This is America

Someone posted a meme on Facebook showing pictures of people being rescued from the horrible flooding due to Hurricane Harvey. The caption read: “America is not what happened in Charlottesville. America is what’s happening in Houston.”

Bullshit.

America is both.

America is Joel Osteen not opening up his megachurch to Harvey refugees just as much as it’s a preacher going through floodwaters to search cars for people who might be trapped.

America is a Nazi running down Heather Heyer just as much as it’s two young people rescuing folks with a kayak.

America is the people price gouging water and food during a disaster while people share and donate to aid charities.

America is a president screaming that CNN is fake news while those same reporters are rescuing folks trapped in their houses.

America is “17 year old male found fatally shot in the backseat of a police cruiser in Akron, OH” while SWAT team members in Houston, TX are carrying children to safety through floodwaters at the same time.

America is ICE leaving immigrant women and children stranded at a bus station and a community group swooping in to save them.

America is the richest citizens criticizing those who didn’t leave Houston while a 60 year old woman wades through waist deep water to get to her $10 an hour job.

America is the $700 billion military unable to assist in a major disaster while the Cajun Navy is deployed.

America is Texas politicians asking for financial help for Hurricane Harvey after denying help for Hurricane Sandy.

America is a place that experienced Hurricane Katrina, but learned very little from it.

America is all of these things.

America is a brutal. It was conquered by genocide and built over their graves by the bodies of slaves. It’s racist, sexist, homophobic, and xenophobic. It’s prejudice and oppressive to the poor in favor of the rich. A person’s worth is determined by their job and their bank account. Right now, the voices of hate are being emboldened by those in power as they demand walls and pardon men who violate the Constitution. You know. That sacred piece of paper with all of those amendment and the Bill of Rights, though it seems that most folks are only keen on the first two.

But America is also human. There’s a lot of love and kindness confined in these arbitrary borders. There’s hope, too. There’s resilience and courage. And you see that when you watch a woman rescue bats from underneath a bridge so they don’t drown. You see that with the teenagers rescuing people from Hurricane Harvey in their boat. You see that in the small group of young people who stood holding up a sign denouncing white supremacy while they were encircled by Nazis bearing torches and throwing salutes. You see that at every Pride parade. You see that when 15,000 people turn up to shout down hate.

It’s all America. All of it. It’s a tightly woven tapestry of horrible and terrific. You cannot untangle one thread from another.

When you say “this isn’t America”, you’re discounting the experiences of others, you’re disregarding history (if you even bothered to learn it outside of those standardized tests in high school), and you’re turning a willful blind eye to the injustices and suffering around you so you can focus on an ideal that doesn’t even exist.

America is not great. America has never been great. But, America could get better.

The first step is admitting it.

This is America.

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Rerun Junkie–All of Your Favorites Are Problematic

One of my favorite episodes of The Monkees is called “Monkees Chow Mein”. The four guys inadvertently intercept a fortune cookie filled with top secret information at a Chinese restaurant. The CIA get involved. BJ Hunnicutt is there. Hijinks ensue.

And Joey Forman plays the head Chinese guy, Dragonman.

If you’re not familiar with Joey Forman let me assure you that he is a very funny man who is definitely not Chinese. His portrayal of Dragonman involved scotch-taped eyes and a stereotyped accent. It’s a somewhat less obnoxious version of yellow face, but there’s no doubt that it’s yellow face.

It’s problematic, to say the very least.

So, how can it be one of my favorite episodes? Two reasons. One, it’s funny and most of the humor in it could have been achieved just as successfully by Joey Forman (and his right hand man, Gene Dynarski) not doing yellow face. The lines and the antics would have been just as funny because it had nothing to do with the stereotype they were portraying.

Yes, I realize there’s a lot of privilege involved that it allows me to approach this episode from that angle.

And two, being a rerun junkie means that I’ve learned to accept that my favorites are going to be problematic.

It’s a simple matter of history, really. These shows are a product of their time, whatever their time is. That’s why you see a lot of racist casting (e.g. white people playing minorities) in the ’50s, ’60s, and even into the ’70s. The stereotypes continued all through the ’80s and beyond.  Misogyny and sexism has run rampant for decades, so it’s always available in reruns. To be fair, the shows can’t help it. And it’s far too late for them to change.

