Loving My Body

I am Afro Caribbean, a mix of strength, beauty, black, brown, white.  The planet lives in this body.  European flare, a taste of Taino, the ease of the islands, the sun of the Caribbean, the robust curves of Africa, divine womanhood, in God’s image.

I’m done being angry at my body.  I’m done with angry with God about my body.  It is what it is.

This body I have, which I cannot exchange for another, has grown with me.  Literally.  Figuratively. I was born in it. Learned to crawl, walk, and run with it.  I have walked so many roads in this body! This brain, the only one I have ever had, has weathered so many storms! I can’t believe it is still able to learn new things, weather more storms, dream new dreams.  It is amazing.

My breasts have fed three babies.  Kinda gross when I think about it – I made milk.  But isn’t that really marvelous, too? My body knows how to sustain the life of a baby, without any instruction.  More marvelous yet is the fact that my body made babies. Literally. Figuratively.  As much as my body is mine, my body is also its own.  It knows what its doing. It speaks to me, It is good to me.  It is not perfect, but it is good.

These legs are the bomb. I often think they are ugly. Too much. Too big. Too sexy. Grotesque.  I wished they looked different.  Like someone else’s thighs, of course.  My thighs are imperfect, and I wish they weren’t. I have danced so many awesome songs, with such beautiful people.  I have walked stairs, climbed hills and little mountains.  I have worn kick-ass heels and cool shoes that added to my sense of beauty and gave me courage to rock the stage – more than once.  These sun-kissed thighs have hugged bodies sensually, and lap-danced and ran half marathons, too.

And now my eyes get teary.  Why be angry? Some people struggle to gain weight.  They try so hard, and feel so uncomfortable with their thinness.  Here I am, feeling uncomfortable with my thickness.  Other people try hard to gain – and I see their struggle, and I recognize that truly it is not their fault.  Why do I shame myself and my body? I work at it, I try hard to lose – how can I show myself the same level of compassion that I show people on the other end of the spectrum? How can I stay true to my body, and myself?

I have Hashimoto’s Hyperthyroidism. For the life of me, I know my struggle is real.  People have opinions and doctors have pills, and my friends have the perfect diet plan and take this shake and do this exercise routine and just wait and see and it works for everyone else it will work for you too…I’m done with it.

Here is my truth:

My body needs vigorous exercise, daily, in order to work right.  If I stop exercising, my body doesn’t know how to stay balanced.  Some will say that everyone needs to exercise.  Yes, it is true.  I also know plenty of healthy-weight people who exercise far less than I do, or don’t at all, and their weight is in place.  Their bodies know how to do that. My body is imperfect in this way.  I can fight it, I can deny it, I can pretend it is different.  Or, I can commit to giving my body what it needs, to helping it.  My body needs me to commit to vigorous daily exercise.

My body needs water. Lots of it. Every day.  There is no way around it. Gotta drink my water.

My body thrives on protein, and does not do so well on carbs.  It’s not about Atkins or Keto or Shakeology or Herbalife or SlimFast or Mediterranean or Glycemic Index. My body tells me what it needs, and I don’t always pay attention.  My cravings are meaningful.  My hunger is my body speaking. When I pause for just 10 seconds, I know if I’m hungry or not, what foods I need to eat, I know if I have eaten enough.

My Wakanda body is thick and muscular and strong. The colonizer scales and ideal weight ranges and BMIs and numbers and food pyramids don’t apply.  Period.

I, the being that lives in this body, knows what this body needs.  I can trust myself to take care of this body.  My body needs me to take care of it.   This includes providing rest, recreation, sleep, and knowing the difference between the three.

I can be angry that my body needs me. But that only breeds cynicism and self-sabotage.  Every body has their challenges, and this one is mine.  My attitude is now going to be one of love and care, acceptance and commitment.  Sure, I can wish my body was different, and I can be upset that it isn’t.  I can sit with the thought that it is unfair that I have to work this hard.  That has not been helpful. Ever. And it is time to stop that self-talk.

Here are my affirmations moving forward:

  • My body tells me what it needs, and I listen.
  • I give my body what it needs, including indulgence and moderation.
  • My body is imperfect and strong. Together we beat the odds every day.



