It’s been awhile since I’ve been to the doctor. I was emotionally ready for a fight but it a surprising experience. My doctor was a Black woman who believed I knew my body best.
She ordered every test requested and made amazing suggestions. My weight was never a thing until I brought it up and even then she followed my lead on how I spoke about it. When she asked about mental health I was honest. She set me up with the on duty social worker right away.
I was so excited when I saw a person of color. I’ve been damaged by so many white therapists. I couldn’t wait to finally get some tools that applied when…
Social Worker: so what other things cause stress in your life?
Me: I’m a performer and as a fat person-
SW: Hold on a second can we use a new word?
Me: I’m an artist and as a fat person-
SW: No I mean another descriptive word.
Me: For what?
SW: I mean you shouldn’t call yourself…
Me: FAT!!! Then what am I?
SW: Let’s explore that. What does this mean to you?
Me: Okay so being fat is not synonymous with ugly, lazy, stupid.
SW: I know and you know that too so why use that word?
Me: Because it’s cute and easier than obese and shorter than over weight because what does that even mean and rotund is a mouthful and rubenesque in day to day conversation is just plain pretentious.
SW: Okay so explain to me what being fat(whispered)means to you. Maybe you’ll find a new word there
Me: Umm I’m like published in an academic textbook regarding fat and the politics of size and I’ve been invited to and spoken at Stanford, UC Berkeley and Mills College regarding Fat Identification…
SW: (horrified and eyes glazing over at the same time)
Me: So I think I’m okay with the word and I think I’m regarded as knowledgeable in the subject of how I talk about my own body.
SW: Yeah it’s just we hear these words and it’s like nails across the chalkboard.
Me: For you?
SW: It can be for you too.
Me: My blog until three months ago was called the ungratefulfatbitch!
SW: There’s words like BBW.
SW: Just try it. Explain to me what being fat means.
Me: I have to go to a specialty store in order to buy clothing, that I won’t get diagnosed according to what’s actually ailing me, that I may not have access to healthcare at times, that have to be really good at what I’m doing to be taken half a seriously, that people think that I’m ugly, lazy and or stupid, that I’m easily dismissed and not seen as an expert in my field-
SW: But that’s how people treat you because of your size not what it means to you
Me: And this is why we’re here 🙃
This slender social worker nearly choked himself to sleep with the death grip he had on his pearls. He couldn’t hear me. He refused to hear or see me. And I’m so desperately in need of someone who can see me and help me cultivate the tools necessary for this delicious life I’ve got planned.