home. Needless to say I’m stressed but mostly over the people who show up when a family member is sick.

There are 4 basic types of people who show up when a loved one is really sick. Most of them are good and mean well but at least one of them sucks tremendously.

The know it all – Probably saved and sanctified. Probably hoping to gain something from sick family member. Oftentimes money. Keeps saying “Whatever they (sick family member) want to do is what we’re going to do.” Regardless to whether whatever sick family member is saying is actually what’s best for them. Will frequently remind everyone why they’re in charge – oldest, only daughter, lives closest, etc- even though they’ve shown that they’re only on the scene to be seen and have had ample opportunity to step up to the plate and provide care in the past, though they’ve never stepped up before and are barely stepping up now except to be the loudest person in the room.

The caregiver– Been taking care of sick family member since day one. Genuinely wants what’s best for sick family member. Probably overwhelmed. Probably has a ton of other responsibilities who need them as much if not more as sick family member.  Either doesn’t work or has a super stressful ass job that they have to tend to in addition to taking care of everything else.

The knows a lot but won’t speak up– Probably has some sort of medical background. Probably has a good support system and is well balanced.  Tremendously helpful but rarely speaks. More action less talking is their motto. Probably has no children or older children and a supportive spouse. Probably the best candidate to be the caregiver or to assist the caregiver but won’t because they don’t want to deal with the family drama. Unknown.jpeg

The wants to help but doesn’t know how or The does what they can– Probably lives in a different state than sick family member. Tremendously helpful when they’re able to be near. Frequently checks in or follows up with sick family member and caregiver. Expresses what they think is best in a safe way but supports whatever decision is made. Probably has younger children and is either single or the primary breadwinner of their household. Frequently says “Well that sounds like the best thing for sick family member but I’ll do whatever you all need me to do.”

I’m probably missing some items/people here but *shrugs* my grandma is in my house and she’s declined dramatically so… I’m likely not thinking straight, also Know it All should go and fuck themselves because life would be better for all involved if they did. (That was nicer than what I really wanted to say.)

5 Reasons Why I HATE Hair Salons AKA Why I Went Natural.

If you google the phrase “why I went natural” you will find 100s of women of color giving you all sorts of reasons from the fact that the perm never took, to the fact that it burned, or in some cases thinned many a woman’s hair to nothingness. Those snatchback ponytails that many people make fun of are in direct correlation to the thinning effect of lye and no lye perms alike.

But my reason; I hate Hair salons. 

Here are my 5 Reasons why:

  1. The smell of the chemicals make me sick to my stomach. I spend the majority of my time in the salon with my hand over my mouth trying both not to throw up and to decrease the amount of noxious smells I inhale during my service.                                                                                         200.gif
  2. Stylists never seem to value your time. They consistently seem to fill the room with more people than they can handle at one time. Which forces you to either run late for future appointments or to block off the rest of your life while you sit in a chair waiting 84 years later for your 10 am appointment.                                                                200w.gif3. THOSE DAMN DRYERS DON’T DRY MY HAIR. If I added up all of the time that I’ve spent sitting under a dryer waiting for my hair to dry I’m certain it would be equal to like 6 years. The worst part is when the stylist walks over to check your hair giving you false hope that it’s finally dry after 3.5 hours only to tell you that you need to sit there for another 30 mins… 1 hour…10 weeks…25 years.  So all of these videos of people having fun sitting under dryers is NOT TRUE. Destiny’s Child and Bruno Mars lied to you!!!!
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  3. I don’t care about other people’s business and sitting around in a salon listening to people complain about their lives or talk about how their best friend’s baby may or may not be the Mailman’s is not how I prefer to spend my days. 200-2.gif
  4. I don’t enjoy Wendy Williams, The Real, TMZ, or any of the other celebrity gossip shows that all stylists seem to love to watch while they torture your hair in to perfectly pretty submission.  It does something to my soul to be forced to listen to people gossip about people and the damn paparazzi pictures drive me crazy. I’m not sure why this is a thing we as society loves so much that daytime telivision is full of options but I can definitely do without ever hearing Wendy the idiot Williams ever say “How You DOehn” ever again in life.                                               200-3.gif

 

So those are some of the reasons why I went natural. Now I only have to see my stylist every 5-6 weeks to retighten my sisterlocks and for the most part I don’t have to deal with any of the reasons I’ve listed above.