That’s not to say any of it is right, of course. These things might have been common then, but even at the time, folks had problems with it. Pernell Roberts reportedly objected to the racist stereotypes of the minorities on Bonanza. And Van Williams repeatedly tried to get Bruce Lee a bigger role on The Green Hornet, which the producers reportedly refused because they didn’t want to give too much focus to a non-white actor instead of the star.

So, when it comes to reruns, it’s a matter of acknowledging that at the time this was the practice. They’re time capsules of cringe-worthiness, syndicated reminders of our sketchy, shady, seedy TV past.

Even shows that did their best to be socially conscious (for their time) still stumbled. For example, Barney Miller often tackled topical 1970’s issues, some of which are still relevant today. And it largely succeeded in addressing those issues, at least in an illuminating sort of way. But there are some episodes that missed the mark and as a result have aged terribly. The episode “Rape” attempted to address the laws (or lack of laws) pertaining to marital rape. However, done in the confines of a 30-minute comedy…yeah. The tone-deafness only rings clearer as the years go by.

These are the landmines you risk as a rerun junkie. It can make for uncomfortable viewing and in some cases all of the logical rationale can’t save you from the oogy feelings. There are now episodes of my favorite shows that I avoid because I just can’t.

Retaining perspective is the key. It’s a good thing that these issues are noticed and that they cause discomfort. It’s a sign that things have progressed (somewhat) and that the old status quo has long spoiled.

Ideally, I’d like to do in-depth posts about the different issues that crop while rerun-watching.

But for now, I continue to come to terms with my problematic favorites.

Warning: Fat Girl Walking

Sometimes, if it’s nice out and I have reason to go, I walk to the post office. It’s barely over half a mile there and back, but I do it to get a little exercise in the course of mailing whatever it is that I need to mail. Plus it feels less wasteful than driving the few blocks there and back (unless it’s gross and/or I’m running a bunch of errands that day, then I don’t have a problem driving).

I’m not the kind of person that likes to walk if there’s not a purpose to it. And for me, walking only for the exercise is not a purpose.

When I was in grade school, I had a teacher obsessed with exercise. As such she’d take us on walks multiple times a week, making us walk long distances as fast as a bunch of fifth graders could manage. My fitness-minded mother often walked in the evenings after all of the daycare children went home. For at least thirty minutes, she’d power walk around the neighborhood to exercise. A couple of times she made my sister and I come along. She complained that we were too slow. We complained that it was pointless.

Now that I’m grown and no longer at the mercy of fitness-minded/exercise-obsessed adults, I only walk if I have a place to go and a purpose to fulfill. That makes sense to me. If I want to exercise, then I do yoga or I belly dance. Walking to the post office to mail something is bonus exercise.

But walking anywhere means that I am a fat girl walking.

For some reason, this is a sight to behold. People seem to find it very interesting. Eye catching, really.

Okay, yes, some of it is my own paranoia and projections, but we all know the truth of which I speak.

People LOOOOOVE to tell fat people to “take a walk, fattie”. And then when the fat folk do, they’re met with looks, glares, smirks, and sometimes even nasty comments hurled from vehicles as they pass. Thankfully, that last one has never happened to me. Most likely because even at my nicest I strike people as someone who will cut you.

If you can picture these two occurrences as a Venn diagram, they’d damn near overlap to form a flawless circle.

Now one would think that people so fatphobic that they offer unsolicited advice about exercising to lose weight would be supportive of someone doing just that. But no! You see, the underlying message here is not only should you not be fat, but you should also not attempt to alter your state of fatness in public. These people are only interested in the before and after pictures on the commercials; they’ve got no interest in witnessing the journey.

Furthermore, if these delightful humans found out that some of us fatties aren’t even walking to lose weight, that this is just a little bonus exercise to get things done, or a preferred method of cardio with an eye on fitness, not the scale, well, I imagine they’d be so offended by the notion that they’d melt from the heat generated by them frothing at the mouth and screaming about why this approach is WRONG.

