May 28, 2017
Dear Anonymous Tumblr Admirer:
Like you, I prefer my racism clean, preferably washed in Clorox bleach, pressed to a crisp, served without a toasty blanket. Cold, poignant and to the point. I would resort to suggesting you to play around in your parents' worn down sheets with the perfectly cut out holes but technology brought us here today.
Sir or ma'am, since starting this blog, I received 133 pieces of hate mail to date and this one warms the depths of my asshole just like countless others. Unfortunately, you're not the lucky one who will have the opportunity to hurt my feelings today. I think you should take notes from some of the prior offenders. In turn, I wanted to help you attack my ego just a bit.
The most successful offenders to date used statistics, dug up alternative facts and sprinkled convoluted research in attempts of making me feel inadequate. You see, if you resorted to using a simple Google search for the word nigger, you could see the statistics of the incline of the usage of such term. Frankly, if you have done any decent research about me, you had a better chance of making me cringe by my favorite terms like porch monkey, spook and my all time favorites: Eggplant and Darkie. The word nigger is played the fuck out like cheesy oversized gold chains and mom jeans but you're trying to bring it back, right?
Anonymous, you are a basic bitch who had nothing better to do on your lunch hour, assuming you have a job, but to write me a heavy hitter one liner while eating a pathetic bologna and cheese sandwich with the stray hairs still intact. Calling me a nigger is one thing but UGLY... the nerve of you. Fine, I will let you have it because beauty thrives off of the eye of the beholder. But please, let me educate you on a small fraction of a host of people who have been called an ugly nigger:
When you took the time to write me this lackluster statement, you unknowingly added me to the list of some of the greatest who walked this earth. So as the millennial African American children who adore such coon terms as you, "Nigga, I made it!" Thank you for reminding me that breathing pisses folks like you off in the morning as you struggle to make yourself climax but your hands went on strike. Thank you for KEEPING me relevant. Thank you for thinking about me in your dreams, fucking up your REM sleep and even while you take a shit because baby, obviously I was that important. What kind of ugly nigger would I be if I didn't respond to my fans. Whilst some of my ancestors chose to turn the other cheek, I will proverbially knock you the fuck out. Unfortunately, there's not much that we can do behind computer screens and if you're fortunate, a fully functioning phone that doesn't require for you to steal someone else's Wi-Fi.
In short, the next time that you try to come for me, hoping to fuck up my emotions, know that before you, there were many who walked your path and failed. I deep throated insults like you since 1985 and like the cheap one night stand that you are, I will leave the pennies at the nightstand for whores like you. Make sure you clean yourself up on the way out. I'll replace your basic, irrelevant ass with another troll in a few days. Maybe they'll be kind enough to leave their name.
An ugly nigger name Latoya
P.S. I'm glad that you didn't call me a FAT ugly nigger because that one is getting old too. Perhaps you did do your research. Hit the theme music on your way out.
My body is conditioned to waking up at a certain hour regardless of what time I went to sleep at this point. Today officially marks four years of this fitness journey. On May 27, 2013, I didn't know what my intentions would be or what was my purpose in life. Here I stand, May 27, 2017, I still don't know my intentions of where I am going but I am much confident about my path. I woke up this morning with the intentions of going to the gym. Strangely enough, I picked out the same shorts that I wore a year ago today. I promise it wasn't intentional. All day, I had a host of things that prevented me from going to the gym. Some were distractions; others were priorities. When I finally had the opportunity, I went against one of my mentor's advice and read the comments from the Women's Running article on Facebook. Typically, articles that I'm featured in as of recent are laced with sprinkles of arsenic fat jokes but this was the first time I loved every comment on there. Sure, people didn't write these comments just to make me feel good. Hell, who knows if anyone even knew who the hell I was prior to the article but there was two comments that jumped out at me. In turn, I opted to keep my ass home and enjoy a rest day for a change.
Is the Conversation Deeper than Inclusion of Plus-Size Athletes?
In response to the inclusion of plus-size athletes in fitness being respected:
Same can go for thinner women. If I hear "eat a cheeseburger" in reference one more time, I'll scream. Leave people and their size alone. - Jacquie G.
I am sorry. Before this journey, I used to be one of those people who would heckle thinner women with terrible jokes, particularly comments at verbatim like "eat a cheeseburger." If it's anything that this journey has taught me is that size matters and it doesn't matter at all.
I've said it before on a previous blog post and I'll say it again: I'm exceptionally thankful for the conversation that body positivity and the visual presence of "plus-size athletes" in the media but it doesn't mean that it should exclude others from this dynamic.
When I lost the weight in 2014, I was reminded of how much ridicule that you get for being the "skinny bitch" on the track. I heard everything from "you looked better with weight" to all sorts of speculations about me being on drugs and look "sickly." People suggested that I should stop running because obviously I needed permission to "pick up the hot dogs again." These comments pierce the soul something deep at any size and while I don't engage in such shitty commentary these days, I must admit that I did in the past. For this, I apologize for shaming women like yourself just for being you. I think there's so many people out there who aren't happy with themselves on the inside that finding a community to belong to makes them feel safe for five minutes, even if it's at the expense of others.
