How much for those carrots? You are what you eat…

Today in my local town is one of two days when you can go to the Farmers Market, an event that the longer I live here in Maine is a truly joyous treat for me. Prior to moving to Maine, the farmers market was not a regular part of my life back in Chicago; of course its only been in recent years that farmers markets have really grown and become popular in many places.

This time of year, the harvest is finally coming in and today’s bounty included fresh raspberries, blueberries, glass bottled milk and a host of other goodies (including the first harvest of sweet corn that I will be eating tonight). All that said, the farmers market is not cheap, that quart of milk is $2.25 a bottle plus the buck deposit on the bottle and with elder child around we go through about 4-6 bottles of this milk weekly. I know I could buy the stuff at the store, where a gallon could be had for $4 but the milk I buy at the market is milked from cows that live about 10 miles from me by people I see every week. That gallon of milk at Wally World or large grocery chain comes from who knows where by people I will never see.

It was at my last stop at the market I ended up having a conversation that was the inspiration for this post, I was patiently waiting my turn when the lady in front of me starts trying to haggle with the farmer (this pt farmer/lobster-man that looks like a character in a Stephen King novel), she was pissed because the carrots were $3 a bunch. Now seeing as how I was standing in line to buy these rather gorgeous plumb fingerling carrots with aromatic green tops still attached, the conversation was amusing to me. It seems the gal ahead of me felt that $3 was too much for carrots since she could get em cheaper at the store, the farmer told her well you go right ahead but these carrots were picked by folks who work and get paid $10 an hour and who need health insurance. Well haggle woman walks away disgruntled saying his prices were too high and I ended up engaging with the farmer, who told me he gets that often, folks mad because his prices are high. Well truthfully he is the cheapest stand at the market and while he is a bit brusque in his presentation, his food is good and he always saves my eggs.

However all day I have been thinking about how many of us expect food to be cheap, no seriously, most large farms in the US are subsidized by the gubment so when we see food at a farmers market or see the organic stuff how many of us bristle at the thought of the extra price? I know I used to until I got to a stage where my stomach started getting twitchy and I watched the spousal unit sick from food poisoning and realized that maybe cheap food is a bad idea. Don’t get me wrong, I know in some areas there is no access to a farm, farmers market or places such as Whole Foods.

Back 14 years ago or so I stayed at my Granny’s house with elder child for a year on the south-side of Chicago and without a car, the only place to shop was the corner store where Wonder-bread was all that was offered for bread and most of the meat was grey, don’t even talk to me about vegetables. The vegetable offerings were mustard and turnip greens, anemic iceberg lettuce and the occasional bruised apple. Shopping sucked.

No, I am talking about folks with the means to get better food but who choose not to, yet food impacts our overall health. How many of us know folks with diabetes or other health ailments who if they simply changed their diet, they most likely wouldn’t need to start the day popping 6-7 pills? I know plenty folks like that.. folks who will pay a couple hundred a month to rock a nice relaxed hair do, who drive a nice car so they could drive to some place to get food but instead say “Nah, that’s too much”

Yet how can we put a price tag on our health? Moreso, in case you haven’t noticed food at the store is no longer as cheap as it used to be, seems there is a direct connection between cheap gas and cheap food.. now that gas is not so cheap, what you buy at Super Wally will no longer be as cheap either and less you think the prices are coming down, word on the street that no one shares, is that the prices will not be coming down. No, thanks to peak oil and the wealth explosion in places like India and China all competing for the same limited resources aka the oil… what used to be cheap won’t be cheap again.

That said, you are what you eat so if you have the means, treat your body right, its the only one you got and I don’t know about you, but as I get older I don’t want to be dependent on pills to live unless I really need them. No, $3 carrots sounds like a bargain.

Image of an Angry Black Woman

There are so many wonderful Black bloggers out in the blogosphere that write about current happenings that when I decided to start blogging, I realized it was not my desire to join them since while I am a news junkie, there are simply times when the news is too much for me. However there are times I feel when I need to add to the voices talking about current happenings and this is one of those times.

Unless you been living under a rock the past day or so, no doubt you have seen or heard about the very foul ass New Yorker cover showing Barack Obama wearing a turban and Michelle with a power fro and a gun strapped to her in the stereotypically angry Black woman pose while her and Barack give each other daps or as idiots at Faux News Network would say exchanging a terrorist fist jab.

