I love me. I’m fat. I’m black. I’m beautiful, and I don’t look my age. My hair is nappy and as big as my smile. I’m usually the loudest person in the room, and my laugh ripples through the air like a hypnotic vibration.
My breasts take over the entire top half of my frame, and the rolls around my waist fill in the rest. I was not blessed with much in the way of an ass, but I work with what I have, and I’m doing it, bitch.
As a writer and someone with a growing social media presence, each day I encounter two sets of people: those who love me as I am and say it openly and loudly in my Facebook comments and Twitter mentions, and those who despise me for having the nerve to see myself as beautiful, and therefore feel the need to dig in and try to get under my skin.
They, apparently, are under the mistaken impression that I don’t have mirrors in my house and haven’t already called myself fat in my profile picture. I have the same profile picture on all of my social media accounts and on every author page on the sites I write for. There I am, all big hair and big smile, wearing a loud, royal blue graphic T-shirt that proudly proclaims, “Chubby and Harder to Kidnap.”
Still, they try it anyway because they can’t help themselves. Their anti-fat, anti-black, anti-woman conditioning compels them.
If I express an opinion about or a preference for something, whether it be food, a social activity or men, I am immediately met with judgment from the hater coalition, who will often use fake concern as the guise for their insults, lecturing me on everything from my cholesterol level to my resting heart rate and everything in between.
Here’s a free tip: I love myself—fully, fiercely and unapologetically. Fat insults don’t hurt me. And if you are one of those people—one of those people whose thinly veiled disgust peeks through the transparent falseness of your “concern”—stop and ask yourself:
What is it about this beautiful, fat, confident black woman that makes me feel as though I have to attack her while claiming to love her? What is it about her that makes me feel entitled to this reaction about her body and her very right to exist?
Most times, their discomfort is subtle. Someone will comment on how amazed they are at my confidence—as if they’ve spotted a fat, black unicorn. Society has conditioned us to believe that fat women should feel shame, not confidence.
Other times, their words, expressions and body language convey a mix of disgust, confusion and projected insecurity that is palpable. The idea of being fat and black in a society that hates both fills them with fear, and they don’t understand why I don’t just fold into myself. They don’t understand why I demand visibility—and respect—instead of hiding away and binge-eating Twinkies and Ho Hos.
They don’t understand that I dare to be desired, to give and receive pleasure. There is a general belief in Western society that fat (and black) equals ugly. When women don’t meet the European beauty aesthetic propped up by the public “acceptable” desires of white men—because we all know that the public and “acceptable” desires of heterosexual white men look very different when the lights go out—then the consensus is that these women deserve to be devalued, ignored and tossed in the “miscellaneous” pile.
But me? I refuse to contort or shrink myself into a toxic culture of anti-blackness that wants to render me invisible. I’m not going anywhere. People are gonna get these 42Gs, this big-ass hair, this big-ass smile, these belly rolls and this loud-ass laugh, and they will like it.
And when you find yourself wondering how I can feel like this about myself, the answer is very simple.
Bitch, I’m me.