Conclusion

Week 5 of the Racism & Body Image series


Our lives are full of things in and out of our control. Being born a black biracial girl - out of my control. Being fat - in my control. But nothing is that easy. Three times in my adult life, I’ve lost forty pounds and maintained for several years. Billy Blanks of Tae Bo fame says, “If losing weight were easy, everyone would be doing it.” He’s right. After maintaining my 2015 weight loss for five years, the pandemic called all of my security systems out. I embraced my emotional eating habits as we canceled our gym membership. Outdoor fitness is on hold as I recover from a back injury, yet physical activity helps me eat healthily and keep my depression in check.


Systemic racism, bias, privilege, and discrimination directly contribute to the health problems I experience, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, obesity, and asthma. “Lose weight and fix your issues” is the easy answer. But dismantling racism and bringing people’s attention to the impact of white supremacy is stressful, as is advocating for my rights as a woman and navigating the size minefield. Questioning whether something good or bad is happening because I’m black or a woman hurts. I work hard to not constantly agonize over my weight gain, recalling situations like being on a plane sitting next to a white man who decides he’s going to have the armrest even though my body is there.


Right now, twenty-five pounds heavier than I was this time last year, I’m still struggling yet feeling better. I spend time outdoors most days, praying and listening to God. I got my second vaccination on Saturday, so I feel hopeful. We’re rejoining the gym in May once all of us are fully vaxed.


Most importantly, I believe that God loves me, right now, as I am. That thinking stems from seeking the beautiful route in my travels. Slowing down to enjoy each moment as I drive to Target helps me slow down and appreciate myself and my many gifts. We’re all here because God wants us here. Surrounding myself in beauty helps me remember I’m part of that.


Peace.


Featured Photo: from 2016 run at the Hoyt Arboretum in Portland Oregon during Episcopal Communicators!

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