My first reaction upon reading about this, this morning was outrage, followed by the slow and sickening realization that as always black women are under attack. Now I get the fact that this cover was supposed to be satirical but maybe I will find the humor when I see a depiction of Cindy McCain as a pill popping, cookie recipe stealer and ole MadDog McCain looking the crazed war monger one might say he is.. after all he is the fool talking about 100 year wars. As if the US of A will even be here that long, too many more banks go under and we will be the newest addition to the list of third world countries, but that’s not the issue here.

No, the issue for me as a Black woman is that for over 400 years in this country, the media imagery of a Black woman has never been positive, we are either loud-mouth buffoons, hyper-sexualized creatures, or at best we play the role of docile Mammies ready to selflessly give of ourselves while we wait to die and get our rewards in the sky.

Well last time I checked and I don’t know the woman but from what I have gleaned Michelle Obama fits none of those roles yet the media is insistent on placing her in a role that continues to undermine her womanhood and I am tired of it.

Depicting Michelle in this manner is not just an attack on the Obamas as a family but speaks to the greater disconnect in society that places lesser values on the lives of Black woman and girls. One has to look no further than the idiot box and whenever something bad happens to a white woman or child it is national news. Don’t let a pretty white woman go missing, it will dominate news coverage for weeks and days, while a missing woman of color only gets a mention in passing.

Yet people speak to why are those black women so angry, well maybe when our womanhood stops being assaulted on a daily basis we can stop being angry until then I am an angry Black woman in Maine and while I may not rock a fro and a gun, don’t let this mild manner fool you…

We must find our voice and speak out…. stop assaulting Black womanhood.

We must take care of ourselves

Today was a rare type of day for me, both the spousal unit and I were not working today, so I had the time to do some serious reading on-line and checking out other blogs. That said, there were several blogs I read by fellow sista bloggers that really hit upon something that has been deep in my spirit since turning 35 earlier this year.

Black women, sistas, we must take care of ourselves. I know personally I have a tendency to put everyone else before me even to the point of causing myself panic attacks. I had my first panic attack at 19, about 6 months after elder child was born. That first attack was so bad, I had to call an ambulance, I just knew I was dying.. after many hours and many tests, it was determined that I was just stressed out. That initial attack set the stage for something that I have lived with ever since.

In the sixteen years since that initial attack, I have had some good years and some bad years, the worse bouts were about 5 years ago this summer when my Moms got the news she had lung cancer, the time from diagnosis to her death was about 8 month and let me just say that during that time I was in full superwoman mode. After she died I was numb but I soldiered on becoming the matriarch of the family at 31, less than 3 months after she died I bought my first house and a few months after that I got pregnant with mini-me. Can you see where I am going with this? Never at any point did I stop and process any of it, I was like the energizer bunny, even after mini-me was born I threw myself 150% into parenting the second time around.

 Well the crash finally came, last year when I was teaching a class, in the middle of a lecture I nearly fainted, I figured it was an anxiety attack so I ignored it. Well, I will spare you all the details but a sista ended up being carried out of the classroom by the paramedics and rushed to ER. More tests, and once again the diagnosis was a panic attack, ended up getting some heavy duty drugs in ER to get me to unwind.

It wasn’t long after that attack at work that life hit me with some changes that made me cool my role as my Granny used to say. I lost my job and in the process of losing a job that sucked the life out of me got a whole new outlook on life. It hit me that I had to start caring about me, don’t get me wrong I love my family and friends but I can no longer give so much of myself that I have nothing for me. As Black women we have a tendency to love hard and sometimes that love is not returned as hard as its given.

How many times have we given emotionally and financially when deep down our spirit was saying hell no? I have done it too many times and I doubt I am alone. Yet how many times do we feel we can call on each other when we are in need? Probably not as often we like. I say this in light of a sista who died alone on a floor in a place that should have helped her. Esmin Green was at a psychiatric hospital in NY and from the reports on the news it sounds like a sista was having troubles, yet when she died alone on that floor, I want to know why the hell she was alone? The report I read said she had 6 kids, belonged to a church; where where the sistas and brothas from the church? Now I am not trying to slam anyone but as another blogger put it and I agree, any of us could be Esmin, as someone who suffers from panic attacks reading her story brought me to tears.

No, this is not right.. sistas not only do we need to take care of ourselves and recognize when we have reached our limits, we gotta take care of each other. As women sometimes we get caught in competition and games but as Black women we need each other, we need each others strength. Maybe if Esmin had had a sista-friend there, maybe she would still be alive but at the very least she would not have died on a cold hard floor all alone.

To many of us have forgotten that once upon in this country the only way to survive was to care about one another, all we had was the strength of our ancestors and each other. We need that once again, sistas we have to to care of ourselves and one another.