"Plus-Sized", "Fat" & P/C Bullshit
Let's stop calling them 'plus-sized' for a start. - Pip D.
Baby, where was you in 2015 when all of the weight came back on? There's so much truth packed into such a short statement and then there's areas where I actually don't mind the politically correct bullshit.
You're right: Let's stop calling athletes like myself "plus-sized" and just call us what the hell we are: ATHLETES. You, my dear, get it. When people get over the shock and will either grow bored of seeing titles like "plus-sized" or "body positivity" plastered everywhere, this conversation might become a thing of the past. Hell, if this world is much more forgiving, fat athletes (and pardon my comfort with the term fat) like myself will be on level ground with the stereotypical views of "fit." In the meantime, unfortunately, 'plus-sized' is a coined term to not piss off the crowd who aren't as liberated or comfortable with the fat term being thrown around.
For several months now, I have talked either in private or on public forums with folks asking the same question: "How does it feel to be a plus-size/fat/larger/full figured...athlete?" What does it feel like to be a petite athlete or a regular ass athlete? Perhaps the question should be rephrased to "How do YOU feel about being an athlete?" If asked this question, I'd probably say that I feel a mixture between overwhelmed, excited and blessed.
At any size, athletes succumb to the pressures of keeping our diets intact, struggling to find a balance between our work, personal and fitness lives and being human. With the rise of social media and our eyes, hearts and groins indulging in all things artificial, it's easy to forget that we have worries, fears and insecurities too. Fuck, some days, I look in the mirror and see a whale and days like this morning, I am astonished by my solid arms, Amazon legs and level of confidence. To hell with labels: People need to work on their self-esteems. When more of us do this, signature terms like 'plus-size' will be obsolete. In the meantime, I think there's a passive need for these terms. Some people need to feel uncomfortable that a descriptive word has to be placed before a title or achievement for progress to be made. In the meantime, we all need to embrace the suck so others can stop pretending that the pink elephant has been in the room the whole damn time, eating popcorn and watching Married with Children.
Past, Present & Future
Dear Latoya (Shauntay if you're nasty),
You changed. And that's beautiful. I am thankful for your brilliance and levels of not giving a fuck about what anyone has to say about you. In 2012, you hit rock bottom like nobody's business and in 2013, you found yourself with an intimate set of friends and family after purging people who's lease was up years ago. Through fitness, attempts and failures, you are flourishing like a flower and not just any flower: A Perennial.
One day, I will wake up and I will no longer be a fat athlete. No prefix or safe descriptive term in front of my abilities. I will be able to retire #fatrunner and #plussizeathlete into an incinerator, although I'll be nostalgic of these trending topics. In the meantime, there's more work to be done, discussions that haven't even brewed yet and more people to piss off from their levels of comfort. There's more "plus-sized" athletes out there who don't even know that they're going to be hitting the pavement, swimming in deep waters or riding alongside me on the road as I yell at angry drivers because I'm a stereotypical New Yorker. In the meantime, let's work on more than just our bodies but molding our minds to respect ourselves and each other.
My day started out pretty decent this morning. I trained my 6:30 client for a hour, whisked my kid off to school and made a bathroom run before heading to my local gym.
At this point, many people are used to my bobble head jogging around with headphones for five to ten miles when I'm in the middle of marathon training or watching me lift shit up and putting things down when I'm going in for a personal death session. In my mind, I don't think I did anything different than my usual: I took a selfie, jotted down my entry for the workout of the day and picked up the equipment required to proceed with my routine. My typical corner was occupied by my cool gym bro buddies who happen to be in the middle of their regular but grueling 45 minute calisthenics session. One day, I might ask to join them, just not today.
I headed over to the mat under all of the vibrant circular lights and started my warm-up. I pulled out my speed rope to get in my standard 500 revolutions and around the 200 point, I was approached by a gym bro. Please insert your OH BOY... and AWWW FUCK here. Thanks.
From his eye contact from the 60th revolution, I knew he was going to say something to me. I thought my typical headphone move would be enough but nope, not this guy. He called me out over my imaginary music and I tried hard not to give him eye contact.
- CHICAGO!!! (I was wearing my 2016 Chicago Marathon shirt)
- You really need to jump up higher and slow down your speed.
- No, actually I'm fine but thanks for the suggestion. I like my method.
- Well, if you like terrible form I guess... You really aren't jumping high enough and you should use your arms more. It'll build up your chest. Did you know-
- Seriously dude. I'm good. Can I enjoy the rest of my workout?
- You don't have to get all defensive. I'm just trying to help you reach your fitness goals.
- Oh really muthafucker?! Fitness goals? Please entertain me on my fitness goals, sir. Are you a personal trainer? Did you ask for my age or health profile? My ailments? You should really train that mouth and brain like you do to your arms. If you're going to give me advice, at least give me SOLID advice. Fuck off!
- Thank you. I've been trying to wear my bitch repellent all morning.
