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No body is policed more than the black woman body. The black woman body is all wrong: too loud, too black, too big, too impenetrable (but too often penetrated), too coveted, too assumed, too bought and sold and re-purposed. Life has a way of taking the black woman body and we are in danger of never recovering it. We teach our daughters to hide the body, disguise it, refuse it, give it over to the gods of men, and when that fails us, and it always will, we teach them how to wrap it in shame and, if they are good girls, to apologize for it until the end of their days.
When my doctor told me I had 3 autoimmune diseases as a result of contracting Lyme disease, I looked him square in the face and said he was wrong, what I had was bone deep trauma working its way through muscle skin blood trying to escape. I began witnessing, In the late 90’s, black women friends sidelined by mystery illnesses of no origin or genetic tie. Almost always presenting as autoimmune disorders. I started to come across articles written about the increasing number of autoimmune disease diagnoses in black women — one such article appeared in Heart and Soul Magazine in the early 2000’s.