Today, while watching the utterly amazing Jazmine Sullivan perform on Live with Michael and Kelly, I was hit with a bit of insight I felt was worth sharing (do what you will with it, these are just words after all.) Jazimine’s voice gave me goose flesh. It is, possibly, the most soulful of her generation. It harkens back to ye olden days when R&B lived in the solar plexus, and not simply in the all too impatient over stimulated nerve endings of the loins. Her album Reality Show is a pleasant surprise and one that I hope signals a return of the spirit of R&B music from its watery autotuned grave.
Anyway … What was I talking about? Oh! Insight! Yes.
As I listened to her I wondered why in the hell the planet is obsessed with Adele when this fierce unapologetic brown skinned plump girl soulstress could sing Adele’s ass under the table when the was a tween! Then I thought … That’s it! Jazmine has not been duly ashamed of her physicality! Adele, all her black figure disguising clothes (which are hiding not a damn thing) and her misery lauding tunes fit the bill for what American society is comfortable with from “curvy”* women.
(*Curvy is a term I will dissect on another day)
Fat … I mean curvy women can self depreciate, they can be a comedic side kick, and they can bemoan the loss of a man who wasn’t about shit in the first place, but what is hard for our culture to wrap its proverbial head around is us as women who make the call and control their own destinies in their romantic lives. Rarely are we assigned the role of sexy in a way that contradicts the cultures image of what larger society sees as sexy. And when we are, shit like this happens. We can’t bust the windows out of cars, drop a man for somebody new on a whim … We can’t be Jazmine Sullivan, or any other fat woman who owns how fine she is as a matter-of-fact independent of public opinion.
I know these are bold statements, but I stand by them as a fat (not curvy, but fat) woman who has tried every manner of everything to wrap her self image into something the public could be ok with, only to wind up miserable and nearly fatter than when I started. (Why yes, I am talking about an unsuccessful gastric bypass surgery!)
Picking up the pieces left behind after no one, including you, any longer gives a fuck about your weight loss journey has lead me into a pattern of thinking that would have been helpful before the surgeon picked up the knife. Maybe my self-image is some skewed conglomeration of everything other people told me. Maybe it’s wrapped up in the behaviors incited by and feelings generated around having to engage my body. My big non-conventional body with the stretch marks, bulges in the middle, along the side, and cellulite, oceans of cellulite. What else would cause me to on more than one occasion, order a dress two times too big based solely on my inner perception of what my body looks like. Maybe your self image is a ticky tacky patchwork quilt of other peoples good and bad feelings about you. I would hope not, but maybe it is.
This is the part where I’d like to elect a lil social experiment (you can play along too if you’re game. No worries, I won’t stalk you to see if you’re playing fair 😉 ). I’m gonna try to deal with my body on realistic terms. No overly Zen affirming of it, at first just:
“Hi fat thigh. Thank you for holding me up all these years!”
My thigh won’t likely answer, but I believe it would serve to kind of chip away at the things I believe about my body that are so deeply engrained that there seems no way to dig out. I have to look at it. Just stare it down, and become familiar before I can become the fierce unbridled fat vixen who I get occasional glimpses of, but who I know I am fully on the inside.
But yeah, that was just my insight 😉
Now talk to these ladies Jazmine honey!