It started with an invitation. “Jess, clean out your closet and bring your things over we are having a clothing swap!” “Who’s coming?” I asked gingerly. I presumed they would understand why I was asking, but it’s not something we talk about and no one really acknowledges it. It’s carefully tiptoed around to keep things polite and moving along.
So then, since no one is thinking about it, I have to ask myself do I really want to clean out my closet ridding myself of my old frocks and display them, passing them around knowing at the end of the night I’ll end up taking them all back home? Researching weight limitations prior to agreeing to kayaking. Deciding if I would join on shopping trips based on whether or not I could wear any of the sizes in the mall shops. Wondering if the group hike would be possible or if I should ignore the group text. Remembering the struggle of getting back on the boat after snorkeling.
And the thing is, would it feel so heavy if someone just acknowledged it? Someone other than me. To say I see you, you’re different than I am in this way but I am still here wanting to connect with you. What if others dared to bring BIG into existence?
I’ve long since felt that fat was the new black. And right now we, collectively, are living in the colorblind phase of awareness. There’s not yet the conversation about how being overweight or obese begets a very different experience in this world, nation, city, school, doctoral program. Who is telling this story?
I will. And I’d be kidding myself if I said that it didn’t scare me shitless. To take care of the stories. To have the courage to share my own. How has my body affected my connection? My leadership? Is it another social identity? It certainly colors perspective and there is certainly a spectrum of the lived experience. Can I capture it?