Wednesday, October 1, 2008

In Defense of Monique: The Connection Between Abuse and Obesity

Hey All!

Well, in spite of the old hormones, I have some good news to report - I lost another 2.4 lbs. bringing my total lost so far to (drum roll please) 9lbs.!! Not bad for September, baby steps....

I'm gonna take it down and be serious this post - don't worry, the funny will be back next time, but I needed to have a chat with y'all about something that has been bothering me for quite some time. Thanks to all of you for letting me vent (especially you Ms. Johnson).

Recently, the actress and comedienne Monique was featured on a special issue of Essence magazine. The issue was spotlighting full figured women, and there was an in-depth interview with her about her life struggles and issues that she has had to deal with. Ladies, if you get a chance, read the interview, I cried..

Anyhoo, a few of the blogs that I frequent made mention of Monique, the Essence cover, and how she is FINALLY starting to lose some weight. And then the comments rolled in.....

I am not quoting verbatim, but the gist of it was "She is too fat, it is not cute, how dare she make fun of skinny women, oh and did I mention that she is fat, 'bout time she did something about that fat" you get the idea.

I sat back and thought "Dang, where is the love?" Now, I could have been a troll and shook some thangs up on behalf of the big sistahs, but those people are kind of sad, and in the end, its just words on a page...But I do want to make mention of this one thing..

The article on Monique was not about her losing weight...It was about her ordeal as a victim of sexual abuse. The weight loss was a result of her finally coming to terms and dealing with what happened to her.

I tried to google "black women sexual abuse overweight" and surprisingly, nothing that I needed popped up, so I am making a guesstimation here until I can get some concrete numbers, but I would say that a good number of overweight sisters have been thru some kind of trauma or abuse at some point in their lives. And...I am including myself in that "good number".

Being overweight is not all about eating too much, being greedy, lack of self control, portion control, being lazy etc. If it were that simple, then there wouldn't be yo yo dieting and relapsing. I have been a "professional" dieter for almost 25 years now. Losing weight is easy - maintaining is the hard part.

See, I never could understand how I could lose the weight, look good and then pile it all back on within a matter of months. My last foray with my struggle, coupled with the fact that I am now over 40 and single, made me take a good long look at myself. Why was I still doing this dance, when so many others just lose and go on with their lives? I was truly sick of being big, and making excuses and, quite frankly FAILING at this game. Yeah, I tried to do the usual pep talk, "oh girl you allright, you got God, family, and the whole enchilada" but I knew that it wasn't going to work this time.

So, I took that leap, went back to my doctor (who was none too happy with me), and got a referral for counseling. It was time to deal with what I had been pushing back for years. It was (and still is) the most terrifying thing to have to regurgitate everything that I went thru. Some days, I had to talk myself out of bed, into the shower, out of the door and into my car, but I made it. I am not nearly out of the woods yet, but I can see the sun from where I am. And now, after almost five months of therapy, when I say that what happened to me was not my fault, I can truly believe it. And I can move on....

I guess the point to all of this rambling is this: None of the bloggers or commenters that I read mentioned Monique's revelation about her abuse and how she dealt with it. It seems that we are still sweeping the abuse of our sisters under the rug. I cannot stress this enough: We will not be able to deal with the obesity epidemic until we deal with its causes. We need to break down the myths and stigmatisms about getting professional help . And most of all , we need to be there for each other, not just lip service, but be that shoulder or that backbone.

I don't have all of the pieces to the puzzle yet, some days I cry tears that should have been shed long ago. But, I am starting to get some kind of clarity about my situation and I am ready to take the next baby step....

Well, thanks for letting me rant a bit - if anyone has any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you! We are in this together!

Next time: Tracy and Deb - The Scale Wars! Oh, and Grant is back too, with helpful hints on how to lift weights without having a coronary!

Til next time, You can do it!


Tamika said...

Monique's story is so sad...being molested and her parents not believing her.

On the weight loss tip. I too, often have issue with Monique because on the one hand she is hollering about being big and beautiful and not caring about being thinner and then you see her weigh fluctuating up and done. It sends clear signals that she is not happy at her size and should stop lying to herself and others.