i am

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harlem, usa
same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. mjt975@msn.com.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A Visit With My Doctor

Every two months or so, I take a 75 minute ride to the Bronx to visit my doctor. I usually have to wait about an hour to see her; she is very thorough w/ her patients, unlike some docs who treat you like a number. I don't mind waiting, she's worth it. In fact, I feel blessed to have the relationship I have w/ my primary care physician. I always feel better after leaving her office.

My doctor is a 50-something Latina: progressive, warm & caring. She affirms my pro-active holistic approach to health care. I appreciate her attentiveness. She is an active listener. We communicate well, primarily because there is a level of mutual respect. She knows I'm lazy, yet open-minded to change, even when I (immediately) resist her suggestions.

For example, this afternoon we talked about healthy eating habits. I've gained 20 pounds in the last two months. I've noticed I've been breathing harder, more often the last couple of weeks. While I have asthma & bronchitis, this is something new for me. She asserted a number of conflicting factors may be at play: allergies, anxiety, humidity & my recent weight gain. I was both comforted & relieved by her insight.

She respects my affinity for fried foods - a killer in the Black community - particularly french fries. I got a love jones for french fries & barbecuse sauce! Though I've developed a solid regimen for organic and/or vegetarian dishes, I eat Popeye's Chicken at least once a week, sometimes twice a week. And, there's the occasional trip to the Chinese food joint for gizzards. She suggested I practice harm reduction by peeling off the skin & ordering red beans & rice as a side dish.

She got issues...

You see, the idea was not appealing to me, yet I realize the benefits are practical. Also, she wants me to STOP eating french fries. Forever. Forever? Forever, ever? I need to meditate on that one. How can I eat a turkey burger or veggie burger w/ out my vice? I'm innately rebellious, sometimes to the detriment of my own health it seems. Perhaps I should, once again, re-examine the tumultous relationship between food & my aging body.

I resent having to consider changing my habits. Like a spoiled child, or reality show contestant, I want my cake & prize money too. For a brother who was raised on grease, sugar, pork & chocolate, this is too much work for my brain to register. There must be some common ground here...still, I trust my doctor's experience & integrity. I know she has my best interest at heart.

Maybe a few changes here & there aren't that bad. Change is good for the soul. According to my doctor, I could breathe easier, feel better & save money. This is my health we're talking about, right? Besides, what don't kill you will make you stronger.


Bernie said...

Yes, but what doesn't make you stronger, may kill you.

EJ Flavors said...

i lost 15 lbs myself, and feel better about it. i gotta say it was a good thing.

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