Or, perhaps what would be the ultimate worst, that some fat people don’t walk for exercise. Not to lose weight, not for any modicum of fitness. They walk because, well, humans don’t hover. Sometimes bipedal transportation is just the only way to go. Think of all the fat people judged because they’re using mobility scooters. Now think about how those same people are judged if they’re walking around.

That judgement doesn’t change much does it?

You know what else doesn’t change?

Fat people walking around in public. That’s going to continue to happen for all of the various reasons listed above. Humans gained the ability to walk upright at some point, have been using it as a mode of transportation for ages, and well, despite all insults to the contrary, fat people are human too. We’re going to continue walking about in places where everyone and your God can see us.

So, if you do happen to see me on one of my post office walks, smile and wave.

Otherwise, keep on driving.

“I’d Never Sleep with a Fat Girl”

There’s a flip side to the “I like big girls” coin and it’s called “I’d never sleep with a fat girl” or some variation of that sentiment.

Oh, yes. It is indeed the same coin. Because declaring that you’d never sleep with a fat girl isn’t that different from proclaiming that you like big girls. It all boils down to the same thing.

Centering the conversation around what gets a guy’s dick hard.

Now, in my personal experience, I’ve had more dudes tell me that they like big girls than that they wouldn’t sleep with a fat girl. However, in the case of the latter, it seems to always be a desperation move on the guy’s part. You can almost smell the panic, almost hear the alarm bells ringing in their head.

Oh my God! I think this fat girl might like me! My friends would never stop giving me shit for that! Quick! Say something to reject her without actually rejecting HER.

I am oblivious when it comes to flirtation. I don’t know when people are flirting with me and I don’t realize that others can interpret my behavior as flirtation when I’m just trying to be my usual funny-to-cover-up-my-awkward self. This sort of interpretation leads to the above panic.

And to my own confusion.

I once had a guy say straight out to me, “I would never sleep with a fat girl” and it was so out of the blue that I was momentarily baffled. It wasn’t until later that the I figured out that the guy was having “fat girl panic”.

On another occasion I had a guy casually remark that he could never date a girl with cottage cheese thighs. I can’t remember how this came up in conversation, but it was so oddly offhand. My first thought was along the lines of “Good luck with that”. Again, thinking about it later I identified the comment for what it was.

Listen, fellas, just like it can be cool if you like big girls, it’s also cool on the flip side of the coin if you don’t. If you’re HONEST about why you don’t. And why you feel compelled to declare it.

Would you never sleep with a fat girl because it’s honestly not your aesthetic? You like them just fine as people, as friends, but for whatever reason, a woman with a generous helping of curves doesn’t get your dick hard? That’s cool. No need to shout it from the rooftops unprovoked like a weirdo. It makes everyone uncomfortable and you look like a jackass. Let it come up in conversation naturally, if you must. Or, if necessary, let it happen in private with the fat girl you’re certain is digging on you and the feeling is not mutual.

But if you wouldn’t sleep with a fat girl because what would the guys think? Wouldn’t consider it because the guys would rag on you endlessly? Even if you really liked the fat girl in question? Even if she got your dick hard? Because the guys would just give you way too much shit? Then here’s what you need to do, skippy.

Get new guys.

Because those bros are reading from society’s worn out script. We’re talking cheesy ’80s sitcom worn out, my dude. And not the good kind of cheese either. It’s a rerun even I wouldn’t watch and I watch them all.

Announcing that you would never sleep with a fat girl is doing more than just stating the obvious, sports fans.

It’s also blaring just how cowed by society and insecure about it you really are.

So, no worries there, guys who would never sleep with a fat girl. Fat girls wouldn’t want to sleep with you anyway.

Because that frail ego flailing? Not a good look.

“I Like Big Girls”

It never fails. Whenever I point out the bullshit way society treats fat women, drilling into everyone’s heads that they’re somehow unworthy of any sort of love, sex, or happiness, some dude needs to jump into my mentions with the same tired statement.

“I like big girls.”

Really? Well, good for you. If you’re looking for bonus points for bucking society’s rules of attraction, I’m afraid I’m all out of gold stars. Sorry, fella.

