Visit to the doctor’s office

More from the journal I kept during my visit to Morocco. In a doctor’s office in Rabat waiting to get my ear looked at.  I’d had water in it for about 4-5 days at this point.

*       *

There’s something that stings when someone tells you to lose weight.  My grandfather said it before I left.  My family said it at [the only] Christmas [we had together] when I was in high school.  When I look back at pictures I think I looked great and struggle with how I look currently.  The doctor just weighed me and told me to lose weight in Morocco. There’s a theme here.

We live in such a negatively affected society.  People are happy to mention what you should do to make yourself better.  Yet they often neglect to tell you something you do well.

*       *

The doctor came in so I had to go.

Apparently I’m good at learning Darija.  Moroccan Arabic is my shit.  I know I haven’t even been here a week and so it’s presumptuous to be talking about next year, but I’d love to comeback.  I’d love to become fluent in Arabic and learn basic french just so I can be better at Darija.  It’d be cool ot work with 19more in the nice months in Seattle, and Rabat in the rainy winter months.  I wonder what that would cost.  Home stay for 3 months each year?  Sell belongings in Seattle.  Leave boxes in someone’s basement?  I don’t know I could find roommates in Seattle where I could afford the rent — hella cheap.  They would be willing to walk Garvey or rather take care of Garvey for a small fee while I’m out of the country.  I dunno.  It would be nice.

sign

Fasting and babysitting leads to reconciliation

Oy. My head hurts, and my lips are dry. My nose is stuffy, but that’s annoyingly usual. My shoulders are sore and I feel like there’s a cat litter box on my tongue.  There’s a lot going on.

I went to the Zoo with Magoo aka Goober aka Goo, today.  It was nice to be around her in this way.  I was her only option for safety and she clung to me just as her parents said she would.  We had to fake her out though.  Before we left we pretended like Daddy had to go to work, Mommy had to leave, and Grandpa was going to the doctor. She said her goodbyes and everyone bolted to corners of the house, except for me. Heh Heh Heh. We walked down the block and she held my hand. A two-year old’s hand is really fucking small bee tee dubs.

We still have our issues, but it was a good day.  We took the bus, which she loves, and she fell asleep. The little White girl and adult Black woman in public is an eye catching dynamic to say the least.  There will probably be a post about that later.  I carried her from the bus stop to the zoo and the wonderment commenced. That little lady fuckin loves animals.  Like lost her shit with excitement and loves all animate objects not human.

I was nervous about spending the day with her because she cries as soon as I hold her. It’s kinda like I’m the plumber and she’s the drain. Her pores and ducts let loose when I’m around then I look like I’ve kidnapped a small child. Her grandpa joked that he was going to put out an Amber Alert as soon as I left the house, the bastard. I laughed, but was totally willing to chop him in the throat

We met up with my friends who were in town and their two kids. I go way back with those little munchkins. Like since before fertilization back.  I almost delayed moving to Seattle so I could see the youngest be born.  We’re close.  Having the opportunity to hug and love on those little buggers filled up a part of me I didn’t know was empty. Hopefully I’ll get to hangout with them tomorrow.

I sat down with the intention to create a post about this fast I’m on.  It’s the second day and I’m kinda feeling it as I mentioned in the first paragraph. Instead, I talked about the children in my life.  Huh. Maybe I just needed to get that out. In my early twenties there came a point when I wanted children of my own. My biological clock stood in place of my heart and I felt like I would expire if I didn’t procreate.  Being around my Friends With Kids (great movie) over the last 4 years has changed my mind. I love kids — not all of them by any means– but I’m not sure I want to expel any from my vaginal cavity.

My excitement comes from reading the course syllabus for my PhD program. My heart palpitates at the thought of traveling the world. I salivate thinking about sleeping in my car in the dead of winter while driving cross-country for the seventh time.  When I think about dating or having children the part of my heart dedicated to dreams and passion shrinks like a flaccid penis.  I’m not there anymore.  My ADPKD is supposed to flare up when I’m about 37. Dialysis will begin shortly thereafter.  It’s not wise for my body to endure dialysis and pregnancy separately let alone simultaneously.  The longer I wait to have kids the more likely it will be that I shouldn’t.

