Last night I was working on a story about our cultural obsession with Before & After pictures. The essay is about how we vilify the fat person from the past in order to celebrate the perfection of the skinny success story that lives in the future, and in so doing forever delay actually celebrating ourselves in this present moment.
I was struggling to write this essay, and eventually realized that it felt like bullshit for me to try and write about my white-lady-body-image issues while the city of Baltimore is both crying out in pain and standing up in strength.
In my life, the issue of wellness, the theme of this blog, is about improving body image. About fixing bad eating habits. About trying new recipes. And maybe making time for meditation.
It’s not about a fear of getting killed by the very people sworn to protect me. I’ve never had to make a public statement that my life matters, because that’s never been in question.
Cops smile at me; they call me ma’am. They reduce my speeding tickets. They give me directions, and hold doors for me. They call a locksmith when I’m locked out of my car. I never have to worry that they might shoot me. Or beat me. Or strangle me.
The protests that are happening across America are important; the collective voices insisting on their own humanity are loud and vulnerable and powerful. And we owe it to our community to listen with our whole hearts.
“It is not enough for me to stand before you tonight and condemn riots. It would be morally irresponsible for me to do that without, at the same time, condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society. These conditions are the things that cause individuals to feel that they have no other alternative than to engage in violent rebellions to get attention. And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard.” — MLK, Jr.