Tag Archive: roxanne rhoda


wedding selfie

[Disclaimer: while in Americaland, the term “coloured” is a strongly negative term, in South Africa there is a unique group of people who have come from a heritage of different cultures but now have developed their own distinct culture. They are neither black nor white, nor are they mixed race, and they would call themselves ‘coloured’.]

 

We’re no different than any other couple.

Well, we are. Roxanne is from South Africa and colo(u)red and Greg is from America and white. The biggest differences we see between the two of us are our height and the fact that we spell words differently. So for this article, as we are writing it together, we will overcome inter-racial issues by spelling words both ways.

Recently, we were at a wedding where Roxanne introduced Greg to someone as her fiancé. This (white) man looked at her and then looks at him and the following conversation transpires:

Him: “Aren’t you colo(u)red?”

Rox: “Yes”

Him: “Don’t your parents mind?”

Rox: “Not at all”

Him: “Well, well done on you guys being progressive.”

Rox: “um… thanks?”

Thankfully, we don’t often have conversations like that but unfortunately there are still many people who think it is “progressive” for people to date cross-culturally.

We don’t.

One of Greg’s pet peeves is when someone says that Rox is “marrying up” as if the colo(u)r of his skin makes him a better person. He obviously feels that’s a load of horse manure.

Occasionally, we see someone do a double take in the mall, or someone asks an ignorant question, but actually, because we accept each other it doesn’t really matter whether strangers accept us or not.

We met, we fell in love. We have decided to get married. The fact that we are different colo(u)rs has not affected us in the least.  Actually, our oddness is so similar that it makes our cultural differences (which truthfully aren’t huge anyway) seem even less.  And our families love each of us individually and as a couple – why should race stop us from loving each other?

Yes, we have occasional disagreements but generally those are to do with us both being human beings more than the colo(u)rs of our skin.

While planning our wedding there have been a few cultural differences but those have been fun to discover. We will now have an American rehearsal dinner and a Colo(u)red catered reception – keeps everyone happy and celebrates both our heritages.

We love God. We love each other. And we love being able to celebrate being different with one another.

[To read the next story of mixed race and culture connections and meet Marcia Wells and Florian Adler, click here]

[For other conversations on all different aspects of Race-related things, click here]

biracial family selfie

this is a brave story from a friend of mine, Roxanne, who i met on a Christian camp many years ago and her story which she agreed to let me share as part of this series in the hope that it will really connect with others who are struggling with the same or similar things:

I am bulimic.

I don’t say I “was” in the past tense because the reality is that this is an ongoing recovery process. What I can say is that 6 years ago, on the 7th May 2006, I admitted to my family that I had this problem and that I was ready to get help.

So this year on the 7 May 2012 was my 6 year anniversary of starting to look after myself.

But my tempestuous relationship with food and my body began long before that.

I remember being about 11 years old when I first decided I hated my body. That I wasn’t pretty enough. That I wasn’t thin enough.

This all kind of came to a head in 2002 when I was in grade 11. I had lost quite a bit of weight due to being overly involved in all aspects of my school life and started receiving so many compliments from well-meaning friends and family about how beautiful I was looking now that I had lost weight.

Being insecure about my beauty this just added fuel to my already well lit fire about how I wasn’t good enough or beautiful enough. This combined with lots of things happening at home including my mother getting very sick – which was completely out of my control – put me in a strange place.

I spent most of my grade 11 year trying to control everything including my weight and my family life…by matric I was a full on bulimic.

The funny thing about bulimia is that it’s a secret disorder. It’s all about lying to yourself and others. Also, with bulimia – unlike anorexia, you don’t lose masses of weight, you kind of stay stagnant or see-saw. So it’s quite difficult for those even closest to you to pick up that something is wrong.

I spent most of matric hiding “my secret” from others. But I still felt that I was o.k. I was in control of what was going in and coming out of my body and that made me feel as if I was more in control of my life and my emotions – but I clearly wasn’t ok. I was bingeing and purging about 2-3 times a week at that stage.

While this was happening I still managed to fool everyone including myself that I was in an Amazing place with God. I was involved in Youth, Sunday school, was co-chairperson of my schools Christian Union committee and I even ended up taking my gap-year on a “SUMMIT” missions team with scripture union. It became harder for me to carry on bingeing and purging during my gap year as I was living in a house with 8 other people. I thought I had put silly “high school” ways behind me.

I finished SUMMIT and went on to The University of Cape Town. This is when things really got out of control with me with regards to my bulimia… I was up to bingeing and purging about 5 times a week but still felt I was in control. Bulimia became a coping mechanism for me – I’d be stressed, sad, angry, feeling out of control – and I’d binge. Then I would feel completely disgusted with myself and I’d throw up. It became a nasty cycle – but I still believed I was ok.

2006 was my second year at UCT and it started off quite difficultly. There were some issues in my family and the work load was more than double what it was the year before. Bulimia became the only way I knew how to cope. By February of that year I was bingeing and purging about twice a day and by April it could be anything up to 5 times a day. Still nobody knew. It was my secret and I think in some sick way I liked having this to myself.

With so much happening in my life I found myself in counselling at the beginning of that year and by April I felt comfortable enough to share with my counsellor what was happening. I had reached my rock bottom. I constantly felt sick – as I threw up everything that went into my body before any nutrients could do anything for me, I suffered from fatigue, migraines and dizziness, low blood pressure, stomach cramps – which I have since learned were probably stomach ulcers- and depression all as a result of bulimia. I realized that I wasn’t in control anymore…bulimia was now controlling me.
I eventually, with the help of my therapist, decided to tell my parents so that they could help me recover and get better that year. This brought new challenges as my parents didn’t know how to deal with this and in a sense how to treat me and trust me – they just weren’t equipped. But then again, when are parents ever equipped to hear that your child is slowly killing themselves.

It was a long road to recovery which included eating disorder units, bad therapy, and a very unhealthy relationship with a boyfriend that led to me becoming quite co-dependent on him, lots of tears and support from the friends and family members – those that I allowed in.

I still struggle with my relationship with food. But I’m healthy. And I’ve allowed God to do a healing work in my life. I’ve realized that my beauty has nothing to do with what other people think of me and everything to do with how God sees me.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t still have days where I look in the mirror and find it hard to see my beauty. What it does mean is that I now believe that I am deeply loved and have immense worth because I am created in the image of my Loving Father, God.

Also, allowing people who can hold you accountable to and having those who you can trust is very important. The Bible tells us in Psalm 28:13 that when we have secret sin we can’t prosper – but when we bring them into the light we receive mercy. So, being open about this secret helps bring me closer to my Saviour. So, when I’m low – I speak to those I trust and ask them to pray for me. It’s not always easy – but the road to recovery very rarely is.

If you are struggling with this – know you are not alone – LONELINESS is a lie from the enemy. Speak to someone, heck – speak to me. Hope my story is able to bring light on this very rarely spoken about topic.

You can follow more of Roxanne’s writing by checking out her blog “Called to Child Like Faith”

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