Triggers and Trauma - Emotional Eating Briefly Revisited

This wasn’t going to be the post for this week, but unfortunately, the news of the murders of two black men by police officers sparked a change in this week’s topic. Though I didn’t witness either incident personally, seeing the videos of their murders briefly auto played on my Facebook timeline has caused trauma that I’m sure is being felt by many other black people like me. I didn’t need to watch the entirety of either video to feel the grief, sadness and anger that I feel right now.

It’s possible to experience symptoms of PTSD by viewing violent news, according to an article I read on Science Daily. I absolutely refused to watch the videos of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile being slain, because I watched the video of 12-year old Tamir Rice being shot to death, Eric Garner being choked to death and Sandra Bland’s traffic stop which ultimately led to hear death as well. I didn’t need to see two other men die on film. However, what maybe worse than those videos are the treatment of these victims by media outlets and the general public. The callousness in which I’ve seen people excuse the actions of these police officers, tarnish the character of the victim or attack those who say “Black Lives Matter” or “Stop Killing Us” is abhorrent. This is the trauma I experience when these events happen. It makes me wonder if I’m next. If this happened to me, what would the media say about me or my family? How would strangers on the internet justify my death? Would they see young woman who loves to cook, dance, read comics, watch movies and laugh with her friends? Or would they only see a young black woman who didn’t grow up in a two parent household, loves ratchet rap music and who isn’t afraid to express her love for her blackness?

Those thoughts really got to me this evening and for maybe about an hour, I felt a strong urge to dive into something sweet, salty, fatty and definitely not good for me. I needed food, my outlet and my friend to comfort me with each bite. I needed to feel something other than sadness and anger. I’m still feeling that urge as I’m typing. I know eating something unhealthy is not the answer. Actually, I know eating something isn’t the answer, period. But drinking a glass of water, confiding in friends about my urge and writing this little diary entry certainly helps. I could’ve gone to the gym for a late night workout, but to be honest, I didn’t feel safe leaving the house. Each night I walk home from the gym, I have to watch my back to make sure I’m not attacked while walking home but I also fear for my safety if I ever needed an officer to assist me. Again, would that officer see me as a citizen in danger or a danger to himself?

In another post I’ve written about emotional eating, I discussed triggers that contribute to bad eating decisions. This is one of them. Intense moments such as this call for my mind to find clarity among the waves of different emotions. Junk food prevents my mind from finding that. Deep breaths, meditation, writing and confiding in loved ones does. As I reach the end of this impromptu piece, my mind is clearing and the urge to find something to gorge is leaving. My heart is heavy for the families of Sterling, Castile and every black man or woman who fears for their lives and the lives of their loved ones each and every day.

I fear for my mother, sisters, cousins, uncles, and friends and hope this never happens to them. Our lives matter, too. I’m tired mentally and emotionally. I’m tired of people who look like me dying by those who swore to protect us. I’m tired of seeing the victims dehumanized by those who don’t want to show any kind of compassion towards another human being. I’m tired of seeing all lives matter as a way to dismiss our cries and pain. I. Am. Tired. 

And I hope you are too.

Much love,

T’ara