Thursday, September 09, 2010

My Body politics coming of age. Part One.

I was thinking the other day and thought I'd like to talk about how I came to FA and how it correlates and interescts with things like my sexuality etc.

Consider this part One.

Long before I ever heard of Fat acceptance, long before I was a person on the internets I was a girl in my late teens forming a system of beliefs and morals.

I don't know how other people operate but these things were formed in my head as an extension of me figuring out my own sexuality.

When I was around 15-16 years old it very suddenly occurred to me that the morals and ideals I was forming in my own head did not really line up with the world around me. The world at that point meaning the immediate world.

Me being me I started to study. I found books about gender and queer history, I found books written by queer people. I found books about bodily autonomy and I remember reading (also please note all book links here are almost always Amazon Affiliate links, feel free not to use them) The Last Sex: Feminism and Outlaw Bodies (Culturetexts) and it quite literally changed my life.

I don't remember which piece it was but after reading this book three or four times in a row something clicked in my head.

I had arrived at the point where I realized that my body and what I did with my body was nobody's fucking business. Not my parents, not the high school I went to, not my friends no ones.

It was a huge huge thing to me.

I remember wanting to shout from the rooftops, I wanted to tell everyone I knew that their bodies did not belong to their parents but to themselves.

Learning this opened up doors for me. I did not talk about my sex life or sexual life in any detail with anyone except with who I was or wasn't sleeping with. I learned that I could in fact be unimpressed with the whole virginity thing.

I consumed more books and alternative lit. As my personal history goes, those books those people whom I never met (mostly) freed me.

I stopped exercising obsessively. There was a period when I was around 16 when I had a problem with exercise. I worked out to a degree that I would say constitutes purging. Thousands of sit ups, I did squats in my bedroom, I ran in place, I woke up 2-3 hours before school to do one of my Mom's exercise tapes.

It was awful and I was still chubby.

Granted, even though I gave that up at that point I did have further problems with over-exercising but this period was the time when I started to really become my own woman.

The seeds of my stances on fat, bodies etc were sown in those years.

Now when I really got started accepting my body it encompassed so many things. How I dressed, how I walked, how I allowed people to speak to me. It wasn't just self esteem it was absolute ownership of the woman I was growing up to be.

I feel really lucky that this process started for me at such a young age. Granted, it has been Fucked. Up. at times.

There have been times in the intervening years that I have hated my body so much I wanted to die. That I was ashamed to wear clothes I liked. That I allowed people to speak disrespectfully to me.

That happens to all of us.

I like to believe that the early exposure and foundation I built for myself is what saved me.

Unfortunately at that age I was really shy about talking about these things. Everyone I saw talking about sex and bodies this way were very academic and I had barely graduated high school after a few near misses with dropping out. I was afraid of looking stupid.

I was afraid about being maybe the only young Black Woman talking about these things.

These days as we all know I will go on and on.

Yes I did (and do) spend a lot of time educating myself as to the more academic areas of talking about these things but, I am finally comfortable with the fact that I don't have to sound like someone who has a degree in sexuality or women's studies.

I have learned to have faith in myself. To trust myself.

Now I want to do these posts because I think too many people in FA tend to forget that nobody gets there all at once and body politics is fucking daunting.

Because this is the internet and people who are coming to body politics don't have to come into it alone and don't have to rely on books like I did, I think it's really important to remember where we all started.

It's important to me not to coddle necessarily but to bear in mind that some people are going to not want to hear it yet. Who are going to say YAY fat, but I still need to do X in order to like myself. People go through that. And yes I do hope that people can go through that and get to a point where they don't feel that they have to do more before they can like themselves but I'm not going to be pissed if they don't.

I'm not certain what my point here is exactly but I felt the need to make this post so here it is.

That's all my darlings. I'm leaving work early tonight and am going to spend some quality time writing and eating something delicious.

Homo Out.
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