I was introduced to Roxane Gay when she came out with "Bad Feminist" a few years ago. I loved her raw and unflinching style. She shares her thoughts with us about her body. She's a large woman and has struggled with her weight since she was brutally gang raped as a young girl. She writes:
"I ate and ate and ate in the hopes that if I made myself big, my body would be safe. I buried the girl I had been because she ran into all kinds of trouble. I tried to erase every memory of her, but she is still there, somewhere....I was trapped in my body, one I made but barely recognized or understood. I was miserable, but I was safe."
Somehow it's always ok to comment on women's bodies all the time, but especially if they're too big. Unfortunately, that's still ok. We have no idea why people are the way they are. Our experiences as humans are so varied. So instead of condemning each other, let's listen and be sympathetic to all the stories out there. And this is why I love Gay's memoir so much. Her story is horrible but so real. We don't have to love our bodies or hate them but we can appreciate them for what they do for us today, whether big, small or in between. Let's just love and accept people and hear their stories. Maybe then we can be good humans and take care of each other.
Her story is one that is horrific yet hopeful. Sympathetic and terrifying. She hasn't gotten over anything and yet she's willing to let us in on her experiences, good, bad and in between. It's a moving and poignant memoir and one that needs to be read.