The Fat Suit: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

Me and Ms. Agee
My grandmother aka Ms. Agee and I at my surprise 40th birthday dinner.

In honor of Mother’s Day and Mental Health Awareness Month my blog will feature stories, lessons, and narratives focused on both subjects for the month of May. I think there is a connectivity between the two subjects and if you know me you know that I don’t believe in coincidences. Mothers are probably the most in need of mental health self-care and we make the least amount of time available to check up on it.

Tonight’s blog is in honor of my grandmother aka Ms. Agee. My sense of comedic timing, my love of cantaloupe, my ability to be a human jukebox and so many other characteristics can be traced back to her DNA. May is also the month we celebrate her 90th Birthday.

Now, if you know anything about black grandmothers you know for sure that they will comment on one of three things: your weight, your relationship status, and your clothes. In the case of my sweet humorous Ms. Agee I was batting 3 for 3 when I visited her. My grandmother thought I was cute as a button in my thigh hugging lycra dress pants (us thick chicks love stretch whenever we can get it) and lady with the gold afro and red glitter t-shirt. She adored my hair and wanted some So Yummy hair products for herself. And she didn’t ask me about a certain someone who is really just my friend. However, when it came to me getting more junk in my trunk and a little round in my mound her message was clear, “girl you picking up some weight there”. The only thing I could do was laugh and say “hey I like to eat and I don’t like to exercise, I bet Eve had the same issue back in the garden of Eden”.

As I walked through her apartment her mind raced to a suit she had hanging up. The conversation went like this:

Ms. Agee: Nita, what size do you wear?

Me: 14

Ms. Agee: I have a suit with a leather shirt I want you to wear.

Me: Okay, let me see it

Ms. Agee: Shows me the suit

Me: Ms. Agee! This is a 10!

Ms. Agee: Then use this as motivation to lose weight. I want to see you in it before I die.

Me: Well, I have at least another 10-20 years to lose the weight. You aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Ms. Agee: Who wants to live that long? People that old are ugly. Take this suit and go lose some weight so you can wear it!

Me: Ok, girlfriend if you insist (laughing hysterically and shaking my head).

This is what I love about my Ms. Agee but especially older women. They have no filter and give ZERO damns about your feelings. Whatever comes up comes out. Whatever comes out comes up. But I know it’s coming from a good place. Within our conversation she reminded me that she used to be fat. I do remember this as a child, but she was more like a 14/16 which I don’t really consider fat. Seeing her through my child-like eyes I just remember her being large and in charge and I loved it. Her lap was always a place of comfort and rest. Her full face always wore a smile. And I remember wanting a behind like my grandmother’s. She had it going on baby!

But for now I have a size 10 black and white striped, leather shirt and lapel suit to get into. I guess I better get off of this computer and get on this treadmill.

Hell, who am I kidding where are my Nestle Tollhouse cookies and almond milk?



Brave Face Mamas: Not So Random Thoughts Before Bed

Photo on 4-14-16 at 10.57 PM

The month of May is connected to growth and spring. Today is May 1st and I can tell you right now for the last four months I have had the most growth and the longest spring that I have ever experienced in my life. My life’s been filled with highs and lows over the last couple of months. There have been times that I felt like the pressure would surely overtake me. Then there were times when the blessings just overflowed. However, the more I take time to reflect, the more certain I am that this is just the way of life. There are no shortcut to greatness. You have to walk through the wilderness and the garden at the same time.

So tonight, I want to briefly talk about brave face. Now you probably are wondering “what the hell is Vanita talking about?” Yes, it is true I do have my #ownbrandofcrazy. And yes, I know there is a fellow blogger, editor or writer somewhere cringing because I put an italicized-bolded hashtag in the middle of this blog. But guess what? My blog. My rules. Okay let me get back to the definition of brave face. If you are a woman who is remotely responsible for other people, places or things outside of yourself you know brave face well. Let me give you a few examples:

  • The face you make when people ask how many children you have. You say none. Then they ask why. Knowing in the back of your mind this issue is causing tension between you and your mate.
  • The face you make when your children ask what is wrong as you try to balance your bank account with the feelings of anxiety, frustration and worry in the pit of your stomach.
  • The face you make at work to your colleagues after you have been up all night working on the master plan to create a better life for your family.
  • The face you make at church when the pastor is driving down your lane in a sermon, but you don’t want others to know you are suffering in silence.

Yes, that face. The brave face. I am here declaring that as we grow up and spring forth in the month of May that we, especially us mamas stop with the brave face. That face holds pain, hurt, toxins and crows feet. We need to get real about asking for help. We are not weak. We are not needy. We need help. We do a disservice to ourselves and others when we try to fake it ’til we make it. If we keep putting on the brave face we may never make it to the promise land. Or at least be too damn tired and worn out to enjoy it.

This can be the Year of Yes  and the Year of No. We can choose to have a Daring Greatly mantra and a I  Am Scared As Hell moment. Who told us we had to choose? When did society, your narrative, or your family help you develop the brave face? Can you remember the first brave face you saw as a child?

After reading this I want you to follow these instructions. Close your eyes. Take in and let our three deep breaths. Say the phrase brave face. Whose face do you see? Release yourself and any other faces you see of this burden.

Your future self will thank you!

In honor of Mother’s Day please drop a message in the comment sections about how or why your mother, grandmother or signifcant woman in your life put on the brave face.