Today, hours ago actually, I began reading the book Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls by Jes Baker. Jes is the Militant Baker and if you haven't checked out their writing, do yourself a favour...
Obviously it's got my brain working and thinking about how I occupy the world in my own fat body. How does the privilege of my whiteness intersect and interact with my fatness and my queerness? How much confidence am I allowed given the perceived transgression of my fatness? How much space am I allowed to take up?
So I decided I would use this space (since it's mine) for some reflection as I read through Baker's wonderful book.
First, please just call me fat. I hate your euphemisms. All of them. They aren't "kind" and they speak more to your fear of fatness than to any reality of my existence in the world. If you call me anything but fat I will ask you not to and I don't care if you feel embarrassed. And I know not every fat person wants to be called fat and not every fat person is comfortable with their fat or the word fat but for me... it's your only option. Spare us all the embarrassment.
Second, I don't want to hear about your diet. I do want to hear about the struggles you are having in your own skin, how it makes you feel and WHY you are struggling to love yourself. I will tell you you are beautiful, powerful and amazing and I will mean it. I will follow you on instagram and love all your selfies and call you a babe ALL THE TIME. I do not want to hear about your calories or your #fitspo or what you've been eating. SMASH DIET CULTURE and love yourself. Please. Run or don't, it's all good, but you're amazing exactly as you are in this exact moment. Right now. Don't wait for those 10 lbs or that 6 pack or that 5k. Do it, whatever it is, you totally can!
So here is some irony for you: I began reading this at the gym. I have been struggling with insomnia and shaky mental health lately and moving my body in rapid motion helps. It was good and I am still fat. Reading the book I had a little cry (because I often cry) and sent loving kindness and apologies to the female-appearing people I judged just a little.
And then I was gutted by just how complicated and tenuous my relationship with my body really is:
I head into something resembling a child's pose for the unflexible to stretch my back, my ass facing the whole gym, and I am overcome by the anxious feeling that the entire gym simply CANNOT see my ass like that... I am not wearing a thong and maybe they can see the cellulite and what if my pants have fallen down or my shirt has slipped up? I have to turn around and face them, protect them from my fatness. Intellectually I know how fucked up that is, but I was so taken by a need to hide my ass from the world of the YMCA that I altered how I took up space in the gym. And though I didn't cry again I was glad that the flush of embarrassment across my cheeks could be attributed to exercise and not shame.
I haven't gotten to the part in the book where Baker writes about sex and dating (it's coming) but I want to leave two last thoughts here today:
1) Yes, that is the dude I'm dating. No, he isn't fat. Yes, he is conventionally handsome. Uh huh, he is in that [insert cool project, band, etc] here. Yes, we have sex. I know! He's so skinny! I have dated a number of men that people find conventionally attractive. Some of them were lovely and some were assholes. Some of them broke up with me and I broke up with some of them. None of them cited fatness as a reason for our breakup (and if that was part of it I am thrilled they never told me). Shut up about that already.
2) Dear Straight Dudes, THERE IS NO TROPHY FOR DATING FAT GIRLS. There is no pat on the back and there is no reward coming for you. I actively do not care if all your exes were fat... I don't care if there is a "type" of fat woman (UGH) that you like better than another type of fat woman... If you don't like me for me, fuck off. I'm a person, not just another fat woman to earn your "good dude" badge by fucking. I am NOT a novelty. DATING ME IS THE PRIZE, PERIOD.
I would love to hear from y'all about this but keep your mean comments and "concern for my health" to yourselves, thanks!