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Wednesday
May162007

Dark Daughta Responds to Fat Talk

For several reasons, mainly because she is such a fucking amazing writer, but also because she has so many things to say that I wish I'd said - or say inside my head - that I wanted to have her say them for me (or rather, for her Self), I am sharing her comments to two of my posts below. Sure, she "sides" with me, but I believe it is because she GETS what I was saying.

I write an additional small post below her two posts - relevant to Dark Daughta and how she has impacted my writing life each day since I've "met" her, but specifically in relation to these issues and posts.

One of the things in all of this Fat Vagina talk that I realized and have been saying in my private life is that I am astounded the fat activists are upset AT ALL about my saying ANYTHING about a fat vagina. What IF there are women out there with fat cunts?!? And now these women in my blog are screaming about this slim tampon and that tiny speculum and their walls don't fall in and they orgasm just fine and dandy. Well, goodie for y'all! What of the fat chick who IS like the ones I see?! The ones like me? (And don't toss at me that thin women have the same issues because you, fat women, know they don't.)

Shouldn't it be a good thing I am speaking out about women's genitals at all? And marginalized women's at that? And, if I am to be corrected by the few very vocal women who have commented in my blog and the few other who vitriolically wrote about me in Fatshionista's blog (don't try commenting, she only allows "friends" to post... I tried to respond), some REALLY marginalized women?! (I don't believe this is so, but if they do, then let them think this.) (Post-script: I have since been corrected about what Fatshionista is. See "Comments." Thank you for taking the time to explain this to me!)

Anyway, beautiful Dark Daughta (and I am tempted to call her "Tenacious" the way she calls me "Navelgazer") wrote her words first in response to Fat Vagina and then to Fat Angry Woman. I needed to share her posts here because so many of you keep telling me, "Oh, I never read the comments." Well, y'all who don't read the comments - a whole WORLD happens in there! READ THE COMMENTS!

From Dark Daughta:

sigh...
Oh, Navelgazer...
I like when you gaze at your navel and write frankly about what you see there. You are right - we are kindred. It's difficult after years of fire storms real and in blogland to feel the iron bands around a hurting heart loosen at the sight of another using "voice" and blog to just tell it. We live in a fearful time a strangely pc time where speaking messy truths is frowned upon. I heard some of these wimmin (noverbally) saying to you: Shut the fuck up! Who do you think you are? Let's keep stuff hidden if it doesn't line up. Let's just keep putting on a brave face. Don't talk about mess. Don't be messy. There are party lines you are supposed to be following.

Navelgazer, you are a messy, real, confident (which, for the naysayers is really different than fucking being self-centered...internalized patriarchy reigns supreme and only men are supposed to speak their truths assertively without fear...wimmin must quake and hesistate and self doubt so that they can seem sufficiently humble, sufficiently subservient and submissive so that other may know that they are not a threat to their own domination...they're safe)...

You are trying to create space beyond theoretically based party lines that have been extremely useful for fatty wimmin trying to not be killed off by the fat phobia of others. We need(ed) to know that we were beautiful, that nothing was "wrong" with our bodies, that the clothing they made for us was insulting and uncomfortable, that their furniture hated our bodies...the list goes on. In short, they needed to know that they had developed a system of half-truths and out and out lies that harmed us, pathologized us and damaged our possibilities for safe passage through this world. We, not them, gave it a name - Fat phobia.

But the work couldn't stop there. See, we're human, actually collectively along with the weirdo thin people completely imperfect. We're messy. We ooze. We drip. We smell. We bulge. We rub and squish. We're animals, though those who dominate try to forget this fact and attempt to construct realities that say some people are more like animals than others.

That shit is messed up. They are messed up. Actually, we're all messed up.

Navelgazer. Your pooni was fat? Good on you for finding out. Your a midwife and you've encountered lots of fat poonis? Good on you for noticing and sharing what you've seen. Good on you for allowing what you've noticed about your body and the bodies of other wimmin to permeate your practice. Hugs and squeezes for being intelligent and not some sort of shut down medibot health care professional.

