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Doctors 'Don't Know What to Do' for a Black Woman With Anorexia

The Mighty logo The Mighty 6/17/2021 Ravone Fields
a man looking at the camera: a Black woman, profile, against a yellow background. © The Mighty a Black woman, profile, against a yellow background.

My black is too much. My caramel, sometimes semi-, called cocoa skin.

The hatred I have for it, when did the hatred begin?

The stretch marks that line my arms, that line my hips, that line my inner thighs.

They tell a story.

But all too often all I tell about food and eating is lies.

I am like a lioness.

But I am not grateful to be the leader of the pride.

See this hatred I have for my body.

Has caused me to starve and carve in ways which can’t it can’t be repaired…

Ways in which I cannot describe.

I have put lashes in my wrist and throat, like my African ancestors once did, and some still do.

Yet, here in America this ritual, this coping mechanism, this self-harm…

This sensitive subject is still such a taboo.

But so many of us have done it, why can’t we all come together and speak our truth?

Too many layers of stitches.

Too many self-inflicted scars to explain.

For this Brown skin girl that’s the least of her concerns.

You see, I’ve been raped, touched, felt up, rubbed on.


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All those names, they seem to use #metoo.

But let’s call it what it is.

We’ve been trafficked, exploited and sexually abused.

Back to this body of mine, that I refuse to regularly feed.

So many hospital admission, so many feeding tubes, so many PICC lines, too many IVs.

Dozens of doctors saying, “I’m sorry we just don’t know what to do.”

But if you went to school for 10+ years and don’t know how to help me, how the hell should I know what to do?

Didn’t you learn about this in school, read it on some book in the library, on a shelf?

I’m slipping away.

Black women aren’t supposed to have anorexia.

We are too socially and economically  “underprivileged,” some may say.

Who “intentionally starves this selves in the hood?”

I had someone want to say anorexia is a white rich woman’s disease.

So doctors aren’t sure what to do.

Just treat me like you have your white patients for the past 20 years, sir.

And I’m sure for me recovery is possible too.

For now this poem is ending, and that is where we stop.

No happy ending to share.

We are Black women suppressed, depressed, socially, economically living in systemic racism in a world that is so unfair.

But we too have voices that sit, hidden in the shadows, waiting, weeping, waiting just to be heard.

To be shared.

We are more equal.

Than you’ll ever know.

Our is pigment just a little darker.

And the fact that we were born in an unjust world.

Unfortunately, we may never get the privilege, like a blonde hair, blue-eyed, little white girl.

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