Tell me, my dude, since you’re so keen to make this all about you, why do you like big girls?

Do you like them because you’re genuinely attracted to them? Is that the aesthetic that truly pleases you? The image that gets you hard? Or is it convenience that they represent? The worn out thought that a fat girl will settle for the less of the less, any crumb of attention thrown her way, therefore she’s an easy score and good for your ego? Or is it something in between? Sexual gratification solely because she’s fat with little regard to what kind of a human she is? Or that she’s human at all?

I know that guys like big girls, despite what society instructs. Even if I’d never been hit on by a man in my life, the fact that people find my blog searching “mature chubby fucks” would clue me in. And I know, deep in my cold, black heart that for some guys, fat girls are just peachy. They’re into them for the whole package, not just the aesthetic, not just for perceived convenience.

It’s the declaration that grates me right down to my last nerve.

Guys, take a little advice from a fat girl. Instead of loudly proclaiming “I like big girls” at every opportunity, why don’t you put some fucking thought into your words? For clarity’s sake. Saying you like big girls is lazy and muddled. Just be clear. If you get off on fat girls because that’s your fetish, own it and say so. If you like fat girls because you think they’re desperately easy, then say that (I can’t guarantee that this will help YOU out any, but it will do many favors for the rest of humanity). If you dig fat girls because that’s your “type”, then say it plainly. And if you think that society’s rules about who deserves love, who is allowed to be attractive, who is qualified to be sexy is fucking bullshit, then put that thought in the appropriate words and shout it from the fucking rooftops.

The point is that this conversation need not be centered around you, champ. It’s not the time for free advertisement for your dating profile, nor is it a good opportunity to look for a pat on the back.

You can be supportive without involving your own ego.

Try it. You might like it.

At the very least, you won’t be irritating the fuck out of this fat girl.

Because Nothing Says I Love You Like I Have To

**I’m specifically focusing on het couples in this post because it is in the dynamic of those couples that I’ve really noticed this particular socialization of Valentine’s Day**

heart raysAs a career single person, it’s easy to dismiss anything bad I might have to say about Valentine’s Day. I mean I obviously must be bitter that I’m spending this day of love alooooone, no one to buy me roses or candy or take me to a restaurant that required a reservation six months in advance.

Well, allow me to assure you that I am pleased with my own Valentine’s Day celebration, so this post is not in anyway reactionary to having coupledom shoved down my throat in a pretty pink heart-shaped box.

Rather, it’s the culmination of years of observation of this rose petal bedecked holiday.

After working in the jewelry department at Wal-Mart for three years, I’d come to consider Valentine’s Day as a jewelry extortion holiday. Watching boyfriends and husbands come in and look at the contents of the cases, hopelessly lost, praying for a divine sign that would point out the right gift that would prevent their girlfriend or wife (or girlfriend and wife) from being mad at them. Truly, the romance gymnastics these guys would put themselves through for the women in their lives, knowing they were being judged and scored and compared was really gross to witness.

It was enough to make me swear off the holiday in the event of ever becoming coupled (I also really like watching Vincent Price movies, so I can’t imagine that suddenly going out the window just because I acquire a partner; more likely I’d be like, “Here, sit next to me, hold my hand, and we’ll watch Vincent murder his wife together.”).

In the last week or so, though, the flip side of that extortion coin showed itself.

It’s a trope we see everywhere, in movies and on sitcoms and even in the mundane day-to-day. Guys forget Valentine’s Day, have to scramble for something last minute, have to be FORCED to do anything romantic, get shit from their buddies for attempting any sort of sentimentality, have to be nagged by the women they supposedly love to show them a token of that supposed love.

Let’s face it.

The bulk of Valentine’s Day profits are made off the idea that men are only allowed to show their love one day out of the year. Two, if you want to count anniversaries, but Valentine’s Day, thanks to a constant bombardment of social peer pressure, is the big one.

Think about the constant reinforcement men get from society. It’s sissy bullshit to show your wife or girlfriend that you care about them outside the acceptable boundaries of a specific day. If you’re a REAL MAN, then you only show your love when you’re FORCED to, either by nagging or by Hallmark. And even then, you do it in the most uncreative, cliched, FORCED way possible so nobody suspects that you actually want to do this, even if you maybe, kinda, really do.