You're offering space not inviting obeisance. You even said it somewhere, the writing can serve as a place anyone who reads can fly off from. They don't have to stay where you are. Simpletons.

I'm tingling because the writing I've read over the years of my life have served as so many jump off points. I prefer to bungee jump, choosing only to fly occasionally. :) I've created myself out of explorations, questions, screams, meanderings written out and published by brave wimmin thinking and exposing things no one else ever thought to or had the balls...unh ovaries...to commit to paper or the screen.

You're brave in your vulnerability. Powerful. I feel the earth shake...in good ways...when you walk and gather and distribute what you find, what you know.

Amazon woman. There are too few left. Grow larger. Grow more powerFULL. Write more mess. Write more truths. Your voice(s) are smart wimmin. You've been listening to them. I can tell because some of the herd members are restless.

I used to gauge how bang on I was by how many people wrote in complaining. But now that I've mostly been ostracized...by the political ones who really know what time it is...I just use clustrmaps.

This is me saying that for the few who are here complaining about you saying something that perhaps few noticed, there are thousands reading who are thanking you for just trying, for just having the guts to try.

If it counts for anything, I think I have a fatty pooni, too. I remember one pap smear when I was in my twenties, when I was still a dyke, the woman asking if I'd had children because the spec was just sort of sagging out of my pooni. I giggled and said: No. But, I felt a little stigmatized for having a giant pooni. So, I can see why *some people* commenting here, might be having REACTIONS to what they're reading that might have more to do with their lived experiences and less to do with your observations. It's okay to have reactions. It's not okay to harm other people or make them feel like they shouldn't be speaking or writing because of it. Note to self: Talk more about my own reactions. Locate more buttons pushed by my own shit when this happpens...which is fairly common.

Just because some of you are upset, or feel vulnerable to fat phobia...we all are..., or just because Navelgazer may have written something that invites a broadening of our analysis of fat phobia, invites us to look at the reality of our fatty bodies inside and out doesn't make her the fucking anti-christ!

Navelgazer, I'm not one for drugs or medication. I always believed that drugs would disturb my relationship to my muses, my voices and that surgery would fuck up my insides and forever link me to the medicorp and force me to rely on them.

But, I need to tell you...You are as sharp and brave and honest and unblunted a person as I have found. You are seeking. You are telling.

I don't know the meds you've mentioned. But they don't seem to have put a kink in your program one bit. This is cause for me to re-evaluate my political position and to perhaps think more in terms of continuums of medical intervention.

I can't say it enough: You just tell.

I've only told Papi that sometimes I think about lip for my pannus. I've felt guilty. Not strong enough. Not political enough. Not able to have my anti-fatphobia politic line up with my real life. I've felt haunted and conflicted.

I'm still on track to find ways to continue shifting and decolonizing my perceptions of beauty. My gaze is still infected with fat phobia. I yearn to fully love all of what's here. I've never dieted. I credit being in wimmin's community with having what affection I have developed for my body. It was always so affirming to be gazed on with affection and desire by other large, powerfull wimmin who shoke mama earth when they walked.

Nonetheless...
I have other voices and pieces who occupy space inside me who are not so politicized, not so interested in my bodily love program. I'd like to be able to give them space to speak what they've learned and felt about our body, too.

You had surgery and it felt right for you? You noticed an improvement in your quality of life? You're content with the sizeable fatty woman body you presently occupy? That is enough for me. I'm happy for you and I can see your contentment in your writing and in that wonderful, graceful, beautifully robed photo you published.

One last thing?
*People* need to pay close attention to what you wrote and what you didn't write. You talked about the existence of fatty poonis. You wrote about how best to take care of them. You wrote about the fact that you experienced a loss of erotic sensation.

I'm not convinced that the loss of sensation was about the fat. However, I think that we make do, meaning I've seen stuff written in various wimmin's erotica magazines either in on our backs or in Black lace, which was a black dyke mag I used to read (I'll have to check to make sure) which talks about positions fatty girls could use to increase sensation and pleasure. Now, this might be about the presence of fat or about where the fat is located. But nonetheless, I do remember wimmin writing in asking about positions they could use to maximize access and pleasure.

