This post was published at Single Girl in A Weird World on 5/21/2011
Warning: If you are in any way sensitive or get your feeling hurt easily or have a hard time understanding sarcasm, you may not want to read this post.
I don’t usually comment on my own blog about other people’s post, usually people aren’t saying anything that interest me enough to post about someone else’s opinion blog. I also am not real big on commenting on things that I have no direct knowledge of, my personal thought is that when people start spouting their opinions about things they don’t know about they just look stupid to me. The title of this post is ‘FBW’, I know you’re wondering what the hey does that mean it’s an acronym for a nemesis among some black woman it’s the Fat Black Woman. I commented on a recent blog that I love and frequent that I believe and still do and have seen in real life, that some of the issues that black women have regarding weight are not just because we are really fond of twinkies and pork skins. Hell, I’m fond of twinkies and pork skins but I’m not obese. In fact, I’ve never been obese. I’ve never dieted in my life. As a child and teenager I was always skinny as I got older my metabolism slowed and I gained some weight but never more than an extra 25 lbs or so. I’m exercising again to try to lose some weight gained while Matt and I looked longingly into each other’s eyes and totally forgot to exercise. But I have never in my life had to deal with the issues of being the fat kid, fat teenager, or fat adult. I’ve never had 50, 75, or 100 extra lbs or more weighing my body down. As I look around at the black women I know and see in my everyday life I am not blind to the fact that as a group of women we are carrying some extra weight, literally and figuratively.
When I commented that some black women have mental issues that have or are contributing to their obesity. Well I was called out of touch, coddler, delusional, and such and I’m putting it nicely. Oh goodness Eugenia, why can’t you see that all these fat black women in the United States are fat because they won’t buy a pair of tennis shoes, eat better and exercise their just fat and lazy. It seems I wasn’t cruel enough and I let my compassion show and was giving fat black women an excuse, how dare I do that. Now if people really knew me and really there’s no real way to know me from these few posts I give, but if you knew me the one thing you would know is I’m no coddler, I’m no excuse maker, I don’t hold dicks while people figure out how pee, most of the time I’m tough and believe in tough love. I am not an advocate of delusion and I’d never tell a fat woman that she’s thick, I believe in positive reinforcement but that’s not positive reinforcement it’s a goddamned lie. Now I’m not saying that every black woman with a weight issue is mentally insane, not at all. To tell the truth I don’t know how many people who are severely overweight or obese have mental conditions because really most people don’t ask that question and among black people we are notorious for not acknowledging and getting help for mental illness. So my thought is that many fat black women are not aware if they have a mental health issue or not, which means they certainly aren’t seeking treatment for it. There is a wonderful book by Rosalynn Carter, President Jimmy Carter’s wife called Within Our Reach: Ending the Mental Health Crisis I watched her on The Colbert Report talk about it a few months ago, 1 in 4 Americans has an undiagnosed mental health issue. That’s a lot of people and I’m quite sure that a large number of those people are African Americans. What does this have to do with the fat black woman? Well everything and nothing. I know there are plenty of black women who are overweight because they love to eat and don’t love to exercise but I’m also pretty sure there are some who are using food as a way to self-medicate. Black women in this country do have it tough, we are the least married, most out of wedlock children, highest rate of AIDS and HIV, we work, we go to school, we get called the most unattractive women on earth and we’re fat. Many people in this country with mental health issues self-medicate it’s just a way to cope, especially in a place where mental health is just not a priority for the health system. So people do it themselves, they work to much, they take drugs, they drink, they gamble, they shop too much, and they over-eat. Now it’s okay too feel bad for the alcoholic, drug addict, the gambler, even the shopoholic but it’s just not cool to feel bad for fat people. It seems it’s not even cool to acknowledge that some of these fat black women may even have a mental health issue. You know I believe health is physical as well as mental and for the people that may be self-medicating, taking care of their mental health can also help them take care of their physical health. I certainly don’t think having mental health condition is an excuse to stay fat, if you know you have one and are using food to medicate you need to get some help. I certainly don’t think every fat black woman is a mental case. But the one thing I do have experience with in this arena is that I’ve suffered from a mental health issue. In a previous blog called Sometimes…People Really Do Need Therapy I talk a little about my own struggle with depression, anxiety and panic and how therapy helped me overcome. But before I overcame it, I didn’t know what was going on and to help myself I medicated myself with food and drinking. It wasn’t until I got the help I needed after almost a year and left my ex-husband that I got back on track. But I’m thinking if I hadn’t gotten the help I needed I probably would have been 2 tons of fun and damn alcoholic right now. Thank God, I wasn’t so prideful that I didn’t get the help I needed. But I know there are many fat black women, whose family are telling them nothing is wrong, they need to pray more (yes you can pray but we also need to use the resources that God put on this earth to help people, therapy is a blessing) or just eat some more, this good peach cobbler will make you feel better.
I’d love for fat black women to be more motivated about getting their weight down and their health in order but I know not all of them will do that. I hate the results of obesity on black women, heart disease, high blood pressure, joint problems, and diabetes type 2 which I know sucks cause I have type 1. I know they won’t all be inspired whether they are lazy or crazy to get themselves together. And being obese is not twofold for every woman, some people are just unmotivated but for those who need some therapy they should get it and their mental health issues should be acknowledged and not pushed under the rug. If we’re going to discuss the issue of fat black women, let’s not just do the surface easy crap. I know black women who have had the gastric bypass surgery and have lost tons of weight and look great and have now traded in one addiction, food, for another, alcohol, drugs, shopping. Addiction is addiction. I’m not real sure why some black women have decided that it’s too much to acknowledge that this may have two sides and to get the fat black women of America losing weight we can touch on both. I want women to be healthy, more than I want to be right or brag about how skinny and great I am. But you know that’s just me, it sucks to care about fat black women.