As some of you might know, today is a special day in the Western Church. No, I don’t mean The Hangoveriest Day of the Year (although now that you mention it…) but the Feast of All Saints. This isn’t a theology blog so I’m not going to get into the details of who observes what and why and exactly how much one should pour out for one’s dead homies because, listen, I love the faithful departed as much as the next gal but I work in print media: Mama can’t be wasting good Scotch like that.
In the Episcopal tradition we have an interesting take on Saints. Simply put: We are the saints. All of us.
It was with this in mind that I read Camo’s thoughtful and thought-provoking comment on Twistie’s Favorite Things post.
I enjoy reading Manolo Big and have for a long time, but sometimes I feel genuinely confounded by the saccharine-coated defensiveness in some portions of some posts. Twistie, I understand that as a fat woman, kissing your beloved in public or eating in public might be on some level brave, since many, many people are giant, rude holes about heavier folk daring to actually sustain themselves or just live their lives as grown folk (see Maura Kelly and all of her small-minded, sad predecessors) in a public sphere. I get that.
But the whole thing of ‘wearing color! And JEWELS!’ – do you really feel that the world at large is telling fat women to wear neutrals? To not decorate themselves? I don’t see or hear that, ever.
I think what I’m trying to get at, however inelegantly, is that it seems that this post starts with something that should be off the page because it’s just self-evident. Why isn’t “be yourself, whatever that is” a given? When you start with ‘bless your heart, evil world, I will wear Giles & Brother and Versace and rings the size of snails and colors brighter than the sun and bite my sizable ass if you don’t like it!!!’ it just comes off as so damned defensive, that it erodes what I assume is the underlying message of ‘because I’m me.’ It lacks humor and perspective and grace, for me. I know many if not most readers would disagree with me, and I’m cool with that.
Because I get that. Truly I do.
In fact, that little bully that pops up in me when it looks like someone is Trying Too Hard is right on up there with telling kindergartners my silk coat was actually made of kittens (hee! still funny!) on my virtually endless list of Evil Tendencies.
And yeah, maybe it reads like Twistie is trying too hard, but that’s just one lens.
I’ve only fought my own size-acceptance battles and I gotta say: They haven’t been bad.
Yeah I’m fat, but other than that I pretty much came up sevens in the Jackpot of Social Acceptance. Good stock, good looks, good genes, good teeth, a good brain and a good sense of what it takes to be a functional and happy member of society.
It’s luck, plain and simple.
Not that I haven’t had my share of serious struggles, and yes, at a certain point I willed myself into becoming Full Time Fabulous –an effort which takes continual work– but let’s not kid ourselves: It’s a lot easier to crank the fabulosity up to 11 when you’re already rocking a baseline 10.
So no, no one’s ever told me not to wear colors or jewels (could you IMAGINE? I may be Church of England but I’ll cut a bitch) and it’s not brave for me to eat in public or snog my boyfriend –although since I was Raised Right I leave the PDA to hand-holding and the occasional peck– because I’ve never felt like I couldn’t.
For Twistie maybe it’s different.
Plus it might not be exactly fair to say she’s being defensive. I don’t know how old you are, but I’m 31. Twistie, from what I understand, is in cougar territory, so there could be generational differences. Just like how third-wave feminists are quick to criticize the humorlessness of the old guard, relatively young fat girls can be insensitive to the “wear black and try not to take up too much space” messages our older sisters heard day in day out of their formative years.
One of the strengths of this blog has always been the different voices. Francesca and I were like cheese and chalk, and that caused some tension, but you know it was good for the blog because there were some people who related more to me and some who related to her. Vive la differwhatever.
So why did this make me think of the Feast of All Saints? Simply this: we all start out the same place (and it’s gooey in there!) and we all go to the same place in the end (also possibly gooey, but definitely involving Colin Firth and a lot of water) but we get there in different ways. It’s a struggle for me as an against-all-odds Popular Kid to keep that in mind. Maybe I’m not the only one.
What do you all think?