Navelgazer, you're not out to lunch. You're not fat phobic. I think you're super practical and as a medical health care provider, this comes through in the approaches you use.

I want to have more creative, confident midwives who utilize their own experience to build consciousness which transforms their ability to give care.

You done good.

---------------------------

Dark Daughta left a comment on your post "Fat Angry Woman":

I came here last week, wrote something to comment on your post, signed in and lost it all. Shit.

But, I'm back reading again. Thank you for pannus. I googled it and also found panniculus. I have a flap from child birth, it's called a pannus which is a pouch of skin. When it's on the stomach and from child birth, it can also be called a panniculus. I've been trying hard to love it.

See, I've had a belly all my life. When you wrote about school and the children who made fun of you...tears...more tears...okay I'm typing through the tears...
I remembered how their comments, the way they poked fun at me, how defenseless I felt, how ugly I felt...bigger tears...I still have a cold spot in hell reserved for them...I know I'm grown, I'm supposed to be mature. But my little girl, she's eight, sometimes you read her...she's one of my voices, she's very smart and well-behaved...she just didn't understand why they'd do that. She's still upset about it.

It's been part of my work all these years to try and make space for what she says so she can finally be heard and have her feelings. I'm sitting on a mountain of upset.

Sometimes my teenager, which is another voice I've identified sets things on fire. You read her a lot. She's witty, opinionated, powerful, unrepentant, gleeful. She doesn't give a fuck about people's fat phobia, nope, not one little bit.

She, too, wants to have her voice heard. She, too wants to speak. She can type really fast and likes to put up pictures of our body doing wonderful courageous birthing and just being a fat queer girl who is Black and so unlike the rest of her family.

I have other voices too...my writing is layered with their glorious cacaphony. Sometimes I get annoyed when people in real time drown them out. I think: Hush! I'm listening to a bunch of really cool, smart, insightful, powerful, crazy, pissed off, emotional wimmin. They're all in me and they want to speak. They own my fingers.

When I don't listen they get uncomfortable. They feel erased. They get up to mischief. They seek other outlets. They like peanut butter...a LOT. Hee, hee, hee! I call it my comfort food. When I'm eating it, I don't have to type. I can't just sigh. They like carbs. More toast...with peanut butter.

I have insecure fat hating voices that measure me and my size. I don't own a scale. The teenager absolutely refuses to buy one and the little girl who is logical agrees with her that it will cause more pain and harm than good.

But I do stand in front of the mirror and measure with my eyes. The voices, the positive ones who at this point in my work are much louder than the insecure ones explain again that my feeling this way sucks. They shush the simple, insecure little voices who don't realize that fatty girls very gazes are colonized by those weirdo thin people and the clothes they make to upset us and harm us.

I'm also a tall girl. So finding clothes is doubly difficult. I'm only a size 18 and my fatty self mostly resides around my middle, belly, butt, thighs, waist...

My arms are long, I have some flesh around my upper arms, but it's minor. My hands are thin like my father's. My calves and ankes and feet are thin.

People get confused and distracted when they see me. I often dress to play that up, distracting away from my flesh. I want to stop relying on tromp l'oeuil to dress and feel comfortable leaving the house.

sigh...
I feel less goaded by the voices now. I said some of what's in me, some of what they think and they're at peace...for probably the next few seconds until they start again.

Did I tell you they're in communication with the goddess and with my ancestors. I was going to say: You should see some of the things all the gang pour into my head for me to type when they get ready. They ride me, occupy me, possess me on a regular basis.

This is the first time, I've actually written about the "mechanics" of how and why I write. I'm literally driven. If I didn't the voices would eat me from the inside out. They are ravenous about being heard and I am their vessel.

Thanks for writing about your voices. They seem ravenously craving of attention and a venue, too. From the looks of what you're writing, it seems as if they have your ear and space at your keyboard, too.

-----------------

Thank you, dear sister in writing. You drive me.

