A Letter to my Allies

A Free Writing Exercise turned into… honestly, just begging. I just needed to get this all out. It’s not perfect. Thank you for listening to me.


I haven’t posted on my blog in over two weeks and it’s hard to call yourself a blogger when something like that happens. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say—it’s more like I have so much to say that I can’t organize it. Like when I was in therapy and I would get stuck and find myself completely muted by all that was swirling around in my mind.

Like that prank where your roommate sticks raisins in your tube of toothpaste. It’s in there and it can come out if you squeeze hard enough but are you going to be able to deal with the mess when it all comes out at once?

What did she tell me to do in times like these? I can’t remember.

Sit down. Breathe. Relax. Let it trickle out. Don’t force it.

I often feel like the parakeet in the mine except that no one can tell that I stopped singing.

I’m so tender and I want to tell my people that I need special treatment right now but I don’t know how to say it or ask for what I need. Just that, like, I can hardly handle any pressure without feeling like I’m going to bruise. At the very least. I’m like a peach.

But, like, those ones are the most delicious.

So maybe rather than trying to fight or give up through this season, what I need to be doing is making jam out of this fruit. But god, the energy that requires.

Sometimes, it felt easier to just hate myself like the world wanted me to do. I really, really do wish I could go back to that time. Back when I was apologizing for being fat or pretending I wasn’t queer or thinking I knew all the answers. At least then everyone knew what to do with me. At least then, when people put out TV shows with characters in fat-suits, I could use my own shame as a shield against the hurt.

Like, when it was my job alone to deal with my fatness there was so much armor. There was no way to hurt me. I was a fortress. More insulated than I even knew. Even still, I’m finding walls that built themselves while I wasn’t looking. Dishonesty growing up, sharp and hard like coral that cuts my feet when I start swimming around in the deep end of who I am. I couldn’t see it before but now ignoring it isn’t an option.

But I’m softening.

And it’s worth it. Don’t misunderstand me.

But it’s fucking hard. And scary.

And when you need something. When you ask for something. When you see everyone who’s cheering you on are also the ones passing the buck rather than stretching out the hand you’re begging for—that’s when I wish I could crawl back into my shell but my shell is gone. It’s… there’s no going back. It’s been obliterated and I’m making a new home for myself but I want my home to be soft. But I’m wondering if I can live in a soft place without getting harpooned over and over again.

I’m trying to figure out how to explain “the personal is political” to someone who refuses to believe it. “No, politics are political” is what they say to me. And my heart just breaks because there’s raisins in my toothpaste and I can’t say what I need to say. I can’t just say, “why won’t you go to bat for me?”

How can “the personal is not political” be true when every day that I’m alive, in the world, and not apologizing feels like a fucking protest? I come home exhausted from a day of being alive.

It’s not hard to be a fat person. It’s not hard to be a queer person. It’s not hard to be a woman. It’s hard to be these things—and all these things at once—in a world that is relentless in its pursuit to remind you that it doesn’t want you here. When it goes to extreme measures to get you out.

-When the doctor wants you to lose weight before they’ll agree to treat your cancer.
-When your religious friends truly believe they’re so kind and progressive by telling you—about you—that they “love the sinner, hate the sin.”
-When you have to politely and apologetically maneuver your way out of an encounter that you didn’t even ask for in the first place because you don’t know if this is the kind of person who will kill you for declining his advances.
-When a thin girl in an unconvincing fat suit is the only way studio executives can even comprehend telling a story about a woman of size.
-When “I’m sorry, we didn’t realize you were gay before we asked you to come speak at our event” is, I’m not kidding, considered a reasonable explanation for dismissal.
-When you’re at the grocery store and someone follows you to your car, demanding “show me your tits” before he’ll leave you alone.

I’m trying to explain how and why your opting out of hard conversations and opting out of voting hurts me and reminds me that I’m always going to need to be the one in my corner, fighting for my rights and the rights of others like me. I’m the only one I know I can count on for these fights. When even the people who love me the very most and understand my struggles more than anyone else choose to stay silent when the world gives them an opportunity to have a voice.

The other day I begged my friends with thin-privilege to please start a conversation and speak out about why this new show, Insatiable on Netflix is so hurtful. Because I have been too sad and tired and angry to be able to do it myself. I got a lot of commiseration in the comments but so far I haven’t seen one person who isn’t fat start a conversation about it. Not a single one.

People who ARE talking about this (all fat BTW):
Dani’s Instagram stories.
J’s post on Comfy Fat.
Ravishly’s take.

And let me just tell you honestly that fucking sucks.
That really, really fucking sucks. I don’t know if it’s that you’re afraid to get it wrong?
I don’t know if you don’t see what’s actually wrong with it?
I don’t know if you just assume that I’ve got an overabundance of energy to discuss it?

Well, I don’t. I don’t have any energy to discuss it. I’ve been crying for going on three days. Because I’m so broken and beaten down from being reminded time and time and time again that I shouldn’t be here.

You know what would provide some wind beneath these wings? If I wasn’t expected to carry this all alone. If the people who come into my comments and DM’s after I post this, instead of saying, “you go girl!” or “you are so strong!” would go into their own spaces and fucking say something. (OMG I just thought about how I might respond if a not-fat, white man started talking about this and my mind went blank because I just don’t have that kind of imagination.)

Vote for policies and leaders who care about the humanity of the people around you. Just because something feels like a political issue to you doesn’t mean it’s not a deeply personal issue to someone else. It doesn’t mean it isn’t a life or death issue for someone else. If that’s not personal, I don’t know what is. If that’s not political, I don’t know what is.

And stop asking for a pat on the head every time you did a good for someone else. I don’t have the energy to get in the shower this week and I can’t have you coming over to me and asking for me to tell you that you’re “one of the good ones”. If you really were one of the good ones, the knowledge that you’re doing your best would be enough.

I know… I know this just sounds angry but it’s literally all I can muster. You say you like me because I’m honest. I hope you’re okay with what you’re getting into with those sorts of positive affirmations. I don’t have the energy to melt it down into something moldable and palatable—sweet and darling sharable content. I don’t have it in me for that. I barely have what it takes to say this right now but it’s important enough to dig deep and beg for help (and then take a nap).

And look—I’m only speaking here from my perspective. Even my perspective has a hell of a lot of privilege all over it. I’m a woman but I’m a white woman. I’m queer but I’m cis-gender and in what appears to be a heterosexual relationship. I’m fat but I still have access to clothes and I happen to have a doctor who treats me as a human. That’s a rarity and a privilege. I don’t have a lot of money but I’m not living in poverty.

I’m bummed to have only come to this realization in the past week or so but people who don’t have these sorts of privileges have been asking for people like me to speak up on their behalf for years. And I’ve always been that person who says, “I support you!” But doesn’t really do much when it comes to making actual change–when it comes to having impossible conversations.

I wish it didn’t come down to me being actively harmed by the silence and violence of people I love and count on in order to see the ways that I’ve been complicit but… it is what it is. I’m sorry and I’m here now.

I don’t know how to end this just like I didn’t know how to start it.

 

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