On Being Black and Homeless in the Gym
I just signed up for a gym membership. I’m losing the figure I had at the age of 25 and my body’s headed in the wrong direction. My thighs look like big fat potatoes.
I always desired membership in a gym. Unfortunately, there are hidden barriers embedded in the gym lifestyle.
I ran into two of my gym-mates while shopping for a robe at Marshall’s. The black woman made rude remarks about my hips and thighs — while her white girlfriend joined the ride. “You’re playing the race card,” I yelled.
I also dealt with a fear of undressing around white women in the locker room because of my skin color. The good news is that the white women are starting to speak to me.
All this pressure and weight came after I got the money together for a membership. That’s a barrier in itself when you’re homeless. But I need to get into shape so I can jump these barriers. I want to look 25 when I’m 50!
Tanya Bibbs is an artist and Street Sense vendor.