No, those aren’t filters or special effects. On August 8, 2019 a woman tried to spit on me. She pulled in front of me and slammed on breaks repeatedly and wouldn’t allow me to pass. She cursed at me. Called me bald headed and ugly. Threatened to whoop my ass. Threatened to follow me to my job. Then, in one last heroic feat of anger, tried to pepper spray me from her moving vehicle. Why, you ask…because she said I cut her off in traffic. Look, I won’t get into a back and forth about whether I did or did not cut her off… Of course I don’t think I did and she (obviously) felt very strongly that I did… What I WILL discuss here are the conflicting and contradictory feelings this “incident” brought to the surface and the burden I carried in deciding between justice and, ummm…just-us?

After that incident occurred, I drove to work and sat in the parking lot shaking. I was fuming….angry…livid! I was stuck somewhere between being proud of myself for not responding in kind and pissed at myself for not cursing her the f*$k out!! Stuck somewhere between proud of my calmness under pressure, and feeling like a straight up pu$$y. Unsure of whether to admire my restraint, or question my lack of passion. My yin and yang weren’t meshing. I called for back-up. I sent the video (yes there was a whole video of these shenanigans) to my “circle”. Within minutes I had a myriad of responses….everything from “you should have whooped her a$$” to “you did the right thing” to “she better be glad I wasn’t there”. It seemed my circle had differing opinions on the proper course of action as well. But, as God often does, He sent back up.


me – hello?

My BFF – Girl, are you okay?!?!?

I sat in the parking lot and rehashed the whole thing with her. At the end she said, you did the right thing. She suggested I call the non-emergency police number and report the incident in case she truly did follow me to work to whoop my a$$. I did. I explained the incident and, at their request, provided the video. What happened next was a lesson in criminal justice that I won’t soon forget.

Time passed and that day was in my rear view. Oh blah dee oh blah da life goes on…and then, a letter. I came home to a letter in my mailbox and a subpoena taped to my door. I was subpoenaed by the Commonwealth of Virginia to testify for the state against (let’s just call her) Spitty. I immediately got a sinking feeling in my stomach — one that would occur again the day I arrived in court.

“Justice should not be contingent upon you having enough money to pay a lawyer who cares.”

I was asked to arrive early to meet with the Prosecutor, which I did. She asked me to provide my side of the story. I did. Then, she pulled out a compact disc (yes….a compact disc…lol), inserted it into her computer, and began playing the video from that day. Seeing it again brought back the same rush of feelings….AGAIN. As the video ended she turned to me rather matter-of-factly and asked “what would you like to see happen?”. My silence and blank stare must have tipped her off that I wasn’t really sure what she was asking of me, so she stated, “she has been charged with simple assault which carries a sentence of up to a year in jail, and a $2,500 fine..based on this video we can push for that sentence or we can pursue other options if you wish. Whatever you decide, I will present to her public defender.” Public defender? Jail time? Trials? Fines? Oh my… At that moment, my eyes began to leak involuntarily… I don’t know why (or maybe I do), but in that moment I was brought to tears. I wiped my eyes with the sleeve of my responsible-looking-for-court sweater and I looked up at the (black like me) prosecutor and I said, ” I don’t want to send her to jail”. We discussed other options (I’ll spare you the details) and came up with an offer to present to her public defender. After some discussion and a counter offer, an agreement was reached.

The final details of Spitty’s “punishment” aren’t important other than to note that it didn’t involve any jail time. In fact, if Spitty does all that was asked of her in the agreement, she could actually avoid this incident being placed in her criminal record. To me, that’s just-us. As I sat in the prosecutor’s office and looked at the mile high stack of cases she would have to try today, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of the defendants looked like me. While some (read – not people of color) can take a look at the case and make a decision on how to proceed based solely on the crime that was done to them, I somehow felt that I had a greater responsibility. I asked the prosecutor if Spitty had a prior criminal record. I asked if Spitty was convicted, would it hinder her chances of finding employment in the future. I asked what would happen if she couldn’t pay the fine. To me, these things were important in deciding how to proceed. What if I did proceed with asking for a conviction? What if she lost her job while sitting in jail? What if she couldn’t pay the fine? I personally didn’t want to be responsible for contribute to putting Spitty into the prison cycle — a cycle that won’t let you go easily once you’re in — not for THIS crime. As I watched Spitty’s public defender arrive 5 minutes before court began, with an even larger stack of manila folders than the prosecutor, I couldn’t help but think about how public defenders often get very little time to prepare for the cases that they defend on any given day. The person who argues for your freedom may have only known of you for 10 minutes before they have to defend you. Justice should not be contingent upon you having enough money to pay a lawyer who cares. Even Spitty deserves better than that. We all do.

