A love affair with gravity.

for K.

Since I started doing this crazy accept-my-body thing eleven years ago, there has been a series of ups and downs with my own body image. I go through good times, I go through bad times. Sometimes really, really bad times. Over the years, the good times get longer and the bad times get shorter.

What doesn’t change, though, is the amount of pressure on me — on all of us — to look a certain way. To be feminine, to be light-skinned, to have smooth hair, to fit into straight-sized clothes.

As you get fatter, gravity doesn’t get weaker or kinder. It stays the same. Your body is more subject to it, in fact, because apparently the earth is a fat admirer, and wants to keep you as close as possible. As this happens, as the scale creeps up to numbers a previous version of you would have fainted at, you have two choices: to attempt to loosen the bonds of gravity, and Earth’s apparent amorousness, by making yourself smaller — or to use gravity to your advantage, to get stronger, strong enough to carry your weight happily through the world.

History has taught me that I’m not very good at getting smaller, but that my strength? It is awesome. And it can grow.

As one gets bigger, or even just as one becomes more aware of the sickness of the body-obsessed culture, the pressure increases. It drags on you, eventually to the ground, the point of crisis, the valley of decision.

Do I lay here and starve until I am light enough that gravity rescinds its uncomfortable obsession? Then get up and walk fearfully away, knowing I am weakened against the next time it drags me down? Or do I allow myself to rest briefly, then begin to move any muscle I can feel: an arm, a leg, an eyelid — working continually against the pressure, until I’m strong enough to stand the fuck up, under my own power, and walk toward the things I want?

The things the world says it won’t give to me unless I am white, thin, and wearing makeup? The things that I am now strong enough to take for myself, any way I want them?

Each time I’m dragged down, I’m stronger and quicker at pulling myself to my feet.

Gravity doesn’t go away. I get better at remaining upright.

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