My entire life I have battled my impulse of whether or not to eat a 6-piece fried hard or kale. It has been a long, drawn-out, depressing, aggressive, evil battle. Worse still, the war I’ve waged in my mind has only been amplified by those closest to me.
Phrases like, “Oh, you’ve put on a few pounds”, or “Be careful now, you know your mama’s side of the family all get big” have chased me in the endless loop of insecurity and low self-esteem. So much so that every health journey I’ve embarked on was plagued with binging and guilt. I never gave myself the opportunity to “trust the process”. How could I? I didn’t trust that my progress would ever be enough for those around me, so why even fight the inevitable?
Sadly, I sang the song of so many Black women who, for all their attempts to better their health and their appearance, were thrown off course by words spoken against them.
What is this obsession we have to use weight as a topic for casual conversation, as if determining the current size of aperson someway will drive the conversation in one direction or another? Do you really think telling someone, “Girl, you filled out there, haven’t you?” is NOT going to be something that is internalized?
In a society that wants credit for its “first plus-size” campaign in 2020, it is clear we have a long way to go where the varied shapes of women aren’t viral fodder. Don’t get me wrong I love seeing our thick sisters slaying and being comfortable in their own skin, but the truth is this STILL is not the typical thought process for what is considered normal, and we all know it.
Even with this knowledge, we use weight like it’s a prop from Law and Order. We are so conditioned that even when I expressed to a loved one how this type of interaction made me feel, I was made to seem overly sensitive. However, the words lingered and instead of appreciating the covenant relationship that Black people share with chicken, I drowned my emotions and lack of self-worth in an order from Harold’s that I didn’t necessarily need at the time. So much for speaking life into others.
We can Google the statistics on obesity with our eyes closed. We know the ailments it triggers, we know the cost of anunhealthy lifestyle, and we have seen the examples in our own families. Therefore, it’s on us to make the conscious choice to either build up or tear down those who are bravely taking a step in the direction to better themselves.
In life, everything we do has a ripple effect, so the next time we feel our tongue’s tingling to make a snarky comment about someone’s appearance, please remember to season your words with the flavorful salt that is also used to batter-fry things to perfection- and treat your loved one the same way you’d want to be treated… with love.