Week 4 of the Racism & Body Image series
In the last three weeks, I’ve revealed several personal and painful things about myself. It’s not easy to talk about parts of my life that fuel my eating disorder. Thinking about the fact that I get paid less to do more thanks to racism and bias disgusts me. The pandemic give me lots of reasons to quit everything because everything can be too much.
The intersectionality of race, gender, and size combine to deplete my power and agency in various situations. Rather than rage against the machine I can’t operate, I focus on the life within my control. I parent my girls my way, which some folks call unconventional or spoiling because people who look like me don’t do the kinds of things I do. I nursed all three of my girls for two years. I wore them in a Sling because the Baby Bjorn everyone had did not fit my body. All the girls had their favorite Mommy Shirt that only got washed once another shirt sufficiently smelled like me. I quit dream jobs and worked part-time to be home with them more, choices based on a combination of privilege and sacrifice. Based on my childhood experience, we decided that time was more important than money concerning our girls.
Everything I’ve been through informs how I parent, including my decision to eschew a fast-paced life. After I lost my school librarian job ten years ago, I stopped driving on the highway and started traveling the most beautiful route, no matter how long it took. Taking that beautiful road requires planning and release, and it shows the girls that time together in the car is just as important as time spent doing whatever it is we’re traveling to do. The slow approach permeates other areas of my life and brings me tremendous amounts of peace.
Living our way affords us actual control versus feelings of control. I can’t change many things in the world, but I can spend time with the people who mean the world to me. My experiences as a fat black woman in my fifties teach me to slow down to go.
Questions for Reflection:
How does your race or size affect your parenting?
What aspects of your childhood inform how you choose to live today?
How might slowing down change your life?