I’ve saved a ton of money this year. Want to know how? Conservative politics, sexism, and racism are keeping my dollars in the bank.
First, move to a red state, the cost of living is lower, you’ll save time on figuring out which of your friends and co-workers are “-ist”, because most of them will let you know. Stars and Bars first clue, then the racist, xenophobic, sexist posts on FB second clue, and then third the “ist” things they say to your face because they wrongly assume that you’re hanging with them because you’re one of “the good ones” and “you’re cool.” *Side bar, I must admit that I do prefer all of the -ism’s southern fried, because it’s so damn efficient. I don’t have to spend years cultivating relationships only to find out how awful some of my so-called “liberal” friends are, it takes somewhere between five seconds to a few weeks to figure it out in the South.* So you don’t do brunch, or lunch, or anything with a lot of the people you know. You stay quiet for a myriad of reasons, personal safety being number one on my list . You stop eating out because the service is terrible if you’re black. You don’t waste your money on dating sites, because if you’re a black woman they’re a waste of time (this has nothing to do with my personal look or profile, it’s a statistical fact), no one is going to respond. You cut the cable cord because mainstream TV has become increasingly bland, and you don’t see positive images of yourself anywhere. You stop buying clothes because John Oliver got you woke, I’m tired of paying the pink tax, and I personally spend 90 percent of my time in spandex and my racing t-shirts anyway. My Fitbit broke, and I think long and hard about the factory workers in China before I decide to replace it, and if I’m supporting abusive or toxic working conditions.
Which brings me to how I choose to spend my fitness dollars, and the honest answer to my friends when they say, “Hey, you haven’t been to yoga in a while!” or “Why did you stop going to CrossFit?”
March 12, 2016,
I went to Battlefrog for my first real OCR. This was a test of my overall fitness and I failed miserably. The obstacle course was 8k. Running trails through water and woods, and over rough terrain, no problem. Obstacles that required total body strength and agility, more challenging, but I did them. Obstacles which required grip and pure upper body strength, total failure. I confess that I’ve never been able to do a single pull up, so hefting my heavy lower half up with my arms over twelve foot walls was impossible. I also accidentally did my penalty body builders in an ant hill (an 8 count bodybuilder is a military burpee–yes it’s worse than a regular burpee.)
I know my weaknesses and have sought self improvement, but I’m finding it increasingly difficult to properly train in traditional white spaces. I failed because I’ve stopped going to Crossfit, and Yoga. Two activities that have helped me make tremendous gains in boosting my natural beastliness.
I love the physical challenge of CrossFit. My old gym is a local business and is run by two very knowledgeable and good coaches, who are also veterans. I would love to join and support their gym, but I can’t.
I was uncomfortable the first time I showed up, I got stared at a lot. Not a new feeling. I often am the only black woman in the room. I don’t like it, but I’m used to it. After a few sessions, the stares stopped and I got into the workouts. I love the challenge, and I lost my fear of lifting. I had wrongly assumed that lifting would make my already muscular body, even bulkier. I was wrong. I have leaned out considerably. I seriously considered joining the gym until I discovered that the non-profit that is tied to the gym is Concerned Veterans for America. CVA is ultra conservative group, who posts support for scary right wing politicians, which is actively trying to privatize the VA, and is funded by the Koch brothers. Those facts and the strange FB posts with the owner’s who spend their free time in small groups with automatic weapons “preparing” scares me. I can’t actively support this business if I know that my money is funding what I believe to be catastrophic for an already broken healthcare system, which I use.
I love what my Yoga practice does for both my body and my mind. The woman who owns my Yoga studio, offers a generous veteran’s discount, and I would love to support her local business, but I can’t.
I was uncomfortable the first time I showed up…We’ve been over why already. After a few sessions I realized that the “Yogi’s” I share this space with are the worst version of stereotypical yoga enthusiasts ever! There isn’t enough space left in this post to go over the amount of awful that goes on in my studio. Just a few examples:
Overheard, two white men asked the new instructor who happens to be Asian, “Where did you practice before you came here?”
“To learn, I watched a bunch of YouTube videos.”
“Ooooh” snide “my yoga is more authentic than your yoga because I paid for it” tone and eye roll from the men.
From an instructor, “I just love yoga, but I don’t like what it is doing to my butt. I’m just not into that bubble butt look!”
In overcrowded class, “Hey, there’s an empty space right here!” Eye roll from lady who puts her mat right in front of the door to the studio which swings open and into her several times during practice, yet she refuses to move.
From an instructor telling a story that is supposed to be inspirational “….imagine that a young black man who wants to be known for his capability for change. How awesome is that? And if he can then…” She kept repeating that. The three brown yogi’s that night almost choked on our collective Ujjayi breath.
Running into the lady during a practice who skipped me in line at Staples, who looked at me like I was crazy when I asserted myself by saying “I’m next in line.” and rolled up to the register before her.
I’m starting to think that when we say “Namaste” we say “The light in me sees how dark you are!” When you have to take a Zanax before you go to yoga, it’s not worth it.
When I tell these stories to my friends. I get told how it’s not about race, or sex, or whatever. I get told that I’m being sensitive. I get told I should suck it up. The more I experience these things, and the less emphatic my friends are, the more money I save.
On a macro level, the more informed I become as a consumer, the less I want to consume. On a personal level; yoga (and I shouldn’t have to say this because yoga is supposed to be a holistic experience, and a lifesyle) you need to impart more social awareness in your customers, Crossfit your politics are bad for business.
I’m in full austerity mode America, so if I can’t appeal to the moral need to stop with all of the “-isms” then maybe when it starts to effect the economy you’ll get the message.