Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Journey

This is mainly a shout out to the wonderful poets who grace the pages of Fat Poets Speak (1): Voices of the Fat Poets' Society and Fat Poets Speak (2):  Living and Loving Fatly.

You perhaps cannot tell from our smiles and our often busy and pleasant lives what we had to do in order to get to a place from which we could write about the hurt and the times we had been harassed and rejected so crudely that it was difficult for us to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and go on living - and then writing. When many of us began writing, there were no support groups online to which we could voice our hurt, our shame, our anger. (Hell, for most of us, there wasn't an online :)      There were certainly no fat poets to tell us that it would get better, that we would be able to forge strength and wisdom and some great poems out of what seemed a desert of anti-fat critics and haters.

Books like Shadow on a Tightrope did go some way toward spurring us to greater understanding and solidarity with our other fat sisters. But as powerful as they were, they were still few and far between.

'In the 1980's and 1990's, groups like NAAFA, who had once emphasized social activities, began to see themselves as forgers of social justice and support and pride for fat people, so much so that they began to circulate press releases and statements about what fat people thought of organizations and efforts that purported to help us but did not speak for us. Their public voices grew stronger and more confident. Magazines started to feature articles and essays and images that came from fat pride, not from wishes to conform to a thin-loving ethos.

Most of us poets partook of some of these new sources of support and pride as we learned about them, and it made the going a lot easier for most of us. But each of us had to locate, within herself, the resolve to face the world as a fat person who no longer dreamt of one day becoming thin and facilely conformist.

The journeys we underwent were neither easy nor short. But they brought us to the place from which we could write poems as fat people more secure in our physical and emotional identities.

We do not necessarily glorify ourselves, but we face our world from very different places from those in which we started.

Perhaps the phrase which best describes our efforts and journeys is "Evolved equanimity."

But we continue to create, within our writing and out, the cause and images of Fat Liberation.

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