5 Ways To Build Wakanda Now

After watching Black Panther in the movie theaters, I am even more inspired to bring about the kind of world where we celebrate diversity in thought and actions.  This has to include diversity in cultures – because what is culture, if not a collection of thoughts, ideals and values? Culture is also music, and art, and religion – but all of these stem from a world view, a framework for studying, interpreting and living in the world.

With that said, Black Panther challenged me to think about entrepreneurship in a different way.  Here are my major take-aways:

  1. Choose one problem, build one solution.  Wakandans evolved with their understanding of vibranium.  At first, it was the strongest metal on Earth.  Eventually, even its flower was used for special powers.  The energy it produced was harnessed and manipulated to power other technologies and inventions.  But it started as a strong metal, and they used it for weapons.  As I coach hundreds of entrepreneurs, the single most challenging task in the early stages is to get them to buy into the idea of NOT being everything to everybody.  They are so afraid to leave money on the table, that they build complex menu of options, and the potential customers simply don’t know “what is good here”.  Have you ever gone to a restaurant and asked the server, “what is good here?”.  Well, the good restaurants actually have an answer for that!  In the same way, an entrepreneur should be known for the one problem they set out to solve, and the great solution they found for it.
  2. Find your vibranium.  This one is composed of three parts.  First, realizing you (the entrepreneur) are vibranium.  Your unique blend of skills and personality, your life experience, your passion and your interests, it all has led to this moment in time.  You were not made to be excellent at everything.  You were created to be awesome at being you.  As an important side note, this is why I struggle with people telling me they are the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg… those goals are very complicated – there is only one Steve Jobs, and it aint you.  You can only be “like” him.  A duplicate, at best.  A good imitation, most likely.  Why settle for being second best, or almost “good”?  So BE vibranium.  BE kind, loving, generous with your gifts.  BE the solution to someone’s problem.  Second, get to using the vibranium as it is.  Before they learned to harvest and use the flowers that grew on the mountain for special powers, they were using the metal itself.  They found every possible way to use that tool.  In the same way, look at existing technology and find new uses and/or new markets for it.  The Global South does not need you to invent the internet…they just need access to it.  They don’t need you to invest AIDS medicine.  What they need is for the pills to be manufactured in inexpensive ways so that it is affordable for the poorest people.  Take what exists and do something new with it.  Third and final, play with the vibranium.  Sretch it, kick it, tinker.  Become the mad scientist, if you must, and create new technologies.  Figure out what happens when you make juices from the vibranium flowers and drink it.  Who knows! You might become the Black Panther.
  3. Use it for good.  In Wakanda, the biggest challenge was a moral one: What do we do with the goodness that we own?  All humans should and possibly do struggle with a sense of responsibility to their fellow man, and a burden to make a contribution to the human legacy.  People of color have a unique opportunity to be their own saviors – what a beautiful thing! Whether it is through sheer leadership, the introduction of an existing tool in a new market, or the creation of new technology altogether, POCs can make a strong impact in their world.  They (we) can heal our own souls and those of others simply by setting the intention of our hearts on the intention of the Creator, and wanting to bring about the ideal state that the Creator had imagined.  In other words, we get to be active participants in the restoration of dignity for all peoples of the Global South.  What a sobering yet inviting opportunity!
  4. Lead the revolution.  When King T’challa emerges victorious from the water, and raises that fist, reminding us of the Black Panther movement, we are inspired to follow him.  We immediately want to know more about this guy and quickly begin to realize he is leading from his heart and into the nations.  He doesn’t have it all figured out.  But people believe in him and take big risks to defend him. Lead.  Take charge.  Don’t be arrogant, be confident.  Believe in yourself and in others.  Trust your leaders and empower people to build and create.  The revolution started before you, but it also has to start in you in order to continue.  To the degree that you enter into the movement, you become the movement.
  5. Let’s do it together.  There is no reason to go at this alone.  Building is both an intellectual exercise and a team experiment.  In Wakanda, even the fighting against each other was for each other.  They were defending their dream of Wakanda.  Creating a product that sells is as much about your ability to create as it is about other humans having opinions about your product.  Learning from others and teaching others is the key to growing.  Let the tide raise all the boats.  As a startup coach, I know systems and processes that have been proven to help a business launch and grow.  If you are still sitting on an idea, or are prototyping, I can help.  If you are selling already, and can’t seem to break even, or struggle to stay in the black, I can help.  Work with me – let’s grow together.