I can walk and chew gum at the same time

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I can walk and chew gum at the same time

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Writing has always been my cathartic exercise. When something is bothering me, I sit down, fingers to keyboard, and write until I feel better.

Today I got a comment that I just couldn’t shake from my brain for two reasons. One, because someone called out lack of blackness over carrots, but two, they made my white husband a scapegoat for it.

When you’re in a relationship like mine, you have a heightened sense of protection over your partner.

My husband, a white man, doesn’t necessarily need that protection from me. He walks through the world freely, being able to basically do what he wants at anytime.

When he’s with me, that changes.

We’ve had arguments about this throughout our relationship. He enjoys things that I’m apprehensive of because of my Blackness. I have to explain it to him, or point it out. And he learns from it.

There are also moments he’s witnessed – an older white woman scoffing at us holding hands when we were first dating, seeing the racial slurs and names people call me on the internet. Getting looked at differently when I join him somewhere.

He and I both feel this sense of protection for one another because we realize that some people don’t agree with our relationship.

But it’s hurtful, and disgusting for someone to question my blackness and say I’m “embarrassing” Black people because of him.

Your partner is not responsible for who you are as a person. His whiteness has nothing at all to do with my Blackness, and my Blackness doesn’t guarantee him an invite to the cookout.

Even more, this was said over something that wasn’t serious to me. I was making food for my own enjoyment. Not for perfection, not for critique, just because I found some beautiful Okra at the store, and I wanted to cook with what I had in my kitchen. I wasn’t sharing a recipe. I wasn’t calling it authentic, I was just having fun with food FOR ONCE.

The opinions of strangers will always be that. We will never change their minds, so I don’t waste my energy trying.

But, questioning my Blackness because my husband is white is out of line. It’s not uncommon, for people to think this, though. I’m not naîve.

I know people question my blackness all the time. It has happened for my whole entire life.

Recently, when I didn’t get my hair and makeup professionally done for a project and wore a t-shirt (what I wear in most of my videos), for a shoot, I didn’t love the way I looked, but to me it was a “whatever.” The brand did some editing on the video that made my skin tone look really…tomato-y. And my wig just looked crappy that day – I can admit that.

It was embarrassing for me, but also something I could just get over (with the help of lots of therapy, I’ve learned your physical appearance looking like garbage is honestly not the end of the world). I’m not a stranger to being called ugly or fat, or told my hair looks bad on the internet. It comes with the territory (it shouldn’t). People are inherently shallow. I’m guilty of it myself.

The brand was happy with the work at the end of the day, and we still have a great relationship.

Another blogger told me I was taking opportunities from other Black women, and when I don’t look the part it makes us all look bad, and keeps us from getting opportunities. I genuinely believe there was only love behind that feedback. And it made me rethink spending 2 hours doing my hair and makeup for video shoots if it really bothers other people that much.

But ouch.

I don’t believe the way I look limits other people’s opportunities. I genuinely don’t believe that because I consistently get opportunities from the same brands over and over.

But I do believe my hard work, good ideas, beautiful content, talent and recommendations to brands of other Black women creators go further than my looks do. That’s just me.

It really pisses me off when people think I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. I can embrace my blackness, my Black culture, my roots, and have a husband who doesn’t look like me.

So when some stranger who doesn’t follow me, who has no context, and who doesn’t know anything about me chooses those words – I get heated and angry. I’m tired of holding in that anger. Absolutely exhausted by all of it.

I guess, this is the tipping point of that. I’ve been holding all of it to myself for so long, that I’ve finally come to place where I can’t anymore.

I know it comes with the territory for some reason (again, it shouldn’t), but I’m sick of comments like this. Or comments about my looks, or my weight, or my lazy eye, or scraggly eyebrows, or the way I talk. I’ve been hearing it for my entire life. My mental health has taken a toll because it’s always a topic of conversation.

This is me. And if I’m not for you, I’m not for you. You have the option to scroll right by. Scrolling through is the best use of your time.

If I’m not Black enough for you, that’s not on me. Projecting your expectations onto a stranger requires some introspection. Maybe some therapy and time digging deep about why something like carrots in gumbo pisses you off so much.

I give a lot with this blog, and I don’t ask for much – if anything – in return. The one thing I do ask is that people extend kindness to each other.

We deal with so much shit living with diabetes, and the last thing we need is more unkind words and thoughts invading our personal space.

Me using carrots instead of bell peppers in a gumbo recipe that I’m cooking for FUN isn’t a great reason to call me an embarrassment to my race.

I could commit worse atrocities.

I try to write things with a point in mind, and I can’t say this has point. It’s mostly just that this blog is a space to share my life, and air my frustrations. And, at the end of the day it’s my space, and I wanted to get it off my chest.

This was a frustration for me today that I couldn’t shake off. Sometimes things roll right off. Sometimes things like this, don’t.

I think sharing my life on the internet has helped me develop a thicker skin. But there are just some things that I can’t get over.

So, I decided to write about it, and hopefully after this I can forget about it.

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Mila Clarke Buckley

Hi! I'm Mila.

I’m a millennial living with LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, a slow-progressing form of autoimmune Type 1 diabetes) I love food, travel, and my kitchen!

Hangry Woman is for anyone with diabetes – regardless of type.

I’m here to help you live your best life possible diabetes by showing you how to create simple, blood-sugar friendly and delicious meals. Plus, you get video cooking demos, essays on life with diabetes, and lots of weekly joy.

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