And women accept that as normal. They don’t even question the absurdity of it because they’ve been told their whole lives that this is how a REAL MAN is supposed to act.

As someone who’s been consciously uncoupled for the past ten plus years, for whom Valentine’s Day is largely a spectator sport, I find it really fucking weird.

Like, in what way is any of this enjoyable? It looks like the most painful dance since the Achy Breaky.

But it’s a popular dance, one people are ridiculed and pitied for not doing, a dance that people long to have a partner for just so they can do it.

Thankfully, at my advanced age and expert-level singleness, I’m pretty fine with being a wallflower here.

I’d rather dance with someone more in sync with an offbeat rhythm all year long.

For the Sake of My Sanity

mirroredYesterday was Bell Let’s Talk Day on social media. It happens once a year to raise money for mental health and end the stigma around mental illness. Naturally, I participate on Twitter by using the hashtag. As someone who deals with depression and anxiety, mental health is something I think about probably more than people who don’t suffer from any sort of mental affliction.

I say that I deal rather than struggle because honestly, I deal more than I struggle. Last winter was a struggle with my depression. This winter I’ve been dealing with my depression. I deal with my anxiety far more than I struggle with it. I deal without any sort of meds because that’s my choice. I’m sort of lucky that I have the option to deal without meds because I know that some people don’t have that choice. Meds are necessary for them.

I was first officially diagnosed with depression when I was 20, but there’s no doubt that I’d been suffering from it for several years by then. And here I say suffering because I was truly suffering. I had no concept of how to deal with what I was going through because I had no real grasp that there was anything wrong with me. I thought I was just a shitty, defective human.

Since then, I’ve learned how to deal. It’s been a slow process because I do everything the hard way and I’m a stubborn person. I’ve also had to overcome the fact that I’m prone to self-destruction and a lot of the way I internalize the outer world has led to forming ideals that are harmful. It’s only recently that I began to accept the concept of self-care as something that I deserve.

It seems that in the last year or so I’ve taken a giant step in owning the shit that hinders my mental health. I’ve come into so many situations lately, situations that I would normally subject myself to because reasons and be totally miserable, and instead of doing the normal, I asked myself, “Why the hell am I doing this? It does nothing for me.” And then I’ve excused myself from the situation.

For example, I avoided Facebook for like a month. It was doing nothing for me. My friend’s page looked like a Klan meeting happening at a tent revival while a cryptic Days of Our Lives episode played and the English language was repeatedly mauled. Of course, it wasn’t all bad. There were some good things, some funny things, some accurately spelled things. But I had to wade through such shit to get to them. I was checking Facebook multiple times a day because I didn’t want to miss anything, didn’t want anyone to feel slighted if I didn’t like the sixth profile picture in a week or that album of baby pictures or that status about how their life was so great or whatever. It was a chore to scroll my feed. No, it was a stone drag to scroll my feed.

And one morning I asked myself, “Why are you doing this? What are you getting out of this?”

The answer was that I wasn’t getting much more than aggravation out of it.

So, I didn’t check Facebook that day. Or the next. Or the next. Nor did I play the games on Facebook that I felt a duty to play every day because reasons.

As a result, I had more time. When I wasn’t playing the games or refreshing my feed every thirty minutes, I suddenly had this abundance of time that I never felt like I had before. It was much easier for me to focus on my work when I wasn’t suffering from eye strain from rolling my eyes so much and I wasn’t half-pissed from repeated exposure to the ignorance and hatefulness and inability to work a fucking homonym. My overall mood and peace of mind improved.

I felt better.

Now, I check Facebook once, maybe twice a day. I scroll for a bit, like a few things, play one of my games, maybe wish somebody happy birthday, and then I’m done. Sorry if I miss your stuff, but I’m better off if I don’t hang around too long. I’m sure you understand.

Except I know there are people who don’t, friends and family members who’d gladly tell me what a fucking wuss I am and I need to suck it up and deal with it.

