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This morning I was driving to Target to get some undoubtedly essential items. I’d just had a conversation with my two younger daughters, Jaiya, 17, and Kaia, 21. Thinking about this first post about racism and body image, I asked them: “Hey girls, think back. When did you realize I was fat?”

Kaia sighs heavily. “I don’t know, Mom, I just always thought you were cute,” She’s very protective of my self-image and doesn’t like any conversation where I sound like I’m disrespecting myself. “Yeah, Mom,” Jaiya chimes in, “you were always open and honest about your feelings about yourself, and we’re Montessori where we see everyone as an individual.”

As our conversation continued, we talked about intersectionality. You knowing I’m a GenX large tall black biracial woman does not begin to tell you about my thoughts, dreams, loves, and hurts. Visible intersections allow you to form opinions about me, and I live with the result of those opinions - including the biased views I hold of myself.

These thoughts swirl around in my head as I’m driving, and I find myself at a newish roundabout—cue frustrated sigh. I knew the old intersection so well. This roundabout causes me to slow down and act with more caution than I would have at the old three-way stop sign. What makes roundabouts better than our old intersections, anyway? It turns out they reduce fatalities and accidents by up to 76%. Wow, that’s a lot. I know the next time I approach a roundabout, I’ll remember that.

Then the Spirit got to work on that concept. For the next few weeks, we’ll talk about the intersection of body image and racial justice and the bias and fear attached to both. I’ll share information about my intersections that hurt me and make me the gorgeously beautiful child of God that I am. Why don’t we treat these intersections as roundabouts? Let’s slow down, see each other, and proceed with confident caution.

Questions for Reflection:

  • What question do you most want to ask someone who looks like me?

  • What word(s) scare you in the conversation about the concepts including fat, fat phobia, body image, race, racism, and racial justice?


Featured Image: this photo of Miriam is from the Episcopal Communicators Conference at Kanuga - field trip to the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site


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