Perhaps all of this is my body, my heart, and my mind reconciling that I’ll always be,  “Auntie Jéhan.” If it’s not, and I feel that yearning again I have no qualms about adoption. 🙂

Related Posts:

Detox

I am a Mouthbreather

Body Image

What to do about Magoo

Body Image

To say I have a problem with body image is to Mitt Romney might be a Republican.  My struggle with weight has existed since college.  While many put on freshman 15, I put on freshman 40 (+/-).  My face puffed and my calves, which are usually fat free expanded with cellulite as well. I have a pictures where my potbelly looks like I’m 6 months pregnant.  It’s been a struggle. Often a struggle of which I was unaware, but a struggle nonetheless.  During my last Obgyn visit in 2010 my doctor told me I needed to lose 50lbs.  A few months ago I went to the emergency room with chest pains. At a follow-up visit the doctor told me I was strong, but I “needed to lose weight.”  I can pack on 20 lbs in a season without thinking about it.

Photo 326

After proofreading this post I wanted to take this down. I don’t like it, but I’m not going to remove it…for now.

One of the biggest issues that comes with these weight fluctuations is a skewed body image.  No matter how much I weigh,  when I look in the mirror I see that 6 months pregnant not actually pregnant 19 year old. This is a picture of my back a few months ago.  My bra is too small and back fat is spilling out the sides.  The thing is about 2 years ago this bra fit perfectly, and was, in fact, an eensy bit too big.

I don’t have a picture of of my back, but this is a random picture of me from that summer when I was at my most fit.  Photo 49

I spent the summer leading backpacking trips and had less than enough food to eat.  I remember cooking a red pepper with an onion, adding salsa, and putting it in a corn tortilla.  I couldn’t afford bus fare to and from work, so I’d bike the 10+ miles to and from the base each day I was in the front country.  Seattle ain’t flat. In the back country I’d carry a pack between 50 & 80 pounds (+/-) and hike 2-7 miles daily.  I was in great shape.

It is nearly impossible for me to maintain that level of fitness in the front country.  Fitness was my entire life. The problem with the off-season is that I was not burning the same amount of calories, I consumed relatively the same amount of calories if not more, and I wasn’t consuming the same quality of calories (Red Hot Blues vs. G.O.R.P.).  As a result, I needed to find a way to burn a large amount of calories + go to work and lead an urban life.  Not simple. I’m not a fan of pretend exercise. I don’t want to go to the gym. I’d rather hike 14 miles to get from one campsite to another. With the hiking it’s mandatory exercise. The gym is pretend.

I started roller derby in June of 2012. I skated about 3 times a week from June until August.  I was in a different kind of shape. Just look at my legs.  Here is a picture of me in July or August of 2012.

Photo 335

My rectus femoris (totally had to look that up) are AMAZING. My gracilis (again with the look up) are lacking.  I know you can’t “spot” burn fat, but that’s a place I would if I could. I’d like to accomplish a few things:

1. Reconcile what I look like in the mirror with what I see in pictures, and what is true in real life. There is a huge disconnect for me.

Photo 317

I had no idea my stomach looked like this until I took this picture and saw it. Even when I looked back at the mirror I couldn’t see myself as I was.

2. Develop an eating lifestyle that is not reward based and does not lend itself to stress or emotional eating

3. Understand that women are different. Websites like My Body Gallery are fantastic.  I don’t need to look like: Michonne.1.2  imagesimages-1images-2

No matter how much weight I lose I won’t be shaped like them.  My body is built to climb mountains not to grace the covers of magazines stocked on shelves in a society that oversexualizes women.  Their bodies are beautiful.  I just don’t need to make them the mile marker for my own.

Taken 3.20.2013

Taken 3.20.2013

Related blog entries:

Chest Pains – She is indeed Undone

Detox – Wearingmyblackness

Knock Kneed Mary – Wearingmyblackness

All images of copyright of their original owners. If you see your photo here and would like for it to be removed just let me know.

Cheers!

it’s not about offense, it’s about your words

I love My Fitness Pal. It makes me smile.