I was feeling so shitty about all this misunderstanding stuff the other night after reading what the women wrote about me in Fatshionista's blog... stuff that included words like, "I HATE HER, I REALLY HATE HER," all addressed at me... I was so amazed that these women who had no clue who I was, how hard I fight for fat women's health care rights and how much I love what I do - how their words were blades into my heart... that I registered with LiveJournal because I had to comment to them all. I had to explain to them who I was/am. Apparently, I hadn't shared enough words yet... if I wrote enough, they would understand, right?

I wept as I wrote, reading their words over and over, trying so hard not to take them personally, wondering if anyone ever critiqued The Four Agreements in a negative way and how Don Miguel Ruiz handled it if there was. How could I be so hated because I sneezed a tampon out my coochie? I was so confused.

I kept writing, determined to make it all better.

I thought if anyone lived in Southern California or were planning on visiting in the next year or so, I would take them out to lunch and they would see how much they would love me. I would show them around my center, do a Pap for free, they could pick the speculum size, and we'd be great friends forever.

I began having hints of how absurd this was beginning to sound.

I mean, people who know me in my own midwifery community can't stand me; how do I know a complete stranger is going to take to me just because I take them to lunch and smile pretty. Hmmm.

(Of course, others in my same midwifery community are my dearest friends... same odd political climate as too many female organizations nowadays.)

Finally, I thought of the perfect way to fix it all.

I'd re-write the article to make it all better. I'd take it and remove all the mistakes I'd made, change the language to be less inclusive and voila! Everyone would love me!

Those words HATE HATE HATE chirped around my head like birdies in cartoons after someone's been bonked in the head.

I finished with my complete name, licenses, city and state and hit send to Fatshionista. It said I had too many words. Sheesh. So I had to do it in two parts. I broke it apart and sent part one - and that was when I was told I wasn't allowed to post to her site.

Fine then, I'll post it on mine. All that thought, writing, tears wasn't going to waste! So I moved on over here to Blogger and threw it up.

Exhausted, I proofed it and corrected everything. Was satisfied. Felt so good hitting PUBLISH at 2:30am and went to bed. I couldn't wait to see the comments and couldn't wait to get started on re-writing the article!

Lying in the bed, Sarah's soft rumbles next to me, my long-haired Daschund Cash snuggling up on my hip, I found myself growing more and more awake instead of sleepier.

What the FUCK are you DOING?!

I could hear Dark Daughta in my room.

You are going to re-WRITE something? To PLEASE someone? What mistakes are you talking about fixing?! Those are your experiences. The others are theirs. STOP THIS SHIT! Just because they HATE you?! WHO CARES! Get OFF your ass and grab that post and don't let ANYONE read it.

So I got up, turned the computer back on, and yanked the post about 8 minutes after I'd posted it.

In those 8 minutes, my emotions changed completely because of knowing that someone else knows what it is like to be so disliked, so yelled at, so hated for saying something people disagree with. I've never had that before in my life. I've never ever had a soul in my life that understood the pain of being a writer (and I mean that in the joyous way!) - and it was in the comfort of this one woman, whom I've never met (and probably never will meet) - that I was able to find my spine again and say to the hate mongers: SO WHAT! You don't even know me! You haven't even given me a chance. It makes me sad that you judge someone by 300 words. How does this bode for your voting skills?!? You and I could have been lovers for all you know. We might be in an orgy one day and then talk afterwards and you realize the chick in your arms is me and you really dig me after all because I am not that horrid bitch you judged me to be without ceremony or a wisp of thought.

Oh, sure. You could still think I'm a turd, but who wants to think about that part. laugh

I think the Goddess was soooooooo on my side that night... that I couldn't post to Fatshionista's site! How flippin' cool is that that I had to go to my own blog to put it up? So I could come right back and yank it down!

Oh, Ms. Tenacious. Thank you for coming to me in the early morning darkness, unbidden, but so, so necessary. You were wonderful in that moment that I needed you. You, once again, transformed a moment in my life.

We all need a Tenacious. I'm clinging to the one I have.