So, it took a while for me to decide on what I wanted to blog about this week. Truthfully, the only reason it took a while was because I was really afraid to talk about the most obvious and visible issue that is prevalent in my own personal life, being fat. Yesterday, the 5th Woman cast was featured in the Women of Jazz Jam Festival 2017. Each lady shared a poem of their choice, and I elected to share one of my most vulnerable pieces that I had recently written. After the first stanza of sharing a really embarrassing scenario of what it is like to be overweight at a theme park, I boldly proclaimed that “I am fat!” As oddly as it may sound, that awkwardly bold moment was very liberating and powerful for me. Why? I have been so entangled with striving to fix myself and seeing results, that I haven’t enjoyed the journey to get there. When you are a poet, on a stage in the spotlight, you have the power to create whatever picture you want your audience to experience. In that very moment, as painful as it was, I owned my truth, I’m overweight. With that being said, I find it necessary to provide a back story to my weight loss journey. About this time last year, I lost fifty pounds as a result of hard work, strenuous exercise, and strict dieting. I have never been more proud of myself. Day after day, I made myself drink a gallon of water, count calories, and adhere to a strict paleo diet. It was clear that my success was noted by my friends and family. I became much more confident. I shined, but my progress was unfortunately short lived. I gained all of my weight back, as a result of being injured during a softball game and battling depression from my immobility. As much as I wanted to become thin, my life choices wouldn’t allow for it. I stopped exercising because I couldn’t, and I was back to eating whatever I wanted. Where am I going with this? I tend to think that a major part of growth and change is understanding the past and its role in the present.
Like I explained earlier, as a poet, I can get on a stage and put on whatever show I’d like. I had habit of doing just that. I wrote a poem entitled “Big Mama” that addresses hyper sexuality amongst big women as a form of confidence in the midst of insecurity. Originally, I wrote the piece in the third person because the poem was actually not about me. The subject of the piece came about from an encounter I had with a full-figured woman at a slam poetry contest who had delivered a poem full of self-bolstering sexual innuendos. In my eyes, all of metaphors for her bedroom capabilities was a bit much and more detrimental to her proclaimed strength. However, in terms of my piece, one of my poetry coaches encouraged me to spit this particular poem in first person to make it more impactful. My heart kicked and screamed because I didn’t want to be seen or heard from as the ‘token big girl’ especially with me trying to lose weight. Nonetheless, I started performing the piece in first person, and I scored much higher at slams with that small but major change. Overtime, I learned that when writing people tend to respond to vulnerable writing; people want honesty. People crave to hear words that speak to exactly to where they are or where they’ve been. Even I, the writer, have grown from writing and sharing pieces of myself that leave me exposed.
Being a big girl is not really my issue. Yes, I desire to be a smaller size, but my aim is to be healthy and whatever that looks like. After writing a piece about my weight, I have learned my frustration comes from the lack of discipline and consistency. As a result of those issues, my weight problem just happens to be a tangible and visible byproduct of my struggle. It sucks, but being fat doesn’t equate to worthlessness. I can still stand confidently in all of who I am and command respect. I am a queen! I have learned to stop shaming myself for not being exactly where I want to be or where people think I should be. I’m not going to stop pushing myself to achieve my personal goals, but I am going to learn to smell the roses of today. If that means proclaiming my royal thickness on a stage in front of hundreds of people, then so be it. I am fat and not ashamed!