There are a disproportionate number of illness specifically harmful to black people. We are the highest in cholesterol , blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and on and on. My family medical history is something out of horror book. It includes mental illness, kidney disease, glaucoma, diabetes, blood pressure and other life-draining maladies. Ironically, my family history does not include terrible eating habit, sedentary lifestyles or generational poverty.
Recently, I am experiencing issues with blood pressure and joint pain and I decided before I just join the pill club I should do some research. What I discovered is that alot of our family issues was related to the endocrine system and specifically the adrenal gland. This particular gland is susceptible to stress which is throughout my familial history and that is factor for many black families. My father grew up in colonial Jamaica and my mother during the Jim Crow south. Whether there is the threat of financial instability, inequalities at work, hostile reactions in public, fear of walking down the street being subject to suspicion these are factors present today and even more intensely during my parent generation and beyond.
It is easy to begin to understand how stress has played a heavy role in my own family's health and the health of others. The challenge is there is some stress which you can avoid, how do you not drive if you need to, how can you not walk home if its only a couple of blocks, how can you screen every job to make sure its one conducive to a black employee, what if that is the college that has the specialty your looking for, what if there are no other political candidates on the ticket.
As black people we begin to swallow this as our reality and as a result we swallow the pain over and over. This is not relieve the responsibilities of blk people who make bad choices or who create havoc in their lives and others but there is a level of stress that is just being a member of this beautiful race.
There is a level of #everydayracism that we have to squash because its we can fight every battle. That lives in our system and no matter what food, or exercise or meditation we may need to do it is a daily battle to keep that coat of armor in front of us. More than 200 years later the aftermath of America's shame still lives in our system and those from the African Diaspora from other lands who experienced there own horror it written in their faces and many wounded, pain-riddled bodies.
This is something we must know and make part of our understanding of our bodies, we need to be gentle and informed when we enter that doctors office. Some of the bad choices that effect us are our own but some of the affects on our health we must not wear as shame but as deeper knowing that should be dealt with as compassion not shame or guilt.
An Actor/Director sharing her thoughts on creativity in this crazy metropolis, New Yawk Citay.