The Quest for Health: Improving the Mind, Body, and Genitalia

I’ve been blogging here consistently for a little over 2 years and in the past few months, I’ve tried to pull it all together and think about why I continue to write, why I want to speak, and what my focus is, or should be.

I realized that there are three main areas I talk about most and they’re all related to various aspects of personal health. I tweet, write/blog, and make videos all pertaining to how we can best live healthier lives.

Mental Health: I am a social worker and have been in social service for over a decade. I started out working in housing and homelessness and found that most of the people who I worked with had psychiatric disabilities. I became acutely aware of the disparities in health care options and the disproportionate impact lack of affordable access to mental health care was having on people of color and those in poverty. So, for the past decade, I’ve worked directly with people deemed to have severe and persistent “mental illness” (I prefer psychiatric disability), and most of these people have experience lengthy homelessness and/or extensive substance addictions. I’m currently completing my MSW in organizational leadership and management, as I’ve migrated towards social work administration, and I have a MPA and BA.

Sexual Health: I identify as a “Sex-Positive Black Feminist” for particular reasons. First, I believe that sex has been used as an oppressive weapon against women when it should be a tool of liberation for all people. The legendary master of musical whimsy, George Michael, taught me:”Sex is natural. Sex is fun. Not everybody does it, but everybody should…” The weaponization of sex, especially in recent times (as related to it being used as a weapon of war) has disturbed my spirit. I think of how people use sex as a way of distinguishing “normal” from “abnormal” (i.e. LGBT folks) or how “slut shaming”, the degradation of women who openly express enjoyment of sex, has really turned this wonderful, beautiful experience into some ostracizing dirty thing. I hate the inequality sustained by perpetuated sexual double standards. I hate that people legislate morality when it comes to women’s sexual behavior when men can’t control or profit from it. So, I write about it. Openly and honestly, without fear of reproach and push back because, in my most humble of opinions, my ass is large enough for everyone to plant a solid kiss upon it. Amen? Amen. I will continue to advocate for the rights of women and men to explore healthy sexual paths and feel free to try new things, alone and with others. I will continue to advocate for personal ownership and control over sexuality, reproductive choices, and legal supports of the right to make private decisions about our sexual reproduction. I will continue to speak up for those living “alternative” lifestyles and share my views and experiences. I will stomp for safer sex practices and advocate for better access to safe sex options for all people. These are important issues for me. I love writing about sex and I’m happy to be able to do so for Ebony.com in my “Talk Like Sex” column :)

Physical Health: I’m on a perpetual quest to get, be, and stay as healthy as possible. After peaking at over 400 lbs,  having weight loss surgery, developing a strong love for the gym, and embracing clean eating, I’ve definitely made a transformation that I would say has been nothing short of a personal revolution. Despite critics who say my opinion doesn’t matter because I had surgery, I continue to do my best to motivate others to live healthier and be the best they can be. Living healthy isn’t just about losing weight, despite the inundation of advertisements to the contrary. Weight loss surgery is no guarantee for anything; too many people who have any of the procedures gain all of their weight back and then some. Being physically healthy is about making the best foods choices to sustain our bodies and meet their nutritional needs,  keeping active and physically fit, and keeping them in their overall best conditions. I’ve taken on the task of using social media to bring people together to encourage and motivate each other to life healthier and make lifestyle changes. I speak openly about WLS to try and destigmatize it and present it as a viable option to help those who are severely, morbidly obese, because society makes them feel that they have to “do it on their own” to be accepted as “real” weight loss stories. I speak about the trials and tribulations of living life post-WLS, as well as all of the work that goes into continuing weight loss and sustaining it. I advocate clean eating because I think it can truly help us be the healthiest we can be by avoiding artificial additives, chemicals, hormones, etc. I advocate increased physical activity because we’ve become collectively one of the most sedentary nations in the world.

If you’re interested in joining me and others on the path to a better you, check out the Sexy Shred Challenge :)

For women, especially, strengthening our health in these three areas is of the utmost importance. They all work together to build us up to be stronger and more capable of taking on the world. We become empowered when we take control of our health and we can then have a greater impact on the world. This is a never-ending quest, for me at least. I’m always learning new things, finding joy in new experiences, and pushing myself to be better tomorrow than I was yesterday.

This is what I do, now. This is who I am. This is Feminista Jones…in case you were wondering.

XOXO,

FJLogo-Small

 

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2 Responses to “The Quest for Health: Improving the Mind, Body, and Genitalia”

  1. Denise says:

    FJ, once again, I must say THANK YOU! You speak so eloquently and passionately on your subjects, that I sometimes feel like a “fangirl” ~ but the truth is, I am drawn to your writings (and your tweets) because you speak truth so boldly.

    As the daughter of a woman with a psychiatric disability (thank you for that term, I had never heard it, and will be incorporating it into my own lexicon from now and into the future), I applaud you for pursuing that MSW (and will encourage someone with your strength, knowledge and unique insights to go for the terminal degree, too…but only if you find that it would offer you further options [and I believe it would]). Yes, people below the poverty line are hit the hardest by psychiatric afflictions…for SO many reasons, and people of color most disproportionately. *sigh*

    Where I gravitate to you the most is in your brilliant contributions through networking media to the realm of sexual health (which is my personal area of concentration, though my academic credentials are still in the realm of business for reasons too varied to go into detail about here). I believe that you speak for people of color spectacularly…but more than that (and I believe just as important for further-reaching reasons) you speak to human sexual interaction and experience in such a way that -while certain realms are outside of my focus- I have strongly considered asking you specifically for contributions to something I am working on (and I thank you for “Liking” Weird Sex Ed over in facebook) ~ I believe your voice is a powerful one, and one I would love to include in my efforts. I will probably contact you privately later about that, because there are a few different places I would LOVE your thoughts and perspectives.

    In the realm of physical health, I find you a genuine inspiration, and have routed many of my friends to follow you, especially with Sexy Shred ~ and I will admit here that I have followed the progress with great interest. I didn’t openly join because I was in the process of finishing my own terminal degree, and was uncertain about adding anything else to my already enormously full plate. However, now that I am finished with that, and more pathways are opening up, I’ve begun following your efforts (as well as others’ efforts) toward improved physical health. As a 40-yr old woman who has had her share of “mistakes” (eating/exercise speaking), I figure it’s never too late to get going on something that works to improve my own health…not for my husband, not for my kids…but for ME. And your voice has been an extraordinarily inspirational one in that, as well.

    I wanted to take a moment to express these thoughts to you. I know that I could make this a more “private” message, through various mediums…but I figured, why? You speak courageously…forthright, unflinching, honest…I figured I’d take a page out of your book…and instead of sending a tweet that might come across as odd and misunderstood…or a message in facebook from an essential stranger (which is, of course, true LOL)…and try to be at least a small bit as open, out in the open.

    Peace to you, FJ. And much love.

    Keep doing what you do! xo

    ~denise

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