Good news! I am dealing with it. Been dealing with it for years. I’ll be dealing with it for the rest of my life, thanks. I’d apologize for not dealing with it to your satisfaction, but I’m not sorry. You can fuck off.

My mind is a fucking hellscape most of the time. It’s loud and messy and some days it doesn’t work worth a shit and other days it works overtime. This is my normal. For me, being comfortable in my own head is my sanity.

My mental health has, rightly, become one of my top priorities.

If that makes you uncomfortable, perhaps you should check in on your own.

An Unexpected Push

ThinkingMy floorset days have come to an end.

The store I work for is closing for good on January 7th.

I’ve been there over four years. Sometimes the gig was a real hassle. I questioned whether or not it was worth the commute, the minimum wage, the sleep deprivation, the bullshit that accompanies every retail job. I seriously considered quitting multiple times, but never went through with it. In the end, the actual work and most of the people I worked with won me over. The money wasn’t great (child learnin’ has been my main source of income), but it really helped fill in the gaps between the ends I needed to meet, particularly during the Christmas/New Year holidays when it’s the only day job I worked.

Now I need something else to fill the gaps.

I’m feeling strangely optimistic about this. A few years ago, I would have been depressed and panicky, woe-is-me-ly about this whole thing. I would have felt like it was the Universe taking another shot at me, kicking me when I was already close to down. Not so much now.

Now, I feel like this is the Universe giving me a push.

This is a push to do something new. This is a push to get out of my comfort zone. This is a push for a new adventure.

This is a push to really work my writing and make my writing work for me.

I don’t make a lot of money from my writing, but now what money I do make will be very important. It will help fill the gaps. Self-promotion is going to be key. I’m going to have to talk about my writing A LOT MORE than I already do and not in the “here’s what I’m working on, here’s how I write, here’s my writerly thoughts” fashion. I’m talking in the “HEY, BUY MY WORDS” fashion.

Right now I’ve got three writing revenue streams going at the moment: my self-published titles, the Storytime Jukebox, and the upcoming Patreon project Murderville. I realize that I’m going to have to start submitting in earnest once again, but I’m also going to have to push these three things a lot harder than I have in the past. In the past, I didn’t want to be annoying or insistent. Now I’m going to be.

When I first found out about this turn of events yesterday and posted about it on Twitter, the people I know there were very supportive. I think that contributes to my optimism. I am blessed with knowing some really awesome folks who are really supportive of my endeavors and also really supportive of me in general. I really do appreciate them.

So, the new year will be starting off with an interesting challenge.

For once in my life, I feel up to it.

We Can No Longer Deny What We Are

We can no longer deny what we are as a country.

We can no longer claim that hate and ignorance, bigotry and misogyny and racism, the homophobia and Islamophobia and xenophobia, belong to loud minority when the quiet majority has spoken in agreement with it.

This is who we are. We are a bigoted, hateful, lazy congregation of humans contained within an imaginary boarder. And we have elected a leader that represents that very core, that truly embodies the nation we are, the nation we deny. Because we like to think we’re great. We like to think that we’re inclusive and tolerant and underneath it all, not bad folks.

But that’s not the truth, is it?

Not everyone who voted for Trump is racist, you say. They’re not all homophobic and misogynist. They’re not all bad people.

Sure.

But they decided they could live with it.

He wasn’t Hillary, so they decided they could live with it.

He had an R next to his name, so they decided they could live with it.

They’re not black or Mexican or Muslim or Jewish, so they decided they could live with it.

They’re not gay or lesbian or trans or bi or in any way queer, so they decided they could live it.

They’re not women, so they decided they could live with it.

They’re not feminist women, so they decided they could live with it.

They’re not disabled, so they decided they could live with it.

They’re not mentally ill or otherwise sick, so they decided they could live with it.

They thought that it wouldn’t effect them, so they decided they could live with it.

Now we all get to live with it.

Even if the best case scenario were to come to pass (which in my simple mind would be an avoidance of total financial ruin, not being obliterated by a war started in the course of a hissyfit, and somehow some of our rights being left intact), we are still left with ourselves.

