I'm sitting here typing away with a full beautiful belly of grilled cheese and tomato bisque, a little high and a little chilly. Delicious food, all of you beauties at my fingertips, happy in my perfect little apartment....I can't help but tear up. This is EXACTLY how I pictured my future fantasy life when I was a child. I would spend all my time closed up in my room watching my Dream Self wearing decadent clothes, huddled over my writing, drinking copious amounts of strong coffee and just feeling overwhelmed and inspired by all my FREEDOM. I just had to make it there.
Because there comes a point in most every child's life where they become suffocatingly aware of their binds. When they realize that life isn't fair, that we're raised to compete with our peers in such an ugly way.....and especially heartbreaking when we realize that our parents and elders aren't going to protect us the way we so desperately need them to. You know your pain, you know all the things you're not allowed to do and yet you're still struggling to figure out what's going to make you happy, who you really are and how you're just going to make it there.
For a child under restraints of any kind, survival is the main obsession. By restraints I mean being queer, fat, disabled, a person of color, poor, etc. As a fat queer child, I could keep my sexual identity hidden a helluva lot easier than my body. As a femme queer woman I'm free to walk among straight women unnoticed by the untrained eye...unharmed. I would be lying if I didn't acknowledge this privilege every day of my life as a child and still as an adult. I always felt like I had enough on my plate with my body shame and OCDs/mental health that I just couldn't address my sexuality as well. That would take the backburner for a while. I mean I tried to kill myself at least once a week from 11 years old until I was maybe 18. In and out of the hospital I would meet peers who didn't belong in the bodies they were given, who didn't feel like they could love the people they wanted to love and were also fat and I just....I just couldn't imagine having to deal with any MORE than I already felt weighed down by. Looking back I'm not proud of keeping that hidden for so long, but I do understand it.
I've spent these last 3ish weeks feeling a strange mix of petrifying sadness and invigorating joy. The recent spur of publicized teen gay suicides rip my heart out and stomp it to death every.single.time. Teen suicide isn't new. Gay teen suicide isn't new. This string of suicides on the news is not because gay teens have just NOW decided that this world isn't kind to children. We're hearing about it more and I think that's so necessary. Parents need to wake up to their detachtment to their children's experiences. TEENAGERS needs to wake up to the power of their words and their hate. People who aren't parents and are no longer children need to accept that we're just as responsible for these deaths as anyone. We all contribute to the state of the world. We all continue to support homophobes by either laziness or apathy. We need to do MORE.
I keep watching these videos from the It Gets Better Project and just sob uncontrollably for young me, for those young now, those who needed this project when they were young and didn't make it to watch them like I did. I cry because I'm so RELIEVED I made it to the place I'm in now and I cry for all the wasted time I accumulated wishing, plotting and fantasizing about my death. Yes my gut reaction to remembering these times is to say I wish it all had never happened, but in a weird way I'm appreciative that it did. I survived and for that I am so so grateful because I can stand here today and tell you what's it like to really live and relish in the freedom.
I can access those feelings of despair and isolation I felt as a child with ease. You will never forget something so vivid. As if I were a ghost I can go back and watch my teen self writing out my goodbye letter through sobs so hard I was dry heaving. I can feel my nervousness about whether or not I'd die fast and painless or slow or maybe not at all....the terrifying idea that I might not actually die but end up braindead or slightly wounded. The overwhelming need to leave this hurtful world but the guilt of abandoning my family and friends. I see all too clearly the sinking feeling of waking up in the hospital alive to face another day with my tormentors and a world that did not accept me. I still feel that girl close to me, I remember her every thought.
I keep her close so that I may use her now to stay alive.
The pain is what moves me to continue living the way I do now. The torment I lived and the abuse I've received inspires me to be kinder and inspire others to be kinder. Living has been my greatest revenge on those pricks who forced their ugliness on me. I see now all the beauty in the world I was so ready to surrender. The best part is that with each passing day my gratitude for life doesn't ever become less novel. Loving your body and your genuine identity is just as exciting and fufilling as it was in the beginning. Survival rewards me every single day.
I never pictured I'd be as grand as I am now. I never would have imagined that strangers around the world would know who I was and that I would one day stop fighting with my body and genuinely LOVE everything about it. I think about the things I would say to young me and honestly she's never believe it could get THIS good.
But it has <3
Please make the brave step towards survival and if you need help, REACH OUT.
I'm always here for you, for anyone...truly.
Also here's a list of resources:
The Trevor Project
The suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ youth is 886-488-7386
Hey Fat Chick! (an inspirational Tumblr run by an equally inspirational woman Frances Locke who also blogs at Corpulent )
Lesley's video for It Gets Better will move you to tears and inspire the living crud out of you
Also I started a Fat Acceptance Group Chat that I promise to pay attention to over here but luckily there are plenty of AMAZING people over there who are giving it the nurturing it needs without me ;)