Members can share snippets of their weight loss, or gain, journey using the blog feature.  I haven’t done that because, well, 3 WordPress blogs are enough.  Today, a member shared this:

Title: Ghetto Rack

Post:It’s crude, rough, ghetto, cheap, lazy, not-even-sanded, and the least expensive piece of workout gear I’ve gotten so far..  but it’ll get the job done for a little longer till I have to either get a gym membership or buy some equipment…

but I made it myself, in a mini-skirt… LOL!

(in my defense, I really DO know how to use power tools, squares and the like, but seriously, who the hell cares what it looks like when it’s in my basement?)  (not pictured but it has a cross bar for support across the bottom now.)

I didn’t like what she wrote. I didn’t like the words she used.  The whole thing made me uncomfortable. So, I sent her a message.  Honestly, I didn’t know why I didn’t like it. I just didn’t this is what I said:

Subject: I thought about not sending this

Message:

Hi Becky,

A friend of mine commented on your post, “Ghetto Rack” and so it showed up in my news feed. I clicked on your blog and read your post. For some reason, one that I can’t articulate very well right now, it doesn’t sit well with me. While describing your “ghetto” rack you said, ” It’s crude, rough, ghetto, cheap, lazy, not-even-sanded….”

When I, and many others, think ghetto, we think people and place. I think of two places and types of people in particular – How German’s imprisoned and classified Jews and how the United States houses and often describes Black Americans.

This may be my issue, and I’ll completely own that, but I just wanted to share with you my thoughts on your post.

Thanks so much for reading and good luck on your journey,

Whit

Her response:

Sorry to offend, not intentional. To each his or her own I suppose.

I’m glad I didn’t spend much time thinking about what I sent her because she didn’t spend much time thinking about her response.  Granted, my email could’ve been better. I own that.  But, I spend all day maneuvering this and similar topics and just didn’t feel like being more detailed.  I also didn’t want to scold her.  I just wanted to share with her my initial thoughts upon reading her words.  It wasn’t about offense.  I truly believe a HUGE chunk of racism still exists because we’re afraid of offending one another.  That fear prevents dialogue.  Instead of embracing dialogue we cling to the similar paradigm-ed and offer up apologies after offenses.  I’m not offended. At least I don’t feel offended.  I wanted her to think about her words and the racist system they may or may promote. I sent that email hoping for dialogue.  That didn’t happen. I’m not going to respond.  I just don’t care enough about this situation to dedicate any more words or effort.

If you have any more thoughts on this matter. I’d TOTALLY be open to dialogue with you.  =]

knock-kneed mary

According to the internet I’m obese.

I remember being in my 10th grade biology class and discussing knock knees, bow legs, and “normal” legs.  For some dumb reason I said, “I want knock knees!”

I’m an idiot.

I GOT them and I HATE them.  In fact, I’m working on getting rid of them.  I’ve done some research on the internet and discovered that you can fix them.  Some people go through surgery to break and realign bones. That’s way too serious for me so I’m going to do it by strengthening muscles in my legs.

I took some preliminary pictures so I can document my progress.  It fits into my desire to lose weight and get more fit, too!

This is how my legs should align when I stoop down

If you look, my knock-knee-ness is not that bad, but when I walk it gets worse.  I’m a thick woman and so my legs are thicker than average.  They rub together when I walk and it’s annoying.  I’m aware that no matter how much (healthy) weight I lose my thighs will probably always touch.  If I strengthen my adductor muscles it will probably help my situation.

I went to roller derby last week and they noticed how knock-kneed I am and mentioned how it might impact my roller skating.

As I bend my knees you can see the natural tendency “knock” against one another. This is my current “normal” bend.

So, I’m doing certain exercises, and tweaking my running form to improve my body’s alignment and overall performance.  Roller derby is something I’ve only done once, but I’m in love.  The thought that I could get good enough to be drafted onto a team excites me.  It’s not my goal, but it’s exciting.

I’ll keep everyone posted.

attractiveness is relative and that sucks

Seattle weather as of late has been impressive.

I could just kiss your face

When the sun comes out in Seattle, residents collectively lose their shit. Everyone is outside, running, jumping, throwing frisbees, walking dogs, playing soccer, eating organic locally grown kale, and working in their gardens.  We’re like the antithesis of vampires. Wednesday I was a happy member of the flock.  I rode my bike 4-5 miles to a restaurant to eat with a friend.  At dinner I didn’t snort the pre-dinner bread and oil like I usually do (yay good choices!).  We ate a sub par meal (I didn’t eat it all and I’m proud of myself).  Then I biked home — well, part way– I biked downtown and took the bus uphill.  Then, because the weather tickled my athletic parts I changed, leashed my dog, and went for a run. Ladies and gentlemen, zes and hirs that never happens. I don’t work out more than once in a day unless I exercised in the morning and was chased by a mugger at night.