Some may say I’m stupid for not pursuing a worse punishment for Spitty. I have indeed heard “I would have sent her azz to jail” a few times today. Some say that she had no regard for me on the day she spit at me and threatened to follow me and whoop my a$$. Perhaps. Maybe my decision was less than smart….who knows….? I suppose time will tell. What I DO know is that on this day I made a choice. I chose to believe that Spitty deserved another chance to get it right. I chose to believe that August 8th was a fluke for her and that she shouldn’t be ‘too harshly’ judged for her behavior on what may have been her worst day. I chose to believe that something else was driving (no pun intended) her treatment of me that day. Had she just lost her dog? Her job? Her man? Maybe her Christmas was cancelled. Maybe her fresh cornrows were too tight. Whatever the reason, I chose to believe that what I experienced was her worst behavior on her worst day, and that she didn’t deserve to be entered into a vicious cycle because of it. I am hoping Spitty received the lesson and will think twice about how she reacts out of anger going forward. Whether she does, or does not, “it’s above me now”… I just know that a woman who looks like me got a second chance today, and to me, that’s just-us.

Big Bish Bias

It’s hard being fat obese plus-size. All our life we had to fight…. We have to fight the stereotype that we all sit on our ass all day eating cake. We have to fight the trite movie stereotype that we are all lonely, running around looking for any man that will take us. We have to fight the stereotype that we are all one burger away from getting diabetes (which doesn’t even damn make sense). Sadly, today, we now have to take on yet another fight in the most unlikely of places. We have to fight against big-bishes-turned-skinny bishes. Woooo child….

Honestly, we’ve grown accustomed to the not so subtle big-girl hate we experience on a daily basis. We’re used to the not-so-plus-size models that are used to advertise plus size clothing. We’ve all experienced the men who want to friend zone us during the day, but are down to fuck us at night. We’ve all sat across from a never-had-a-weight-problem nutritionists or trainers who callously tell us to “just eat less” (Why didn’t I think of that?!?!?! *insert eye roll*). Trust me, we live this shit. But NEVER did we think that the shade would come from people who once upon a time looked just like us! Women who were once “one burger away” their damn self! The nerve. One would think that THEY would understand the “love yourself at any size” movement more than anyone! But since yall they don’t get it, let me attempt to make it plain. NO ONE is glorifying obesity. Not Lizzo, not Latifah, not Meghan Trainor, not Monique in her big girl days…not naaan one person. I’ve never heard not one person say be fat like me. What IS happening (for the people in the back not paying attention), is plus size women are finally saying we aren’t the fat lonely bishes standing silently behind our skinny friends waiting to be noticed. We aren’t sitting at home on a Friday night because nobody asked us to the dance. We’re not loud, aggressive, bulls in the china shop. We aren’t any of the overused, overplayed, outdated images that society STILL uses to portray us…!! Think of your favorite plus-size-woman included show/movie…. “Nobody’s Fool”…Amber Riley was all about helping Tika Sumpter with her man woes but had no life man of her own… “Insecure”….even “the awkward black girl” couldn’t bother to write a man into the script for her plus size friend…on a show where literally everybody was getting D…. “Precious”…don’t even get me started…you get the point. Big girls are always the friend or the comic relief in these shows and movies. Never the outgoing, desirable, go-getting lead…. Monique had her own damn show with her own damn name on it, and even she couldn’t land “the Professor” because she was fat…. Look. The shit is old. It’s as played as the abysmal percentage of black women Directors in the same industry. We are beautiful. We are fashionable. We are brilliant. We have husbands and kids and whole ass lives. We are single and dating and shooting our shots and making it. We are traveling and creating and securing the damn bag. THIS is the message that the Lizzos of the world are trying to portray. Not be fat, but girrrrl just because you’re fat don’t let it stop you from doing a damn thing you want to do in this life. As a black girl who has struggled with my weight since back when ABC was on the playground, I would have killed to have a Lizzo growing up. And how sad that in the year of our Lord, two thousand and twenty….when we are far more accepting and tolerant *eye roll* of people of all walks of life….we’re still taking the time to take jabs at big, beautiful women…. Pfft.

Here’s the deal Jillian Michaels all of y’all. You need to check your bias against big girls. Oh you don’t have a bias you say….? Maybe you don’t. Or maybe you hand your plus sized friend the camera to take the pictures of you and others when y’all are out…. Maybe you didn’t ask your plus sized friend to be in your wedding because she didn’t fit the look you were going for…. Maybe you gave her a judging glance when you saw her in the fast food spot…or looked at her outfit and thought “now you know she’s too big to be wearing that…” Maybe you looked at a big girl and assumed she was unhealthy or just one sammich away from getting diabetes…. Hmmm? Just maybe. Bias. Because the reality is not every big girl is out of shape just like not every skinny girl is healthy. Lizzo dances her ass across the stage and then plays the damn flute… Do you know how hard that is?!?! If she was huffing and puffing from being out of damn shape she wouldn’t be able to do it. So just stop….America, just stop….Jillian Michaels, just stop…it’s not her health y’all are concerned about. Y’all are mad because how dare she be big and beautiful AND have confidence and take naked pictures and date and not have a single fuck to give to any of you. I say kudos Lizzo. From all the black girls who took years to realize their value and beauty, bravo. You’re giving the next generation of girls the cliff notes on how to be un-apologetically you. How in the hell can y’all be mad at that?