Everything to Gain

I wrote this piece in 2003 on a bike ride home late one night after being annoyed and bored at a music event. I kept stopping my bike and got out my pen and paper and wrote down a new idea and when I got home I roughly had this all put together. It was a very slow ride home! Later that year I performed the piece very nervously at Fat Girl Speaks. I had given numerous talks in front of audiences about fatphobia previously, but this was very different and very personal. It’s also published in my final compilation zine for “Take It- It’s My Body”.

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This is me, way back then, when I had everything to lose. My skin an inch deep from this surface of soft protection- a makeshift shield from society’s wrath. My true self desperate to shine though all the layers, patiently waiting for the grasp that magazines and bullies are not a reality I am willing to except. I learn to hide my insides just as I learned to hide my skin, for someone might notice my abundance. Pin me up for everyone to mock, just as everyone pinned me down with words that stung worse than any stick or stone and left me broken deeper than bone. Take down notes as to who I appear to be, weak and innocent, unknowing the answers to my happiness. And no one know the answers, just as no one asks the questions as to why we allow this cycle to come bearing down even heavier than my weight.

I would cry almost every day from this overwhelming pressure to fold my layers away forever- out of sight, out of mind. Or reminded by strangers, friends, family that I must devise a way to physically adapt to the dimensions of a very confined box. And as if my clothes represent my cycles of acceptance- I tear them off. All that I am told will mask my excess. A very cautious rebellion, making sure no one I’m not ready to handle can see. My personal scheme for something more than this pain of monotonous images I am plagued with from everyone’s false imagination of what people should be. You cannot judge worth based on my curves. Transformation is not improvement when it comes to my body.

I undress my soul to find myself in a tangle of these layers. But I will not concede to a corner- never exposing my skin, my body, me. In doing so, people mistake my stubbornness as a way of outlawing myself. As if I’m not already cringing inside from the very real probability that with my new challenging self love, people may not get it, just as people have not understood it and gorged my words with comparisons of what really matters to them. Often times I’m not in their equation. And now a friend no longer speaks to me for maybe I spoke too loud- or maybe I just spoke. For sometimes I must scream to be heard and something I must rattle to be listened to.

For my reconstruction is not in vain. As I choose to reveal myself, I chose to open myself. To the backlash, the looks, the questions, the “answers”, the fear, the hate. I’ll give you a lesson about hate. I love this world too much to allow it. So I find myself doing and saying things I would never expect. Just to win the opportunity of possibility to teach others my way of life. For I will not put my life on hold to discover I have no inner, thinner self. So this may be all you see tonight, but it is not as far as I will go. If I feel it will create a shiver and some impact, there is nothing I won’t expose. So the answer is I’m fat! The question is, Who Cares? Now everything for me I gain- my confidence, my acceptance, my fat me.

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