Super-excited to kick off Tuesday’s guest post spot this month [which I just instated! so, this YEAR] with the fantastic Mara from Medicinal Marzipan and this heartfelt post.
Mara Glatzel is the highly caffeinated maven behind the body image + authentic living blog, Medicinal Marzipan. If you enjoyed this post, catch up with her (almost) daily body-loving antics and general rabble-rousing on facebook, twitter, or shoot her an email.
Since I woke up this morning, I have been making chocolate Super Bowl cupcakes with footballs in vanilla frosting out of a sudden memory of having done so when I was a kid.
I wanted to make those cupcakes because I had a memory of being a kid and watching the Superbowl with my father. I had a memory of making him a football-shaped chocolate cake. I had a memory of how fun it was and how happy I had made him.
I am the kind of woman who looks natural wearing an apron.
I have these curves which seem well situated for bearing children and maternal, wifely instinct.
I have long curly hair, which I often wear in a bun on top of my head, not unlike a ballerina.
I love a good dress/tights/boots combo.
Since I was a kid, I have been distinctly aware of how my body permits me entry into certain circles, mostly because I grew up conscious of the what I was left out of. I was a chubby, but pretty kid. I wore awkward outfits. I seemed at odds with my body, because I was, nearly all of the time. When I was a kid, my chubby body meant: you are not popular, no one wants to be your boyfriend, your body is something to be ashamed of.
When I was a kid, my body kept me out of all of the circles that I desperately wanted to gain entry to.
Then I grew up, and my curves began to make sense. I began to feel more comfortable in my skin. As I started dating – I dated both men and women. It worked, for me, and I never felt as though I should change anything about my visible appearance to do so. It never seemed to be aproblem, how I looked.
However, as a queer woman who looks decidedly straight, I often encounter both negative and positive reactions to my appearance.
Negative as in - Oh, that’s so cute that you’re some straight girl who has decided to have a lesbian experience - when I’ve been dating girls since I was 14. Negative as in - When have a word for people like you in my country, it roughly translates to eating on both sides of the fence - when I want to say simply, I love the person and not the gender. That’s how I was raised, and that’s what I believe in.
And yet? I am overwhelmingly aware of the privilege that my presentation grants me. I am aware that no one screams “DYKE” when I walk down the street. I am aware that no one confronts me when I walk into a women’s restroom, telling me that I don’t belong there. I am aware that men find me charming, and treat me as if I were a challenge instead of a threat. I am aware that I am queer, but I am palatable because my presentation doesn’t confuse or upset people.
I am aware, constantly, because my partner has a very different experience in the world. I am aware of how we are received differently by the world around us, and I am aware of how it feels to feel guilty about my traditional prettiness.
However, until recently, I thought that this was the limit to my visibility. I had never stopped to think for a moment about the other ways in which my body informs my experience. I hadn’t begun to think about how, as a social worker and a coach, my body impacted my experience with clients.
When I walk into a room with a client, or appear on a skype screen, I am walking in with all of my issues emblazoned across my chest. As a curvy, plus-sized woman, I am walking in with my history of my difficult relationship with food and my body and sex. When I walk into a room, I am walking in as someone who has become a little pulled together over the last couple of years, but who walks on eggshells, not wanting to disturb the balance. I am walking in as someone who you can pretty much bet will understand when you say: I hate my body and I need help.
I will understand because, my body is the culmination of my lived experience – it represents the best and worst of how my coping mechanisms over those years, it represents what I have to offer, both professionally and personally.
My comfort within my skin is my best work.