“it’s not a phase, i want you to stay with me” *

here’s a vulnerable post, because i need to be that right now.

i have gone through so many phases in my life, most of them related to food. finally, finally, i am truly knee deep into a health food kick that is delighting me. i am getting actual pleasure from eating beets, sunflower sprouts, spinach, kale, brown rice…it’s happening. i long for salads now, doused in nutritional yeast dressing.

i wish i could say i just woke up one day and was like ‘mmm health food.’ but i’m 32, i have been overweight my entire adult life [it gives me stomach quivers to write that to y'all even though most of you have known me a long time and you know i'm thick/fat/thick/whatever], and not because i have been eating so healthy.

i have been thick/fat/thick/whatever because i have been surviving, processing, hiding, socialized, fetishized, objectified. because i was given the wrong messages as a little girl by people who loved me. because i found a safety and anonymity, and then power in my weight.

it’s also become a sort of prison, a source of unnecessary pain and discomfort. as i have found new ways of experiencing safety and power, i am wanting to just be deeply good to my body, and i know losing weight is a part of that.

i have tried different programs to lose weight that were both body and mind related. most fat folks are obsessed with food, and i am no different. sadly, all of the programs fed into obsession with food, tracking every single thing that went in and only eating this kind of food or that many points or something packaged and mailed or liquids or…you get it. changing the specific angle of attack perhaps, but still making my body a target of food, with every bite, step, or word a weapon. as a result i, like many thick/fat/thick/whatever women, have vacillated between wanting to kill myself and wanting to kill everyone else and just wanting some goddamn pizza.

something has shifted. i don’t yet know what it will mean for my body, and my life. i won’t take it for granted, like i have transformed foreva-eva. but since i have been vocally positive about being thick/fat/thick…fat/whatever, i wanted to be accountable about this other side of it.

i want health now.

not an obsessive calorie counting gimmick fad phase of health that is a promise at the first of each year.

i want health that doesn’t hesitate to bounce up and down stairs, get on the floor with my niece and nephew or chase them a mile down a dirt road in minnesota. i want health that tears up the dance floor, gardens, swims and looks fabulous because i feel fabulous.

i want health that makes me believe i will be alive and WANT to be alive in my 50s – past the age my grandmother was when she died too soon. And in my 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s…however long is the longest you can happily be alive by the time i am an elder. I want to want to be there. i’m a futurist – i want to see as much of it as i can before i transition to the big spaceship in the sky.

and its not gonna happen if i am die-hard committed to being thick/fat/thick/whatever. not if i am seeing my body as a political statement of defiance against the men who told me “nobody wants to marry a fat girl” and “you are too pretty to say no.”

i want health that heals those wounds and more, and i know my body is telling me every single day that where i’m at is not healthy for me, for my joints, my bones, my skin, my poor liver and kidney and stomach who have seen the dark side of my secret self.

i am not saying that fat people can’t be healthy. i know that my body and mind have not been healthy since i was at least 13.

for me, unhealth has taken on many disguises – bread, cheese, sitting down all day every day, cigarettes, alcohol, obsessive working out and dieting, binging, purging. those are the external factors.

internally there are all of these voices in constant debate over my choices, something like:

“you gonna eat that?”
“damn right i’m gonna eat that. just cause you asked.”
“you know that’s not good for you.”
“why does she get to eat it and not me?”
“you better take a lot of it. what if someone else comes and takes it from you??”
“when do you get to eat again?”
“what’s for dinner?”
“it’s breakfast. why you thinkin’ about dinner?”
“luckily you carry your weight well.”
“yeah nice face.”
“except…”
“except for that one picture…”
“are you even hungry?”
“it smells delicious.”
“aren’t you full?”
“just one more bite.”
“no.”
*chewing*

i want health that feels like peace, of mind and of body.

lately i have been noticing a shift, in my mind, and deep in my soul. not a quieting of all of those voices, not at all. but i feel like i have been doing some kind of organizing, inside my mind, of my impulses.

i have been on a high horse about my right to be thick/fat/thick/whatever and still be sexy, desirable; while simultaneously wanting everyone to see fat folks with a different level of awareness and compassion. there are lots of healthy fat folks. AND there are a lot of folks who are symbols of everything that is going awry in this country in terms of the food choices available to people. this is certainly related to my food justice work – the more i learn the grand conspiracy of processed foods, the less i want to be a pawn in that game…

but i want to step out now, from the political debates, from other people’s ideas. i have to step into something deeper than that, for me – something my body knows.

my body knows i love to swim, live to be in the water, and am happier if i am in it every day.

my body knows what to eat – if i listen i can hear the call for stuff i don’t even know the name of. i often find myself accidentally eating something healthy and then learning it’s exact healing properties are just what i need. i am falling in love with simple healthy fresh foods. not raw, for me, not yet anyway. i like warm foods living in this cold place. but i like it fresh, and local, and organic. i like knowing who grew it.

i feel a butterfly just starting to form in this cocoon i crafted for myself almost 20 years ago, when i needed safety and transformation more than i could articulate. i hope that other people who are longing for health in their lives can read this and understand that what i am sharing is observation, the process of coming into deep awareness of myself.

simply being present with my own wants, needs, and reality is awakening senses that refuse to go back to sleep. i have been sleepwalking. now – i’m either yawning or roaring, but i can’t ignore myself anymore.

* title is from weak, by SWV, which has been on my mind after a rough winter (year? years) of knee injuries and hearing this song flit through my mind “i get so weak in the knees”…i want to reclaim it, getting weak in the knees only from love for myself and others, never from neglect. that is all.

6 Responses to ““it’s not a phase, i want you to stay with me” *”


  1. 1 dream hampton

    I love this. And you. And am with you. Let’s get healthy!

  2. 2 Latoya

    Appreciate ya. Especially for this. The intersection of politics and health is a rough one, particularly when one can acknowledge the problematic points of making the personal political. As someone on a similar journey, I feel you.

  3. 3 Gibrán

    Gracias Adrienne – I’m moved! “Eat Well, Exercise and Meditate Daily – the Revolution Needs You”

    I too struggle with unhealthy eating habits, I have lots of consciousness about it but very little action – I wonder where that dichotomy replicates itself in my life?

    Thanks for doing the work and for doing it in community.

  4. 4 Mia

    I love you, and I love your truth telling, soul listening, courage-to- be-vulnerable expression. I’m with you and excited to share in this exploration of health as I go through my own journey towards mental, physical and spiritual healing.

  5. 5 autumn

    adrienne, what a beautiful testament to yr struggle. I especially appreciate the recognition that often-times we are forced into a corner of having to be empowered around an aspect of our identity that is actually a burden for us, in order to be “with it” in the movement. As people struggling for a just and truly non-violent world, we should never force each other to politicize our traumas and insecurities when we are still in a process with them, no? love you.

  6. 6 Janine

    I come to this so very late, stuck as I am, often but especially this April-May of finals, in my own world. I have said this before but will leave it here as comment that I am so very proud of your honesty because we have had this conversation–whatever version of it we could bare to have whenever we had it–for a very long time. Homie, the truth is you really truly never ever disappoint me. Love you!
    J

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