The Thing I’m Obsessed With.

Friday was the Book Release Party for my new Poetry Book Brownish Green Female  Sheep. It was my first book release so I have nothing to compare it to but to me it was the most amazing Book Release ever. The venue, Ybor City Barbering Company Barbershop and Bar, was beyond perfect. The atmosphere was ELECTRIC. My best friend since 7th grade snuck in the night before which made the night even more special and I was surrounded by friends, family, and associates, the majority of whom all bought the book!!

I was on cloud nine the entire time. Electric from my frazzled nerves and the endless supply of Mimosas the fabulous bartender kept sending my way. My wife, in true AB fashion ensured that the guests were having a great time, my best friend managed me and the book purchases, Sheree L. Greer my mentor/dear dear friend/cohost along with the ridiculously talented Samira Obied hosted the show in epic fashion. So when I tell you that it was the dope show, I mean that in all caps. DOPE SHOW!

I don’t know that I would’ve asked for anything more… Except while taking pictures with my family one of my brothers said to me, “you’re fat you need to work out.” To which I replied “I work out at least twice a week”. To which another sibling replied “you need to work out more than that.” I’m not going to go into anything about how I don’t need their help to lose weight, how I’m struggling with candida, or how neither of them is an authority on weight loss. I’m just not.

For some background, I’m the oldest child and my siblings don’t really know about my eating disorder. They don’t even really know me like that. So I’m not even mad at them  for saying what they said. They don’t know how I hate my body most days. How I work out with my trainer and feel super happy with my progress until I stand in front of the mirror naked. They hadn’t read the book so while they knew that the book was about love, they don’t know that the longest poem in the book is dedicated to Anna. One of my most secret friends. Or she was, I haven’t seen her in years, though I’d be lying if I said I don’t think about her daily.

They don’t know. They couldn’t know. So I don’t fault them for taking one of the best days of my life and dampening it a little by talking about my weight, they’re humans, and one thing that humans are good at is offering criticisms and critiques as if we would die without doing so. But, If I had one wish, it would be that  we as a society  stopped commenting on things like weight. We have no idea what the other person is truly struggling with.

If you or someone you know is struggling with food obsession you can speak with someone in your local community or at Eating Disorder Hope.

To read Anna You can purchase Brownish Green Female Sheep from my publisher Vital Narrative Press or from Amazon.

Randomosity 1.15.17

My right hand is itching. According to my grandma that means that I’m going to get some unexpected money. I’m all about that life.

Last night  I gave the Mohegan Sun 6 x more money than I’d budgeted. I’d do it all over again to sit next to my grandma, listen to her throw shade, and laugh at the world. Operation come to CT at least every other month is shaping up to be the best money and time I’ve ever spent.

I’ve worked most of the time that I’ve been in CT. At my grandma’s dining room table while watching her shows and laughing at her antics. As difficult as it is being an entrepreneur, being in charge of my time is worth all of the stress and early mornings.

Yesterday was my publisher’s monthly conference call. I leave those calls knowing that I chose the right publishing house and grateful that they chose me.

The next book that I publish I’m hiring a social media manager. I know that I am in my own way as far as promoting my book is concerned. The nerves that come with the creation of each post are worse than the ones I felt when I used to slam in competitions.

Decisions are made by those who show up.

Every time I’m around a bunch of children I remember that one is enough. I have no idea how people have more than one. I give people with a bunch of kids all of the kudos. And wine subscriptions. I’m sure they need wine more than they need diapers.

2017 is shaping up to be the best year of my life. #ClaimingIt
My book is being released on January 27th. That’s legit less than two weeks away. You can preorder it here: Vital Narrative Press

Randomness 11.15.16

Thoughts while sweeping up the sugar that someone, an adult, has wasted on the floor of my shop.

If I waste something in public, be it wet or dry, I always at the very least, attempt to clean it up.

At restaurants I stack my plates and sweep the trash onto the top one. To make it easier for the server or the bus person.

I usually over tip because I value other people’s time and energy.

I say please and thank you.

I value the people who work at the Drive Thru as much as I value the people who work in the White House, probably more. Cause you know, true love and respect should always start at home.