This conversation never gets old for me because it seems like I wear shirts to the gym that screams "I need help from people who will injure me." In turn, I will entertain you with 6 ways to tell the obnoxious gym bros to go away.
Sometimes, I forget that a bulk of my readers aren't runners. Strangely enough, a lot of you read my blog for the following reasons:
Whatever reason why you're here, you are HERE! And for this, I thank you.
Dozens of people asked me this question before but I received a lot of inboxes on my social networks regarding a term that I used several times while at the AirBnB Brooklyn Half Marathon course. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm here to take five minutes of your time to talk to you about "chub rub."
Yesterday, I received my 15th half marathon medal from completing the New York Road Runners' AirB&B Brooklyn Half Marathon. How do I feel? Amazing. Blessed. Ecstatic. How do I feel about the medal? Frankly, I really don't give a fuck.
Unofficially, November 28, 2013 was the very first "medal" that I received from a Turkey Trot 5K done in a local park in my neighborhood. My official first race was the NYRR's Joe Kleinerman 10K that took place on January 11, 2014. I didn't get a medal that day because it wasn't one of those races. Fuck the medal; I remember the overwhelming feelings that took over my body on that day. I was nervous, overdressed and with my Black Girls Run sisters. Despite it not being my first time running before, it was an impromptu race. I was training for the Michelob Half Marathon, which was two months away.
Pardon my terrible memory but I don't remember who talked me into signing up for a race so sporadically but this is my personality. My indulgence had me at a start line with overpriced leggings that itched & chafed my existence, a heavy ass sweater, a royal blue poncho and a Uniqlo cold gear shirt. In hindsight, I was begging to be severely dehydrated considering it was 54 degrees that day. I felt semi decent for the first couple of miles but mile 4 murdered me. Whoever came up with Cat Hill in Central Park should be dragged by the hair and punched severely...or at least this is what I thought in 2014. An influx of emotions overwhelmed me and I cried for an entire mile. I remember looking over at Ethel (my 5'7 warrior standing in the middle) who I met for the first time on the course and telling her that I was considering quitting. The loss of my dad hit me like a ton of bricks so bad on the course. The fog thickened, rain reduced and the mountains of clothing that I wore slowly were stripped. I was above throwing away clothing onto the course so I dragged everything. Ethel wouldn't let me quit and once I started talking with her, other Black Girls Run sisters wouldn't let me stay in my head for long. I reached a bit over five miles and not having a name for runner's high at the time, I felt this urge to run. The course went slightly down hill, then flattening out and before I knew it, I saw the 800 meter sign. My runner friend Ngozi shouted at me to keep moving. Because I'm a closet cry baby, I let my tears shower the finishing mat and then it was over. Who cares about not having a medal. I finished a race and I was surrounded by incredible strangers who I now call an extension of my family. 2014 was a great year.
Three days ago, my friend asked a group of us on Facebook how often do we look into the mirror and actually like what we see. Ironically, I was talking about this particular topic with one of my best friends before seeing this post.
Mirrors. Selfies. Reflections. They tend to tell me something different every time I stare into them. Before running added a boost of confidence to my self esteem, I remember going through layers of insecurities throughout my youth. Small framed, big bobble head and so many people reminded me of my slim yet awkward shape. I'm not sure of your racial background nor does it really matter but one of the many stereotypes that resonated in the African American community during the 1990s to early 2000s was set into various categories:
In my mind, I didn't meet those qualifications and I couldn't help but wonder if God was real. If he or she is real, why didn't they give me a decent rack? Double A nuggets for breast meat didn't make me happy and my booty surely wasn't a J-Lo sized ass but you get the point. Nevertheless, I had good days of looking at my reflection and I could stare at it with some sort of comfort for a few minutes without it feeling strange.
Every ounce of me wish I was writing this blog in a better state of mind. I've been struggling with responding to messages on my social media platforms since Saturday afternoon. Since I know that I tend to be a rambler, this blog post will be the shortened version of how shit went left at the New Jersey Spartan Ultra Beast. If you read my blogs long enough, this means that this blog will take you about 15 to 20 minutes to read. If needed, read this in sections with a shot of Jack Daniels. I type a lot and talk a lot more in person. I'll link the second part of my blog, which will be more of a survival guide, when I'm done getting over my emotions.
Like all people in recovery at typical recovery groups, the best thing I should do is introduce myself:
My name is Latoya Shauntay Snell and I DNF'ed the Tri-State New Jersey Spartan Ultra Beast on April 29, 2017. Fuck it. I said it.
It's Monday morning and the clouds match my mood: Solemn. I hate writing out the entire statement so we're going to call the Spartan Ultra Beast, UB from this point going forward. The UB was the most humbling race that I ever attempted in my almost 4 years of running and one year of obstacle course racing. Some of my critical readers might think that I failed for the following reasons:
Latoya Shauntay Snell
For my pretentious ass bio, check out the about me page but for anyone interested in who I really am, make me a good meal at your house and I'll tell you a dope ass story.
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