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.