Okay, so I have been on this forty plus and fine kick, going to the gym, watching my carbs and all that. Today was a little bit of a different experience for me.

Generally, I go workout early in the morning and since my husband goes earlier than me, I am generally by myself. Who goes to the gym at 5am? Apparently, a lot of men. I am always aware of my surroundings even when I go out to eat. I don’t put myself in dangerous situations and am always ready just in case.

Lately, I have found myself counting the number of people in the gym with me. Particularly, white men. If you know me, you know my husband is a white male so it is not like I am afraid of white men. However, with the videos and news, it is obvious that black people, especially black women are under attack. Some people may disagree with that statement, but I am a black woman who is very aware of my blackness. When you see me, you see a black woman there is no question in that.

Normally, I do the treadmill and/or the elliptical before doing weights.

Normally, I drink a whole bottle of water and a small cup of coffee before going to the gym.

Normally, I have to pause my workout to go to the bathroom.

Today, wasn’t normal.

My gym is one of those 24 hours gyms that have no type of 24-hour staff. The bathrooms are in the back with no door lock on the main door and a crappy one on the stall. The gym has windows in the front where you can see out, but not in.

When I got to the gym there was one older white man who is always there when I go. No biggie. Went to the bathroom (water kicked in). When I came out of the bathroom, a few minutes later another white man came in. I still had time on the treadmill so I could use the windows to keep an eye on everything. Then another one came in and I got a little uneasy. All the videos of black women being followed and attacked started flashing in my mind. I turned my headset down just in case there was a plan going on I needed to hear. I got on the elliptical and then guess what?

A fourth one came in. Hell naw! I promptly got off, grabbed my stuff and left out of the gym hurrying to my car. I was mad at myself for being scared. But was I scared or just aware? Would I have felt different if it was black men instead? I don’t know.

Nobody that ends up attacked ever plans on being attacked. These incidents are random and happens in unexpected places. I’m sure if I googled it, I can find a gym attack on a black woman, or just a woman period #Metoo, right? The sad part is, it doesn’t seem like the world is getting safer for people who look like me or my gender. I refuse to feel vulnerable living my everyday life so I have taken Krav and kickboxing. But today, I did.

For the first time ever in my life, I am getting my own personal weapon. I have always opposed guns due to my mother’s murder. Literally, guns make me have an anxiety attack. Guess I have to get over that.

When I got home, my husband hadn’t left yet. I told him why I left the gym early. As a man, I know he feels like he should be able to protect his wife, etc. But he isn’t always there and I am not willing to get up that dang early for the gym. So what did I do? I immediately ordered wrist pepper spray that I can wear at the gym and a stun gun.

I don’t have the solution, this is not a solution post. What I am telling you is this.

  • Be aware, but stop watching so many videos.
  • Be safe and ready to protect yourself.
  • Be ready and take self-defense classes.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.

Most of all, if your intuition tells you to leave, leave!


  • Valencia Griffin-Wallace

    Mentor, Speaker, Lover of Words and Black Tea

    Valencia Griffin-Wallace is a transformational mentor, award-winning author, and speaker in Louisiana. She is the owner of Define U, LLC which includes Define U Publishing, Radio and Movement. Her no-nonsense, unapologetic, but faith-filled approach sets her apart in a space focused on “me first.” She has worked with many women building businesses, publishing and more, while learning the rules of being an empty nester with a college-age son with her husband, David. Catch up with her here.