“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ― Rumi

I woke up like this.

Literally…like this. Black, fat and beautiful.

I love the Hamilton hotel…I feel the way about Hamilton’s legacy the way I feel about the legacy of all old dead white men…meh. I rolled out of this comfy bed, alone…late…well rested…grateful for a chance at reinventing my life and myself. I was shocked when I saw myself in the mirror, face still full of yesterday’s makeup.

Who is this woman?

Beautiful titties, greasy, silky dark skin, big arms, stomach flabby with the reminders of births upon births upon births, big legs that have carried me through trauma after trauma, much of it of my own making and much of it merely a result of my circumstances but carried nonetheless. This body that I have come to be comfortable in even if I don’t always love her the way I should. I am always grateful for her.

This body that will change come Wednesday.

I have thought long and hard about whether I should share this but imma just go ahead and do it. I have built an online reputation of calling a thing a thing and standing audaciously in my truth. I have also had my life scrutinized and my children and I attacked enough while just existing to know that oftentimes my “disclosures” are merely about getting ahead of whatever misogynoiristic, respectable, anti-Black, patriarchal bullshit I know y’all are going to hijack my digital presence with.

I am also sharing this because I am unapologetically for fat, dark-skinned women.

Just like that.

Fat. Dark-skinned.

Because we are maligned in ways that are specific and especially brutal at its intersections. I know that being fat is weaponized and dark-skinned women are especially targeted when our bodies are larger than society deems acceptable. And it is because of that, in part, that I am choosing to no longer be fat. I never chose to be fat. I just am. And being fat has as many political and societal implications as being Black or a woman. I am in intentional when I describe myself as a fat woman.

To that end…Wednesday, March 13th, 2019 I underwent gastric bypass surgery. The process to surgery was a little under a year-long. It involved weight management classes, appointments with my therapist, support groups, blood work, more blood work, more blood work, fucking blood work. As someone who is constantly “putting her business on the internet” I was deliberate in not sharing this process with anyone other than a small group of real life sister frans. Too many of y’all already think that women’s bodies are up for scrutiny without any solicitation from y’all and honestly I didn’t want to hear it. But I also kept it to myself because I was woefully conflicted and needed space to work through all of that.

Me coming into my fatness, embracing it, understanding that fat didn’t have to have stigma, that it didn’t have to define me as less than was a radical act of resistance. That act came in the middle of trying to survive in a humiliating, abusive and manipulative relationship. One that my kids were witness to, one that only served to reduce the little bit of self-esteem I had to nothing.nAnd when I finally found the courage and backbone to come up outta that relationship I knew I was going to commit myself to being whatever I wanted to be.

Not what someone told me I was.

Not what I was told I should settle for.

Not just the perceived limitations of others.

And finally I saw my surviving ass for what I really was. A fucking warrior. A nurturer. An artist. A dancer. A lover. A full goddamn human worthy of care, respect, love and dignity.

But I also knew I couldn’t stay fat on this journey. I have been pre-diabetic for three years and no amount of working out and changing the way I ate (including cutting 70% of my sugar intake out of my life) changed that. I could not get my A1C below 5.7. This is genetic and I watched diabetes steal the last 10 years of my Grandma Lucy’s life. Hypertension runs in my family and despite losing 20 pounds (y’all see my drip, a bitch been looking very very fione) and a balanced diet my blood pressure continues to climb. Heart disease is in my genetic profile as well and extra fat around my heart is going to be an issue. Full stop.

But I am not a liar (most days) and the reality is that it’s not the ony reason. Remember the intersections of blackness, complexion, class and body size? Yea, I live at them margins and I am tired. I am almost 6 feet tall, I am 270 pounds, I am a beautiful dark shade of brown and I have 6 children The difficulties I have to navigate based on shit that really ain’t nobody but somehow folks I think I deserve punishment for are becoming more tenuous to navigate. I find that I have less of a willingness to constantly be in a state of “resisting”. I already have several struggles…and yes, size does matter. Don’t argue with me. Argue with your fat ass auntie. I am tired of niggas policing my plate at family functions while literally ignoring everybody else piling food on their plates. I am tired of having folks side-eye me when I eat in public spaces. I am sick of men, grown ass men who don’t know me from a hole in the wall trying to use me as the butt of their jokes to embarrass their friend. “Yo, miss my friend likes you…” everybody laughs, said friend then tells his friend to “stop playing, yo!” This is actual shit that happens to me as a 38-year-old woman. And I just don’t want to boss up and deal with it anymore.

art by Fralea

I am also actively seeking more video media opportunity. Ya girl been making moves I ain’t been telling y’all about but the end goal is television and digital media content. Yes, we have come a long way in terms of body diversity in media but it’s still limited and the reality is being thinner is just going to help. I am tired of being health concerned trolled and explaining to folks thinness does not equate health but it does often equate desirability and that desirability is currency.

I know, I ain’t shit…

But imma keep it a buck always. I don’t live in a vacuum and NONE of us walk this world resistant to the influence from the dominant society around us. I have come to love and appreciate my body. I have had many conflicted feelings about the bariatric community, the way bariatric surgery has become prescriptive, the way fatphobia has shown up in these spaces and how difficult it was to be in them and not be an agitator. The quiet, silent work I had to do and the times I felt obligated to openly challenge the dominate message in those spaces. We can have those conversations later.

artist unknown

The thing I cannot shake is that I have somehow abandoned my Fatty Patties. Y’all beautiful fat women who poured into me, who taught me the language, that gave me the tools to unpack my own fatphobia. Sonya and Brienne and Taylor…there are ways I feel like I am failing, somehow admitting by doing this that my life still wouldn’t be as good as it could be if I had to navigate it fat. I often say I owe no movement my body but there are real people in these movements who gave me the courage to dream, live, love fully, unabashedly and unapologetically. I am still unpacking this.

I do not owe any movement my body…

I will talk more about this in the future but in a way that doesn’t reek of fat antagonism. It is one of the reasons I fell back a lot on posting “healthy meal” pictures and workout videos. I heard my friends when they said they were triggering and that there was really no way to do it that did not shit on fat Black women. I will continue this journey quietly, amongst trusted friends. There will be no need for anyone to extrapolate on how I started to lose weight so quickly and then ask me publicly on one of my threads if I got surgery.

I am telling you I have done this.

I am telling you I thought about it for a long time.

I am telling you that I am excited and I feel guilty about it.

I am telling you I am terrified to witness the ways people will suddenly act like anything I say or do is more valuable just because I am saying and doing them in a thinner body and I am also saying I am a hypocrite because that is part of the reason I am doing it.

I want to be seen and heard beyond my fatness.

Y’all might ask me some questions and I may not have the spoons to adequately answer them, if I answer them at all. Extend me some grace and leave me alone if I ignore you. It aint personal.

But this part of my journey is.


Mama Tanya

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