Perhaps I should start off this post being exceptionally direct: I am NOT a feminist and honestly have no desire to become one in the near future. Unfortunately, there are several reasons why I am not but I want to spare you the thesis paper on how I feel about modern day feminism. I sincerely hope that my readers don't take this as a jab but merely like the rest of my blog, a collection of my thoughts.
I thought I should address this simply because I feel that it would be easy to box me into a category of such at times, particularly moments like these where I get on a bit of a tangent about things women take for granted these days. Running is certainly one of those of things that fall into this category.
For centuries, a lot of people thought it was outrageous for a woman to participate in sports, particularly running. Imagine a time where you could be persecuted for running for leisure as a woman? Well, in Greece, women couldn't even view the games without fear of execution. In 1896, women's participation in the Olympic Games was drastically reduced. Track and field was forbidden for many years. It took until 1928 for women to be allowed to participate in running events. When a woman fell after an 800 meter event, which was only for a few seconds, officials made a claim that the event was too strenuous for women to participate. In turn, women were banned from the event until 1960. This same year, a woman won the 800 meter event, reintroducing women back into the sport on such a grandeur level. Not even a year later, the Amateur Athletic Union banned all United States women from competing in road races. Obviously, we have grown globally from such primitive thinking on such a vast level. I do not want to neglect that such horrific outlooks still exist in this sport, along with others, to this day.
So why bring this up as a blog topic? Well, a chain of events happened over the last few weeks. Thanks to Sapphire Rebel, a beautiful blogger and model, I was featured on her blog "Tiger Stripes on a Tuesday." I spoke on embracing your stretch marks, weight fluctuations and coming to terms who I am as a woman, not just this physical shell that shift shapes more times than a remixed song. After sharing my story on Instagram, Facebook and through her page, I received a lot of positive feedback about being strong, inspiring and bold but received some "suggestions" as well, particularly from the male species.
Honestly, I want to embrace a petty moment but I find that moments of frustration can clout present judgments and in turn, damage future decisions. In turn, I found a happy medium. I decided to share a few monologues of actual comments that I received in relations to my weight, being a black woman and running because after all, I am a runner, right?
"Running doesn't take away certain things like being fat or ugly. Jenny Craig is life."
"I feel sorry for you. I saw your story and I am underwehelmd. I think too many of girls see these fat bitches in underwear trying to flex as a model and think its gon help. Lose some weight so you can run away from the ice cream truck."
"Yu got a fatty but yur leg cant cover that spare tire. Run fat ass run."
"Queen, you are a poor representation to black women everywhere. I see your posts on Facebook, tangents on Instagram and your lackluster workout videos. Just because you can do a few moves doesn't mean you should push your big is beautiful agenda onto other women. Black people think being fat should be glorified because people like you perpetuate stereotypes. Shame on you. How about you share your food diary to the public? Why don't you change up your routine from just running? When is the last time you went to a doctor? If you had a husband who cared about you or a friend that truly being honest, they would tell you to stop cooking that waste that you post on your Instagram account and try sticking to salads for a while."
Can you believe that I get comments like this at least twice a week? At one point, I was harassed by one "gentleman" for a month straight. I was ashamed to tell anyone about how much hate mail I get just for being myself and sharing a part of my journey because I didn't want people to look at me as a victim. Combining this with my seasonal depression, I tend to keep this aspect of information to myself.
I want to address all of these distinguished gentlemen here on this blog, a week or two later, where I have been able to calm myself down a bit.
Again, please let me remind you that this is NOT a feminist post or a male hating post. This is a post from my own personal experiences, hoping that some of you can learn from others' ignorances, as well as my own depression at times. Take that cliche term to heart: "Don't judge a book by its cover." I am not the strongest, certainly not the fastest and not a superhuman fat girl but I am certainly not pushing an agenda. Please learn how to respect others' decisions.
Not all athletes are a size 2 or 4 (and that's okay). Nutrition is certainly important. Training is important. Negative opinions are not. If you want a person to take you seriously, name calling will not take you anywhere.
I will not fake the funk for you guys. Some days, these comments hurt. They discourage me from running. There's days like yesterday where I got up, put on my running gear and sat home because I received one too many nasty emails. I intentionally don't open inboxes after a certain hour and avoid social media for 2 hour daily to block out negativity. My every day life is incredibly hectic. But you know what? I'm a goddamn bad ass. Too many people, especially women, fought too hard to get into this sport that I am enjoying and embracing. My Chicago Marathon is in 11 days. I am schedule for 6 events alone for October. This will be my second year in the New York City Marathon and I am trying to do all of it injury free. It's horrible that I have to dedicate an entire blog post to my "haters" ::insert giggle here:: but I am hoping that through my constant feedback, that it will empower someone else. For my fat girls, skinny girls, athletes and non athletes, stay inspired. Keep pushing. Never let another person define your worth because you are priceless.