YoungGiftedandFat: Performing Transweight Identities

In this next section, the liminal identity (Sharrell), begins to speak from the border. At the border she envisions a song. Her song is a metaphor for her ‘true identity.’ One that she feels is fat, black, young, and gifted. But which identity marker is the first marker, second, and so on? One might assume that Sharrell’s skin pigmentation of deep dark cocoa brown is her primary identity marker, especially in America. It is at this point that I, the writer, would like to note that I ‘missed’ the colorism discrimination in childhood that other dark-skinned women endured, and am not able to clearly recognize pigmentation bias against my dark skin within the black community in my adult life. My dark skin color was rarely an issue in or outside of my home. In fact, when the boys on the back of the school bus titled me ‘Big, Black, Bitch’ I remember thinking that they had the ‘black’ identity marker correct, and not understanding why being ‘big’ was so bad. That they coupled ‘big’ and ‘black’ with ‘bitch’ was the signifier that their beat box performance was meant to hurt me. Lesson learned at age nine: don’t sit in the back of the bus.

The world made me hide my song
My song
I’m not singing it yet
It’s tucked away somewhere
Catching its breath
Been running far too long
Hiding under clothes too small
Under hate that’s well worn
Under burgundy rivers that sleep in my womb
In feathers of the pillow that catch my tears released too soon
In long awaited nights
In all my years
My song transcends my fears
Beah Richards says
A black woman speaksAbout oppression, about slavery, about all this heat
Fuck those little black boys and these grown men
That withheld their drooling
Down with skinny bitches and all this schooling
Fuck the scale
Fuck a diet
Fuck fruits and vegetables
This is my riot
And although I open my mouth
My song won’t come out
It sits in silence
I am a black woman who wishes for a time
That I could gain my weight back
And still be fine
That I can let my curly hair show and blow in the wind
Without being seen as a threat to all men
So I wear straight wigs
This degree that flows down my back;
I want it for every black person that has been attacked
All of my n*ggas that’s been held back
I read and write and read and fight
Read and write and read and cry
Read and write, and when I speak I fly
Bag lady, why you carrying all them bags
I carry them to remind me of my past
All of the “no you can’ts” all of the “you’re too bigs”
All of the “why you so black and yo mama light skinneds”
All of the “you won’t get a jobs” all of the “they won’t let you ins”
All of the “you can’t ever be a teacher cuz you distract the kids”
I wish I could fall into the arms of my father and do it all again
I’d whisper in his ear, that he’s a great man, I’d tell him to keep his sperm
Locked away in his pants,
but I guess my mama felt too good
and the universe decided to give me a chance.
So here I am.

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