I believe in God, and Allah, and Buddah, and The Universe, and and and. I believe in other people’s belief that for them there is no Higher Power. sugar-06.jpg

I have never had an abortion but I believe that other people should decide whether they want to have one or not.

I don’t look down on people who need to utilize government assistance.

I chalk many things up to other people’s cultural norms. For example, some people don’t believe that any price is set in stone. I know people who bargain at Macy’s up north. Trying that in Tampa… Good luck.

I have met very bad people from many different places and many different races. The same for good.

I don’t believe that America was ever “Great” for everyone but I believe that it can get there. Starting with maybe sweeping the sugar that you wasted on the floor of a store, or saying hi without someone having to say it first, or not trying to push your mores, values and beliefs onto other people, or  just realizing that everyone does things differently and that they deserve respect for that.

Today We Mourn, Tomorrow We Fight.

I’m supposed to trust in the Universe. Supposed to believe in God and trust in his name and all that Jazz. I’m supposed to suck up the fact that my Country has elected the Devil Incarnate to represent us. To not act fearful of the fact that the man who preyed upon, amplified, and gave a platform to the worst parts of the human condition is set to continue that trajectory for at least the next four years. To think that things are going to get better. To trust the same Republican senators who have blocked so many good things in congress just because they could, will now act in the best interests of this same country.

Supposed to continue to pretend that I trust most of my white friends and associates. To stand up in rooms with people who voted against all of the parts of my beings  and believe that they have my businesses best interests at heart. To make believe that DJ’s teachers aren’t a part of the school to prison pipeline. Expected to stand and make pledges to a flag that has never/was never intended to cloak people who look like me and mine.

I should continue to toe the line when it comes to discussing race and injustice, especially on social media. To believe that Amerikka is the land of the free and the home of the brave.

To think that:

  • BLM
  • Standing Rock
  • The Environment
  • The Economy
  • Women’s Rights
  • LGBTQIA Rights

are at the top of anyone’s lists of protection.

I’m supposed to act like I’m not in Mourning. But I am. I SO FUCKING AM. I am distraught. As distraught as I would be if I lost someone close to me. I mean technically I have. Today before I took a Facebook break  I deleted a whole bunch of people who were so called friends who made the choice to vote for a Demagogue whose platform directly effected me when he talked about how horrible the Blacks were, when he talked about taking away LGBT rights, when he hung out with and was endorsed by the KKK,  when he said that women who get abortions should be punished, when he said that he would make Stop and Frisk legal for the entire country, when he talked about not allowing Muslims in the country, when he discusses building that God-Forsaken illogical ass wall, when he And the list goes on.

If I were Jewish I would be sitting Shiva but since I am not I plan to eat a bunch of shit that I shouldn’t, drink my fill of very good wine, sit with my friends and family to give and receive love, move slowly, side eye white people, and cry; Until my mourning is done. And then I plan to fight for every right that I am at the risk of losing.

 

OH: AND HE WILL NEVER BE MY PRESIDENT.

*Disclaimer, I know that not all white people voted for him, some of my best friends are white.*

Gratitude List 10.13.16

  1. My alarm sounds like the theme music from from a nineties video game. When it goes off AB complains that it is not soothing enough. I tell her that I don’t care. She proceeds to jump around our bedroom as if she is Mario from Super Mario Brothers making the noises, acting as if she ate a mushroom and has grown, and just being an all around character. A. She taught me to not care about certain things. B. I wish to be as free as she is but just watching her be free is plenty good for me. For now.
  2. Darian is oversleeping in his bedroom which is next to ours. He is alive, loved, and comfortable.
  3. Snapchat, it’s filters, my best friend’s stories.
  4. My mother’s hilarity and our text messages.
  5. On Sunday my father kissed my cheek and refrained from lecturing me on how to lose weight. I’m losing it. I obviously have it covered. I think he gets that.
  6. Today is the first day of my writer’s retreat. I plan to write, and write, and write, and write. With a little editing and planning thrown in for balance.
  7. My grandmother is alive she has lived through so many things and I’m getting better at preparing myself for when she is ready to be done with this earth.
  8. Friends who come to your job just to hug you and kiss your cheeks. Those are the best kinds.
  9. Cyn. Mystical, Warrior, Woman; full of grace and knowledge.
  10. That gospel song that goes “Woke me up this morning started me on my way.” that one. That happened.
  11. Love. It’s all we need.