TO BE SKINNY AND BLACK
In the Black community when someone says you are skinny it’s not a compliment. It’s more of a put-down and it’s perfectly acceptable to tell someone they need to gain weight. But wait, don’t you dare say to someone they need to shed a few pounds. If you don’t meet the thickness threshold your family, friends and strangers will try to fatten/thicken you up! They are quick to tell you to eat some meat, lift some weights, and don’t forget to do your squats (can’t have a flat butt).
I’ve always had a complex about my size and deeply rooted insecurities about not meeting the weight “standards.” Thank goodness for a great personality and a big smile! Growing up maybe I came off confident, but to feel beautiful meant to feel fully comfortable with “all of me.” Last year I hired a personal trainer whom helped me better understand my body. Because I am new to this strength training thing I didn’t see the results I wanted right away, but I did gain confidence and the know how to improve my physical health.
To be skinny means to refrain from sharing with the world your size insecurities, because if you do people will quickly give you the side-eye. Oh no, and if you have a moment, a day or a year when your weight has shifted and you develop a little pooch, cellulite or flab, there ain’t a soul out there who will sympathize. It’s a lonely journey, LOL!
Just recently I posted the picture above on my Instagram story and a friend jokingly sent me a message saying that I was “Thirst Trippin.” Meaning, seeking attention. Whatever…..maybe so, I am just happy to see results from my workout! When I replied to him working out is hard for me he quickly replied, “LOL girl please.” What people fail to realize is that just because you are thin doesn’t mean you are healthy or in shape! Being pescatarian and vegetarian for over 20 years has not been enough. I didn’t start working out until my late 30’s when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and an out of control heart-rate. And let me tell you something, to begin a work out regimen in your 30’s or 40’s is not easy, I don’t care what size you are!
At 42 I am finally happy with my size. Consequently, I now see that everything is portioned and this is how God made me. My people will have to accept this! I will never have a big butt or thick thighs. At 42, thangs have shifted a bit, so some toning is in order (squats will be done!). Nonetheless, what’s important to acknowledge is that as a skinny person I too have to workout to improve my blood pressure and decrease the risks of heart disease. It’s a reality for all sizes. Be easy on the skinny folk, we take criticisms and internalize them just like everyone else. Ultimately, we all need to be our best and healthiest selves.
I will say this again to my friend who laughed at me when I said working out is hard for me. It is, which is why I am always asking someone to join me on a hike, bike ride or yoga class. As I struggle with my own health issues and body weight I have one thing to ask of you all. Will you help me; help me work through this struggle of developing a workout routine? Truth be told, I HATE the gym. I need consistent and reliable workout buddies. No flakes! Thanks to my mentee Rejoice who has become my workout pal. Thank you, lady! Thanks to my former personal trainer Yohonis who continues to check on me and send me links. Friends, don’t ask me out to dinner or lunch, ask me to meet you in the gym, yoga class or to go for a walk. As we approach 2019 let’s support, encourage and motivate each other to break unhealthy cycles. Meet me in the gym?!