How getting fit is an act of resistance for me
July 24, 2016 at 10:30 am
This whole fitness journey has been a struggle since the day I decided to activate it. My resistance to working out was strong. Eating healthy is not an issue for me, it’s the exercise. I used to give my trainer the evil eye when he would say, “Okay, we’re going to do three sets of 20 squats with the kettle bells.” REALLY, BRUH?! You really expect me to do 60 squats with kettle bells, my dude? I never complained aloud, but internally, there was a war going on. First, there’s the fear of the unknown. What would happen to me if I lost the weight? Then, my Type A personality kicked in. If I couldn’t be perfect at this, I’d rather not do it at all. I needed to achieve amazing results, ASAP! Lastly, it was just uncomfortable. Moving around in this body was cool if I had to walk somewhere, but other than that I tried not to make any sudden movements. I told my friends that I had a phobia of dancing in public, which was true. I tried not to run anywhere, even if I was late. I was the bob my head in the corner with a glass of ginger ale type of woman.
Then, black bodies started dropping… everywhere.
It’s not like police weren’t killing black people before Oscar Grant’s murder was filmed by a BART passenger all of those years ago at Fruitvale station. It’s just that because I didn’t see it so frequently, so in detail, so live, it wasn’t so much an integral part of my reality. There wasn’t name after name after name constantly on scroll at the back of my mind. Traffic stops had yet to induce panic attacks in me. I didn’t yet know by heart the cycle of criminalizing the victim that news outlets would relentlessly engage in. My natural hair wouldn’t be used against me in my story. If I were killed, they wouldn’t bring up that D I got in Chemistry in my senior year of high school. They wouldn’t even report on my death. I wouldn’t be news because maybe I wouldn’t die. My trauma was there, it was just contained. My resistance was there, too, it was just specific.
The filming of Oscar Grant’s murder changed everything for me. Neither my trauma nor myself were contained. I was vulnerable; exposed. I finally saw how bright the target was on my back, but I resisted it. I resisted the feeling for more years. I kept trying to push it down. This week I woke up out of my sleep in the middle of the night and asked myself: If you needed to, could you run? Could you fight back? Could you go days without your diabetic medication? Or could they use your unhealthy state against you? And I stopped struggling against my reality. I might not choose to march in the streets as a form of resistance, opting instead for other methods such as cooperative economics and education on intersectionality, but I also choose to resist with my body.
We talk about being warriors in our struggle for equality. My body is not a warrior. It’s not conditioned to resist. It’s not ready for battle, so now when I call myself a warrior, unless I specifically refer to my mind, I feel like a hypocrite. I can’t afford to be a hypocrite in the struggle. I have to change. I have to resist, and my resistance must be well-rounded. It will be hard. I will make mistakes along the way. But I have to give myself every single opportunity I have to live.