He was equally surprised

Upon my arrival home I signed up, at the urging of my friend, for My Fitness Pal.  It’s like Weight Watchers, but free AND awesome.  Today I logged on via computer and discovered some other cool new features (you can write on your friend’s walls).  I even picked up a friend or two.  I hope my enthusiasm lasts.  I think it will just maybe not at the same intensity.  It’s kind of fun.  When you use the mobile app you can scan the bar code of what you’re about to eat and it uploads the nutrition label.  I’ve uploaded homemade recipes and it calculates the contents; vitamins, dietary fiber, polyunsaturated fat, etc.  My favorite part is how it incorporates your exercise into the mix.  I went to my boxing fitness class and burned 916 calories.  I can then see how it impacts my food intake. It’s like a lazy person’s food journal.  Okay, maybe not a lazy person’s…more of an electronic food journal for busy people — so basically the opposite.

This recent burst of athletic vigor allowed me to realize that sometimes I don’t do a good job of looking in the mirror and recognizing what I see. Granted,  I’m getting better at it.  I’m trying to see my body for what it is and not what I think it is, or what plutocrats and media outlets tell me it is.  Most recently, I noticed one thing that I have that works in my favor; my athleticism.

I am athletically inclined. I excel at sports.  I was a fantastic basketball player, field hockey goalie, and track and field shot putter/javelin thrower/discus tosser.  When I tried sparring for the first time I rocked it.    When I do cardiovascular exercise I shed fat and my musculature is evident.  I don’t have to try hard to look ripped. That being said, I also struggle with looking at myself as feminine and seeing myself as attractive. Ah, there lies the rub.

Now, even though I don’t see myself as attractive, I feel attractive when I’m working out. No, that’s not right, I feel confident when I’m working out.  I’ve heard they come hand in hand.

How does this tie into Blackness, you ask? Well, closely.  In a book I’m reading Black Rage the author mentions (this is not a direct quote) how White women can exert little to no effort and be seen as attractive.  They can wake up, brush their hair, walk out the door and be viewed by society as prreetty.  Black women, however? We must exert much more energy and focus into looking socially acceptable.  Have you seen Chris Rock’s 2009 movie Good Hair? If not, watch it. If you have and you still disagree, watch it again and read Black Rage. In the Western culture we aren’t socially acceptable if we walk out the door with our hair two stepping in the wind just as it grew out of our heads.  Before I had locks nightly I would oil my hair, two strand twist it (at least an hour’s worth of work), wrap it up in a silk scarf, go to sleep, wake up fix the scarf, go back to sleep, wake up, untwist it, style it, and then I still look liked what people would call a “ragamuffin.”  Trust me, I did the “just brush and go” often, and that choice has had me playing in the basketball court of androgyny way too long.

So, when you look at me — natural hair, athletic build, darker skin (we haven’t even gone there yet), and deep voice I am not attractive as deemed by society.   Then, let’s whip cream my lack of familial influence in my upbringing, coming from a “broken home,” AND my naked love of things that are not generally accepted in “b”lack culture.  I’m screwed when it comes to self-image.  I didn’t grow up hearing “You’re beautiful” or at least “You’re visually acceptable.”  That’s why I’m a 28-year-old woman who is still coming to terms with being Black and seeing myself as attractive.

Attractiveness is relative.  I am slowly digesting the possibility that media tycoons, stupid psychologists, and government officials could be wrong.  There is a possibility that when I am at my best — well exercised and properly nourished– I have the makings of a handsome woman (that term still makes me giggle).  Now that the Seattle weather is nicer, the anti vampires have come out of their tent cocoons, and I’ve become best friends with My Fitness Pal, I’m definitely examining a cleaner petri dish.  My hope is that when I’m at the weight I’m supposed to be (T-minus 34 lbs) I can re-examine my self-image and self-worth.