New Body, New Experiences, New Navigations

I purport myself as an honest, transparent person and I try to have my actions follow suit. Which why I have been very forthcoming online about what people who see me daily have already noticed: I got plastic surgery!

On December 11, 2019, I got a BBL, which is when they take the fat out your body and place it back in your ass. They took a ton of fat out my lower back and flanks, decreasing my waist by like, 1,000 inches and adding to my already kinda-big booty. Then I decided to get more liposuction on February 4, 2020 and got my upper and lower abdomen decreased significantly. I’m still about 60% swollen there, but even with the swelling, my stomach is now flatter than I can ever remember it being. I got bored about 2 weeks later and got some lip filler, too.

So…I’ve gotten body modifications. And as a Fat Liberationist (which is, very, very different from someone who is just Body Positive) I felt the need to be honest about that to my community. I am still definitely fat, there’s no debating that – plastic surgery doesn’t make you go from a size 22 to a size 6. But I’m now a Respectable Fat. I have a very defined hourglass shape, and my chub is in the “right” places. I went from about a size 16/18 to a size 10-14, depending on what the style of clothing is.

As I navigate my activist spaces with this new body and a slightly new face, I’ve been grappling with light depression – you know, not the depression that makes you stay in bed and not shower, but the depression before it gets to that point. I keep replaying really bad thoughts, ideas and moments in my head while I’m functioning pretty well on the outside. While I’m actually always in this state of depression, even on a good day, the reasons as for why have been because of…well, I’m not sure.

I can’t say it’s directly because of my plastic surgery, because I’m not regretting that in the least. I can’t say it’s because of how others are treating me, because they’ve been treating me better. I think it’s because I can now clearly see the ways that I was disrespected by others, and gaslit when I brought that disrespect up, because no I no longer receive that type of treatment. I find myself sulking at night, comparing the two types of different treatments Refrigerator Rayven got vs Hourglass Rayven. I’m not sure if other BBL patients experiencing this specific type of lamenting or depression, but I have.

Strangers treat me like…a person now. I’ve always had a hard time being seen as vulnerable or delicate (partly because of my size, and partly because I’m not a respectable Black girl [and I mean legitimately not respectable, not those Black girls that think they’re disruptive or revolutionary for wearing an afro with their fists up with a #melanin t-shirt]) but now I am getting the privilege (?) of being seen as such. People hold doors for me. People ask me how my day is going. I’d always been the type to get a few free drinks at the bars, but since my BBL I haven’t paid for a single drink when I’ve gone out. That sounds brag-like, but I mean this in a more perplexing, bewildering tone. I was wildly confident before (if not more than now, as I try and adjust to this new body) and was just as fine. Just as funny, just as poppin.

I was worth all these pleasantries before this operation, but because of the new way that I look, I only get these treatments now. I am concerned because 1) bodies change, even with surgery and if I become my old shape again, know for a fact this treatment will stop and 2) I’m not sure if that blatant display of fatphobia will be one I can withstand again. Once you taste German chocolate, it’s hard eating a Hershey bar. I’ve had a taste of respect and I fear that once my body inevitably changes that disrespect will make me want to kill myself. Surreal, wild, I know. But truthful.

It confirms what I already knew – y’all hate fat women unless they are desirable to you. My confidence before was seen as brash, uncouth, and audacious. My laughter before was seen as excessive, and the way I even spoke was considered garrulous. Now, these things are all considered alluring, fun, and attractive, even.

I talk a lot about respect, liberation, and political freedom, but with this new body, I see there’s something else…Care. Affection. Love. 

Value. My body now has value. I’ve never experienced that before.

And while it’s easy for us to sum that up as, “I want y’all to date people that actually like you,” I’m getting at something so much deeper than that gaslighting statement. I’ve always ascribed value to my own body and so have the people I call friends. But now the larger world has given my body value – an immediate value, where I don’t have to perform, don’t have to service, don’t have to entertain. 

I’m just…given it. 

This is the most silent part of skinny privilege that the Twig Babes don’t get – people see you and give you value without you having to perform your usefulness. It’s now something I’m getting a small taste of as an Hourglass Fat. Fat people of all shapes deserve these little, tiny, seemingly unimportant things. Because these tiny things are the ways that remind us that we’re just as worthy as the skinnies.

This is most apparent when dating. I’m a fat, Black lesbian sex worker – meaning my prospects for love are very, very slim. I need someone who values my fat body, who is Black, and who isn’t whorephobic – and while Dyke Twitter will tell you that they and every lesbian they know are all of these things, anyone deeply entrenched in critical liberation ideologies will tell you that’s a gargantuan lie. I mean, c’mon.

But now niggas who’ve either never paid me attention, denounced my beauty to the public or only sexualized me now have become interested in getting to know me as a person. Online and in person. And we know how intellectually dishonest people are for the sake of not looking trash, so they’d never admit it – but yes. Folks literally treat me as a dating prospect because I don’t got a tummy no more. It’s disgusting, repulsive and…to be expected.

As I maneuver my way through these Fat Liberation spaces with my new body (Do I belong here? How do I not take up space with my respectable body?) I am constantly reflecting on the ways that even activists have become nicer to me. This newfound attention and admiration from people is still something I’m getting used to, but I don’t mean to whine or complain about this privilege because it’s nothing to whine or complain about. It makes the fire in me rage more for Refidgerator Rayven and all the other fat, refrigerator shaped bitches because we all deserve to be seen and treated as human. We fatties all deserved to be unconditionally valued.

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