Like, what a month.
But really, what a…generation? Life? More than that? Yeah, more than that.
Which, as with many people I know, maybe yourself, has been a point of reflection in the last month. So, while this post isn’t for kudos or acknowledgment or anything like that, it is to be open. You’ll always know what you’re getting with me.
One: I started my anti-racism journey almost four years ago and let it fall to the bottom of my list. Because I have the ability to do so. That’s painful to admit, but it’s the truth. My privilege is huge. In the last few weeks, I’ve been reminded, as have we all – I have the chance to do better, I want to, and I will.
Two: I’m pausing, thinking, learning, and reflecting. On my whiteness, my socialization, our broader history and culture of white supremacy, my role in it, how I have benefitted from it. How I continue to benefit from it.
Cue: Point #1, and how I was able to go stand on this beautiful vista just last week.
Three: I’m doing all that with as critical an eye as I can. With as much critical thinking as I can. Doing my best to listen to BIPOC voices, while not further burdening them.
Four: I’m acting, in the same ways as above. In my capacity – which, yes, I understand is a privilege. Thoughtfully, and consistently. Applying persistent pressure, not always visible to everyone (which is kind of the point).
For me, it’s a both/and. Pause, and do. Listen, and speak up. Go inward, and spread outward. There’s no perfect way (perfectionism is a tool of oppression!), but finding any way, your way, no matter what, is non-negotiable.
Mine, for now, with an eye toward that persistent pressure is this:
-Finished Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman Jr.
-Ordered Me & White Supremacy + Fearing the Black Body + The Racial Healing Handbook for reading up next (Also, if you’re looking for some incredible historical fiction that’s so timely and rich, check out The Paragon Hotel.)
-Attended 3 online workshops (including Chrissy King’s Anti-Racism for Wellness Professionals, which was so great, check her out.)
-Dove back into finishing up Foundations of Social Justice for FitPros course by Dr. Tee Williams (You can get this, and the non-fitpro version on demand, which I highly recommend doing. Also, follow him on Instagram so he can get the swipe up.)
-Had many conversations about critical thinking and accountability with white friends
-Spoke up and asked questions that encouraged challenging conversations about race and social justice with people in my life
-Donated to local organizations doing awesome work, including Forward Through Ferguson (Such cool data coming out of their studies over the past few years, check it out.)
-Did some studying up about (actual, non-white washed) history (Really recommend White Rage for more in this department.)
-Asked about, researched, and started following organizations in Denver so I can start learning about what’s going on in the community, just like I have here in St. Louis, because local matters most
-Identified voting advocacy as a place I plan on contributing time, energy, and dollars in the next six months
-Put together a first pass anti-racism plan for myself and my business, which will warrant further fleshing out for specifics
I’ll fuck up, we all will. But as with any other goal or challenge in life, we keep going.
To be clear, this isn’t me saying what’s best or telling you what to do or shaming you for whatever’s going on or not in your world. It’s only me being open about what I’m doing, because that’s what we do around here. You always get to choose what you’re doing. If I can shed light on some options that might work for you too, great. If none of it’s for you, also fine.
But I also want to be clear that fitness and wellness and bodies are political.
This industry has roots in racism. And we cannot say we’re about health and self-love and success and whatever else if we’re not willing to look at what that means and to actively work toward making it possible for everyone.
What else all this looks like for me and for you: I’m not going to stop doing what I’m doing. Uncover, Unlearn, Unleash still applies, in fitness and in life. Fitness Unraveled is super important. Perhaps, it’s even more relevant, and a beneficial framework to utilize as we work through layers of confidence, body image, mindset, and fitness stuff.
I talk about everything counts all the time in fitness – guess what! Everything counts here too, and it’s the approach I’ll be utilizing going forward.
So as we continue to learn and live, and as we try to sort out work, kids, money, a pandemic, an election year, anxiety, working out, eating, sleeping, self-care, social justice, and like 300 other things – try not to freeze up, remember it’s both/and. Enjoy your summer, and support Black-owned businesses. Go camping, and read one of those books you bought two weeks ago. Start selling again, and set up an ongoing donation to your favorite org of choice. Get your workout in, and dismantle systemic racism bit by bit.
My reminder and yours: everything counts. I’m here (for you, and for all of it), I hope you’re here, let’s go.
For more notes on Uncover, Unlearn, Unleash, sign up for weekly emails here. If you’re ready to figure out what that looks like in your life or fitness, schedule a call directly below and let’s talk about coaching.