We are left with those of us thrilled by this victory because they’ve been made to feel uncomfortable about their hateful thoughts for the past few years, being called out as bigots, being shouted down for their inappropriate “jokes”, and now they feel vindicated. They’re “oppression” is now over because they have a leader that supports their views. Those that have been dying at the hands of political correctness have been given a second life.

We are left with those of us who will now exist in fear because of the realities that “living with it” will entail. The threat of deportation, restriction of rights, loss of rights, sexual violence, physical violence, incarceration, torture, loss of health care, the destruction of our planet are some of those realities.

We are left with the knowledge that we sacrificed the well-being of many for the interests of a few hoping that we would be one of the few.

We are left with the knowledge that we did this to ourselves. Because this is who we are.

So now that we’ve gone past the Rubicon here, now that we’ve looked into the mirror, now that we’ve seen the monster that is our soul, now that it is, in effect, too late, NOW we finally ask ourselves a question we’ve been avoiding for centuries because we’ve been very skilled at avoiding our own reflection…

Is this who we want to be?

When I Talk About Being Fat

Love moreWhen I talk about being fat, I’m not fishing for a compliment. I’m not asking you to run in and tell me I’m beautiful, to tell me I’m not fat. I am fat. I weigh around 240 pounds. If you saw me as a stranger, walking down the street, you would identify me as fat. I am fat. It is an accurate description of me. Not all of the connotations of that descriptor are accurate: I’m lazy about some things, but not my whole life; I don’t eat all the time; I do exercise; I’m not a gross slob; I bathe regularly, thank you; I do have some self-esteem; I do eat vegetables; I do take a walk; no, I haven’t given up on my life.

When I talk about being fat and you rush in to assure me I’m not, you’re not really assuring me I’m not fat. You’re assuring me that I’m not all of those bad things you automatically associate with being fat.

Good news! Your reassurance is lovely, but misguided. I know my personality flaws are independent of my appearance. I guarantee that I could look like a size zero model and I’d still be lazy as fuck about some things. It’s just who I am.

When I talk about being fat, I’m talking about my experience as a fat person and the hypocritical nature of the people that know me. I’m talking about the people who say there should be a weight limit on skinny jeans and take pictures of people without their knowledge so they can post them on Twitter for shaming purposes, but who would be first in line to defend me if someone told me I couldn’t wear my skinny jeans or took a picture of me and shamed me online.

Oh yeah, I see you. I don’t say anything to you because Twitter isn’t the place for it. 140 characters isn’t enough room for you to fit in your tired, bullshit excuses about why it’s okay for you to do that to THEM, but you would NEVER do that to ME and it would NEVER be okay for ANYONE to do that to ME. And frankly, I don’t want to bother with your tired, bullshit excuses. They don’t excuse what you do. And I know so long as you have those excuses at the ready (and I know you do), I’m not going to change your mind. You’ll always feel perfectly justified in your little smidge of fatphobia.

But I see you. Oh yeah, baby, I see you.

When I talk about being fat, I’m not being hard on myself. I’m showing you how society is hard on me. I’m illuminating the things that society thinks about me, says about me. I’m illuminating the things you think about other fat people, the things you say about other fat people, the strangers. The things you wouldn’t dare say to me because you like me.

When I say that I’ll never be pretty enough, never be thin enough, I’m not being hard on me. I’m saying what folks are thinking, what you’ve thought about others. When I say I’m too fat to be loved, you tell me that’s not true. You tell me I’m a beautiful person that deserves all the love and that anyone that doesn’t see that is stupid. But you’ve looked at someone less attractive, you’ve looked at someone fat, and you’ve thought, “How did THEY get someone? Somebody actually fucks THAT?” You’ve thought that about other people and other people have thought that about me.

And if we’re going to be 100% honest, if I were to find myself in the company of a person perceived by society to be out of my league, someone conventionally attractive, while you would be happy for me, I have no doubt, a tiny part of you would also be wondering, “Why are THEY with HER?”

Because it’s an extraordinary thing when someone goes against society’s expectations and instead jives with their heart.

When I talk about being fat, you think I’m talking about myself.

But really…I’m talking about you.