Start your eye rolling or be intrigued right now. As I'm writing this, I am picking at brunch that I made two hours ago because I wasn't sure of how to start this post. I'm sure that at some point of each of our lives, we looked at someone (or maybe felt up somebody if we're Stevie Wonder blind) and said to ourselves, "Shit, they're kinda big (or really slender)." I'll give you a few minutes to lie to me or yourselves to say that you're always PC and would NEVER have such a thought come to mind. Pardon me as I cough up a sleuth of profanity, you lying bitch. I hope you know that I said this with love. Nevertheless, this very serious Instagram direct message came in last night and I asked if I could respond to her via blog. Simply because I don't feel like she's trolling, let's call her Noli* for blog's sake.
Noli*: Hi Shauntay (or Latoya). I'm not sure which one you prefer. Your page is really inspiring. I shared your info with my friend Danielle* a few weeks ago. As you can tell, I'm a relatively thin white woman. I'm not that sporty but your blogs are so poignant. If I may, can I ask you how to approach something. Please please don't curse me out. I'm not a troll. I swear.
Me: Good morning Noli* and either name is fine. It's just a first and middle name but people go by both. Thank you for the kind words dear and for passing on my page to your friend. Hopefully I'm not too off the wall for her, LOL. I'm an open book, as long as it's coming from a genuine place. Be blunt and ask. I don't bite too much.
Noli*: Thank you. I had to put it out there. I follow your site a lot and while I laugh, I wouldn't want to "piss in your cornflakes" hahahahaha! My friend Danielle* is a beautiful woman. I like her a lot, like attracted to her but I'm concerned about her weight. Is there a nice way to tell her that she's fat? You are very tactful with your way of talking to people through honesty, humor and detail. I don't feel right saying to her that she should lose a few pounds. Plus, I don't even know how to tell her I'm attracted to her. You obviously feel comfortable with the word "fat". I whisper words like that. It's offensive to a lot of people. How do I start a conversation?
Mom: "I never asked you why you dropped out of high school, Toya? You really hurt me when you did that. I thought you did it to cut school with Eric (my husband). This is why I couldn't sign you out."
Me: "Being in love didn't make me drop out 'Mah; there was too much going on around me. If I stayed in there one more year, I wouldn't have made it. I would be in jail if I stayed in high school. Dad knew parts of my reasoning and this is why he did it."
My mother and I never had a civilized conversation about the topic until this week about the subject. As a parent to a ten year old, I know that children can hurt you in the worst ways and most times, it's not intentional. Constantly, parents and children are going through this battle of being misunderstood and I remind myself of this aspect every chance I get.
In high school, I was the intelligent class clown when I would show up. I made jokes, wasn't popular nor hidden but this was when I actually showed up to class. Tenth grade year changed many areas of my life and while I secretly loved learning, I hated being looked at oddly for my intelligence. I danced on this thin line of being just smart enough but holding onto the hood Bible testament of "Thou shalt not fucks with Tay or her friends." In turn, lunch time in the cafeteria and the gym became the battlefield. There were days that I grew tired of fighting or defending friends who would do dumb shit, simply because my ego told me to be the protector and cutting school, smoking on Gates Avenue or Monroe Street in the Stuy was my salvation, as long as I was able to connect with others to give me the coursework. I always came home with notes that were lent to by friends or someone that owed me a favor for 'snuffing' someone in the face for being a bully to them. I learned each subject, complete assignments and submit them via people but I couldn't do this tactic with gym class. In turn, I dropped out because of 7 gym credits, despite having the opportunity to graduate with a Regents diploma and practically an offer to go to my dream college at the time: Hampton University. So why did I drop out: Gym Class. Ironic huh considering I love the gym and running, right? Not really though.
Considering that I haven't been running consistently as I desired, I am not as ecstatic about tapering off next week as I thought I would be. This morning, I would prefer to cuddle with my freshly made chocolate chip cookies and half bottle of Nahe but I'm very rigid and discipline with my schedule. There's only enough wiggle room for me to workout later but rarely ever to push off until another day.
Although the week isn't done, I cannot help but reflect on my 20 mile run from Wednesday. Empowered is a great word to use to describe that run, especially since I finished the 18 Miler over the weekend. Originally, I planned to hit four bridges: Pulaski, Queensboro then cruise to Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge and if I needed more mileage, to the Williamsburg Bridge. Instead, I opted to battle the lethargic and view struck Brooklyn Bridge crowd during some of the worst times of the day. Parts of me wanted to strangle each and every tourist that stopped within mid stride to take a picture on my way there. I knew the views of the Hudson River running path would calm my nerves once I made it over.
New York Road Runners' Eighteen Mile training run was this Sunday. I was exceptionally nervous to be quite honest. September 17th stood strong in my mind for a number of reasons:
I constantly remind myself to trust my training but eating your own advice when running frantic and late isn't always the best feeling. During the train ride, I attempted to unwind in the middle seat, in which I despise since being the "big girl", by listening to my music while preserving some of my battery life through my portable charger. Once there, I followed a small crowd of frantic runners who were anxiously attempting to make to their respective corrals. Thanks to procrastination and a busy schedule, I darted to race central to pick up my bib and tee shirt. Obviously, I had the same idea as many because I was in line for at least ten minutes. It's been a while since I saw the line this long on race day. Once collecting my items, I checked off my items to baggage and heard the announcement for the staggered start. Guess being a back of the pack girl wasn't such a bad thing after all.
When I do not understand something, I tend to question every aspect of it. From many within one of my many circles, people often hear me apply the statement, “Define ______.” Most times, I am greeted with response; very few will feel hesitant because it is probably the beginning of my chain of questions. I’ve even been told from less than a handful that this simple statement graduates into a complex issue because I either already know the definition or I’m being a predator, looking for an opening to antagonize their fragile thoughts and statements. Frankly, it depends on what brought me there.
Since January 2017, the term “inspire” or referencing me to being an “inspiration” has been the top ten terms of the year that’s come my direction. If I go according to my online analytics, ‘fat runner,’ ‘running fat chef nigger’ and ‘fat running chef’ are my most generated terms in how to find me. But ‘inspire’, eh? This term both drives and burdens me. In turn, I’ll define inspire below:
Sometimes I want to slit the throat of every metaphor and cliche saying that comes within my proximity.
A few weeks ago, I had to modify my marathon/ultra marathon training into eight weeks. This way, I'll be in decent condition for the Chicago Marathon and pretty pumped for the TCS NYC Marathon & NYRR 60K.
August showed me every ounce of its ass to kiss because here I find myself balancing blocks in a twisted game of Jenga. Next Tuesday, I'll be going in for laparoscopic surgery. Yep, that's right kids. Goddamn surgery.
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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