Tuesday, November 30, 2010

moth's powder (12.firstmonday.04)


dear moth's powder,

this will maybe sound a bit more haphazard and erratic than i desire, so i apologize from the outset. but

i never knew that i was (am? possibly.) fat until i came out of my proverbial closet and tried to join some sorta queer community. see, there was this guy who i fell pretty hard for my senior year in undergrad. well, with the way things were and are and i not being out of the closet but not necessarily in one either, well, after about a year of us hanging out too tough, i told him how i felt and he told me he was straight and so i determined after spending about nine months with him every day talking and laughing and sitting in rooms and staring at televisions and having our knees maybe almost touch as we sat on couches, well, i told myself that in order to avoid such situations again, i'd come out the closet and all the boys would flock to me because i'd imagined myself to be a pretty nice guy, sorta stand-up-like and cool and a nice dresser and sorta smart or whatever. or whatever.

and i'm sure i talk about the church in which i grew up a bit too romantically but i can at the very least say that before i came out the closet, i thought of myself - maybe as sinful, well, definitely as sinful - but also desirable. i thought i was sexy, though i might've had a one-way ticket to hell. when i'd go to some restaurant with my family after church on sundays, we'd sit and i'd look around and coyly ogle some such teenaged dude with a cute smile and church suit and stacy adams shoes and he'd smile back and we'd have this entirely delightful conversation with only our eyes and smiles and gazes and averted glances. our parents were none the wiser. but after my senior year in undergrad and getting my heart broken, well, i figured that coming out the closet would at least afford me the possibility of not having to go through some type of hidden, emotional despair. at least not alone.

and i wasn't all wrong, i suppose. but damnit if i didn't discover that i was fat. and that such fatness made me undesirable. see, i began to peruse online dating - "dating" because, really, they're just to find good (or bad) fuck buddies, that is, unless you're in Philly and you use the partyline because i'd met a lot of great people on the partyline and well, i digress - but i began searching these online dating sites in order to find someone with whom i could connect and was flabbergasted to read over and over and over again "no fats, no fems." but of course i didn't know this pertained to me because, sure, yeah, i was a bit overweight and have always had a bit of a stomach and sure, yeah, i'd always hated running and never went to the gym consistently and sure, yeah, i didn't like walking up steps and the only real exercise i did was in church when we were dance dance dance dance dance dance dance all night'ing and sure, yeah, i loved a pork chop (or two) and collard greens and mac-n-cheese and cornbread, but no, i did not know that i was fat.

but i learned this truth rather quickly because either dudes whom i found mildly (to wildly!) attractive either would simply ignore me or would say nicely sorry, you're not my type or some would be rude and just say yo, don't fuckin talk to me you fat ass muthafucka and then. well. then. i figured out i was fat.

and i suppose i blame the church for that because they might not have appreciated the fact that i was a fag but they ain't hate on me because i was fat and i was fat a lot longer than i've been a fag. funny what that t and g do to that utterance, so much so that it seems that you would think online profiles would say no fats, no fags or some shit. but yeah. i was able to find hella boyfriends in church but once i kicked down that closet door (and, really, it didn't need to be kicked and there really wasn't a closet; it was more like when i began to own the fact of my existence, not when i went into or out of some such rhetorical space that didn't make or break me anyway), when i began to challenge normative church theology and doctrine about who i wanted to fuck and when i said that it could be with anyone, that it was my desire that i cared for and not the desire of the church for me and that i didn't have to wait until marriage, well, i became unattractive to those very boys who - days before, literally - were ringing my phone, leaving me messages on my machine and trying to come over late at night and fuck and pray and fuck and pray and fuck and pray. i've told you about Derrick, right? what should one do when they lose two communities at the same time? one they never had and the other they felt secure in even if in a problematic relation?

i ain't been the same since, honestly. joined a gym soon after i had these online encounters that were nothing other than the lack of encounters i desired. been going to the gym ever since, though, i'm lazy and hell and it gets boring. but i gotta try, right? i've always found the notion of "no fats, no fems" to be so intriguing because some of these same folks will argue and spit and curse people out if you say they're going to hell for being gay or some shit. they'll do all of this savvy (and i'd add, correct) exegetical maneuvering, showing how faulty relying on biblical text is especially when you don't read it in context and from understanding the writing's culture and whatnot and how the text might be sacred but it ain't infallible and so many of them leave the church and don't go because jesus ain't the author and finisher of their faith. and i'm cool with that. but i do furrow my brow hard as hell when these same folks - with fat friends, mind you - have on their profiles that they don't talk to fat or fem people.

well. isn't this the same sort of christian body/text/sacred shit that we've tried to escape in the first place? i mean, i get it. you want to show the value and worth of the bodies that were deemed sinful. queer people aren't sinning, we're just living lives differently. but you can't displace fucked up theology with fucked up theology. and there is a theology at play right in that "no fats, no fems" declaration. it posits, i'm pretty sure, that there is a holy and separated body type, that there is a sanctified body, that there is a righteous body and that we will know them and their worth and their labors by the abs and muscles and masculinities they bear (bare, even). if that ain't some holiness/pentecostal rhetoric, i don't know what is.

what i find so, sad, really sad, really? it is that we have somehow taken the theology from one place to another and it utterly leaves many of us lonely and in despair. i have a friend who does work against spiritual violences of the church. well. i think the great thing about the concept of spiritual violence is not merely that it is violent but that it is spiritual, meaning, it is not necessarily (or even primarily) housed or sequestered: in a body or institution or within any such strict boundary. spiritual violence disperses. the violence is so spiritual that we cannot see that the same ones we'd link with in the underground society of not-so-secret places and closets are ones we cannot bear to hold, to carry, to love in some other such community. and this is put forward as progressive. it's nothing other than the same old mode of surveillance that was used to regulate our behavior - you know, making sure we weren't sinning - used in the service of regulating other sorts of embodied pleasures.

i'm sure there's gotta be another way.

until we figure it out,



  1. FYI: I gave you a shout out on my blog: