"all aspects of my life are focused on liberation and love, and how to become an expert at both."
-- shonettia monique
intro by k. ulanday barrett
how do you use food for healing or much different but more crassly put, self-medicate with food? as people committed to social change we skip meals during campaigns or finals week, we purge on bags of chips when we are broke and broken hearted, we slip out to diners after long nights of dancing to beautiful music only to dredge our organs with some deep fried goodies. we embody complexities striving for consistency in a demanding rough and rumbling world.
i know i have been guilty of eating processed foods(duh!), dairy heavy(2 words: goat cheese), not local, not the best for me- food. somewhere along those lines i can point to any of these factors impacting my thoughtless decisions to eat unhealthily. i was balancing 3 jobs, an abusive relationship, death in the family. or maybe not, maybe a core group in an organization just finished a major event and we went out to celebrate giddy and high from our impact. or it could've been right after a show where people were kind enough to celebrate with a table covered in food, the fortunate ones that we are.
having been a long-time chicagoan and pancake lover where 24 hr. eateries extends to taquerias and diners, i've digested a decent share of junkified heaven sent when the moment strikes whether it was joyous or joyless.
below is a good friend's essay that discusses how she personally relates food with music and healing. she asks pertinent questions to our community-minded spirits that i think we should ask ourselves more. why don't we crave healthy distractions? what does self-love take for women and queer people of color? and most importantly, how do we forgive ourselves, not for disappointing others but for own harsh self-criticisms?
i am not saying we need to stop and freeze our eating habits of anything that isn't green, local, and homemade (or am i?). i understand the limitations that finances and location can create when it comes to an organic vegetable- based meal. knowing me by now dear homies, you know i am not gonna jump with the quickness to be the representative to abolish all fried foods. however, what i do propose are the questions and issues shonettia struggles with in this piece of mindful and raw writing. how can we undo the rhythm of unsupportive nourishment when it becomes our go to, our escape plan? we all have our own theories about how food is used as a weapon, but what can we do to make sure we don't injure our own selves when we are most (physically and spiritually) hungry?thanks to gifted artist, healer, and dancer plus good fam, shonettia for her willingness to divulge some of her journey towards healing for our interweb eyes to examine.
My body is beginning to forgive me for tonight’s meal. I’m going to take a hot bath and create a Hyman station on Pandora, maybe write some more. I want to watch Lady Sings the Blues this week and cry with my beautiful survivor friends. For a bit longer at least, I’m going to move forward, singing I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues in my cracked alto.