I remember a time when I easily fell for the story that Latino men liked big women. For a fat girl like me, it was a comforting story. But, over time, the story started to make me uneasy. Yes, my partner has a leaning towards fat girls like me, but to suggest that everyone in an entire ethnic group has the same preference was clearly wrong.
I think of my whole being as permeable, rather than as a container. It’s not my job to hold pain, but to experience it and let it go through me. Releasing it from the body is the goal. I think of the physical or emotional torment as pure energy, and therefore, not harmful to anyone or anything outside of me. If I think of it as damaging, I cling to it so as not to cause harm. Remaking the negative as neutral is a hard but necessary step. It allows me to let it flow away and sometimes even tricks my brain into standing down from its high alert.
I have read so many stories about fat people who have been patronisingly told to read food labels, or to not have second helpings, or to not buy certain foods. The implication is that fat people just don’t understand how food works, and that it is the sacred and socially responsible duty of the noble cape-wearing thin people of this world to intervene.
When you begin to practice true radical self-love, many things begin to change — not only within yourself but also around you. Many will not agree with you. You will lose many “friends” along the way, and you will realize they really weren’t friends. You will be questioned, frowned upon, and called selfish and self-centered. To truly practice radical self-love, you have to develop what I like to call slippery skin. You just have to let things slide off your skin because, if you don’t, you will begin to feel guilty that you are placing yourself first. And everything you hear, you will end up taking personally.
As we all started to settle into our new lives with work and school, my grandfather — who had neither work nor school — started to renovate the front yard. He worked on it from sunrise to sundown every day. He had nothing else in our new home. Everyone else was gone all day. He had no friends. He could not drive or speak English. So, the yard became his obsession.
Sometimes, I come home positively soaring from my delight in my students’ open-heartedness. Some days, I am so weary from their tactlessness, from patiently enduring a bigotry that isn’t even fully their own. It’s not easy being a walking gender studies class, but if my presence can gently assist a kid in undoing the hate society has placed in them for people like me, or even help them work out their own gender issues, it is a duty I will shoulder gladly.
The outliers are the ones who know just what to say. It seems so simple — How can I help? — but it unfurls like a revelation.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask about the therapist’s credentials. Ask about the therapist’s techniques. If religion is important to you, ask about that. Try out a session or two before deciding whether this is a person you trust. If you’ve been with a therapist for a number of years, and it is no longer serving you, find the strength to move on and let go.
A conversation that bears fruit is not easy. People argue, and give offense, and get pissed off, and embarrass one another, and have their sacred cows knocked over, and watch their heroes thrown off pedestals, and hurt one another’s feelings, and otherwise experience all manner of uncomfortable things. But they also keep coming back for more, and there is only one reason they do so: They care more about helping to make someone else’s life worth living than they care about what is in their own heads. From that kind of conversation might emerge any number of solutions to any number of problems.
I like to think that people with SPD bring lots of wonderful things to the world. Because we’re so sensitive, we sometimes see things that other people don’t even notice. Have you ever noticed that a friend was sad before they started to cry? Or did you ever think that someone needed you to help them before they asked? Many people with SPD are like little sink sponges. We drink up information about things around us, including people’s feelings.
When I could provide myself with healthcare, I got a diagnosis. And now I am angry. Very angry. It is not me. It was never me. It was someone else damaging me. Who gave them the right to damage me? Who gives anyone any right to damage another person?
Black Femme is not new. Black Femme has always existed and resisted in one form or another. In knowing Black Femme, we see the ways in which Black femininity, while constantly under attack, is always enduring, thriving, and liberating. In knowing Black Femme, we see a divine scheme for how to challenge toxic masculinity and be unabashed in our disdain of whiteness and white supremacy. We see how to have fun. How to fight back. How to laugh and be carefree in tight skirts, denim, plaid, leather, however Black Femme manifests for you.
I would like to get a conversation started about what other men deal with in terms of disordered and otherwise negative eating habits. It is possible that, if we can come together and tackle the question head on, we can find ways for men who struggle with such issues to achieve radical self-love and enjoy eating again.
Societal ideals of beauty infiltrate our lives constantly. We compare ourselves to a standard we’ve constantly been told is the best. When we aren’t meeting that standard, we think that something is wrong. But these photos aren’t bad. These photos are love notes declaring to the world that we deserve to be seen in all of our glory, even when it’s deemed not “our best.”
Many disabilities come with stigma, and family members try to hide certain disabilities from one another or from people outside of the family. If you talk about accepting differences, but don’t actually live that out in your own family, your child will learn to see disabilities as something bad that need to be hidden. I have always been honest with my son that I have an invisible disability, mental illness.