WRITES

January 30, 2018

Race Bait

You ask

why I always have to bring up race

with no knowledge or care

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Race Bait

  You ask why I always have to bring up race with no knowledge or care for the number of times days months years I have bit my tongue until I tasted blood just to please you.  

-    Shanice Nicole

@ThatsWhatShaSaid

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January 22, 2018

The Revolution Looks Like Black Love

The revolution looks like Black love.

The revolution looks like Black love

because Black love is the revolution.

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The Revolution Looks Like Black Love

  The revolution looks like Black love. The revolution looks like Black love because Black love is the revolution.   Beautiful Black bodies birthing beautiful Black babies until all we see is we until all we see is us and that would be enough for me trust.   Because I believe in Black love. Because I believe in Black love. Because I believe in Black love.   Even when I am told not to Even when I am sold not to.   I believe because I know how powerful how magical how radical it is for us to love ourselves and for us to love each other every sibling every sister every brother when we live in a world that is convinced that we are not worthy of it and whose sole purpose it seems is to convince us too so when we choose Black love - when I say I choose to love you and you and you how is that anything but a revolution?

-    Shanice Nicole

@ThatsWhatShaSaid

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January 12, 2018

Shedding the “Good Fatty” Skin

I am fat. I am curvy, I am plus size, but ultimately I am also fat. I have cellulite and stretch marks basically everywhere cellulite and stretch marks can be. I have the body of a fat woman, including flabby arms, mermaid thighs, breasts that double as pillows, and a tummy that would never be called flat.

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Shedding the “Good Fatty” Skin

  I am fat. I am curvy, I am plus size, but ultimately I am also fat. I have cellulite and stretch marks basically everywhere cellulite and stretch marks can be. I have the body of a fat woman, including flabby arms, mermaid thighs, breasts that double as pillows, and a tummy that would never be called flat. Let me be incredibly clear: I also love my body. My self-love is not shallow or corporate but a deep, divine love beyond what anyone staring at me on the street could imagine. I have heard too many fat women who would gladly list their accomplishments, successes, and personality as attributes they love without a single mention of their body. And this is entirely understandable; we occupy a space in a marginalizing society that dictates we be the Good Fatty, and it can take years of work to reject this notion. The Good Fatty ultimately hates herself. Yes, she’s fat, but she also spends hours a day on the cardio machine and buys every diet book on the shelf to show the world that she too thinks her body is a problem to be fixed, she would never dare to wear a crop top or anything that showed “too much” skin, and would adamantly refuse to accept praise on her physical appearance. This is not to shame the Good Fatty whatsoever; she has grown up unrepresented, ridiculed, and harassed by a cruel and oppressive social structure that favors thinness (which of course compounds with other harmful systems of power such as racism, sexism, queerphobia, classism, and ableism, among others). She is a product of a world that continually denies her humanity based on an appearance that is considered less than. We cannot and should not blame her for this, but instead support her in her journey and work to decrease her burden through fighting for fat representation beyond surface-level tolerance. It is a long, arduous process to shed the Good Fatty skin but it is wholly possible and it seems as though more and more fat women are creating and carving their own niche in which to exist as beautiful. We should not have to create our own space, but it is a reality and the work of fat women to undermine patriarchal beauty standards must be lauded. I have shed my Good Fatty skin and I am loving it. Do I eat my greens and exercise? Yes, but not because my body needs to be “fixed”, but because it needs to be loved. I also eat ice cream and pasta without feeling like a human garbage disposal. I wear crop tops and go braless despite by 42DD’s, I wear bikinis at the beach and strut like a peacock, I stare at myself in the mirror for long, unabashed periods of time, and I give my body the love and attention it deserves. I am healthy, I am happy, and I am fat. I am not asking for your approval, your love, or your desire, but am demanding that I and all fellow fatties have the space to exist as women who defy social convention.

-    Jill

Illustration by Niti Mueth

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January 5, 2018

First Generation Student

I grew up in a low-income household in a small town on Prince Edward Island. I did not come from an educated family that could help me with my homework beyond early elementary school or grow up surrounded by people who could provide guidance about a future outside of P.E.I. I did not have the luxuries afforded to so many people simply by being born into wealth. I am a first-generation university student.

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First Generation Student

I grew up in a low-income household in a small town on Prince Edward Island. I did not come from an educated family that could help me with my homework beyond early elementary school or grow up surrounded by people who could provide guidance about a future outside of P.E.I. I did not have the luxuries afforded to so many people simply by being born into wealth. I am a first-generation university student.

First-generation university students face a unique set of struggles and forms of marginalization that are rarely, if ever, addressed at the universities they attend. Simply defined, a first-generation university student is a student whose parents did not have the privilege of attending university. Students that fit this criteria are often from rural, low-income areas.

Being a first-generation university student is sitting at a dining hall and overhearing people laughing about failing a midterm and losing their scholarship while knowing that if you lost your scholarship you would have to drop out of university. It is the look of mild disgust and disbelief you see in the eyes of fellow students when they learn that your parents are not doctors or lawyers or businesspeople but a liquor store employee and a salesman. It is sitting in an economics classroom listening to rich dudes advocate for austerity measures that would have sent your family to a food bank.

The word that I would most closely associate with being a first-generation university student is fear. Fear that someone will mock my low-class accent during a presentation or that a professor will realize I am not from some fancy, well-funded school and think that I am not worth their time. Fear that every time I get a grade below my threshold of acceptability that I will never be good enough or rich enough to excel in an institution that was built to exclude people like me. I feel like I have to be two different people depending on whether I am at home or at school. At home, I rarely talk about my degree, classes or beliefs for fear that my family will think I have assimilated into the kind of person that would look down on them. When I am at school, I cannot talk about my childhood spent digging piss clams for supper at the shore or my secret joy of entering a Walmart since it was one of the only stores where I would ever get unused clothing as a child. I feel incredibly isolated when fellow students discuss their ambivalence at a family vacation in California or summer jobs that earn above minimum wage. I feel incredibly angry when middle- or upper-class students talk about how “poor” they are because for once in their lives they have to manage their own money and cannot afford the brand-name ketchup. I am extremely proud of the person I am today, not in spite of my lower-class upbringing, but because of it. I love that I am hard-working and reliable because there was no other option in my family. I love that my friends can ask me for help with budgeting because I learned how to be practical at such an early age. And I love that I would never even consider shaming someone for their background unlike so many students within the university system that have unintentionally made me feel less-than. I did not grow up with parents who could help me with a science fair project or afford to save for my education, but I do not for one second regret any of that. I feel unendingly privileged to attend university as it has not been an option for virtually anyone in my entire extended family. I am a better person because of the struggles I have faced, and I will not ever accept a rich kid trying to shame, degrade or pity me for my socioeconomic status. To all fellow first-generation university students, I am incredibly proud of you.

-  Jill

Illustration by Niti Mueth

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