I recently had a long time crush profess to me that he saw me as the “complete package” of what he wanted in a partner, and that if we ever ended up in the same city again he wanted to date me. And I was, for a few days, in complete disbelief of his statement. It wasn’t because he didn’t give any hints to finding me attractive, or that he made the confession right before leaving the West Coast for school, but rather because I couldn’t believe that someone that handsome, kind, and together could find me desirable. He knew about my fucked up gender, weird sexuality and the fact that I was fat, and he still wanted to date me.
This confession from the amazing dreamboat happened at the same time I was dating a person who was pretty underwhelming but who I found myself inviting back regardless. Conversation with them was ok but quickly declining in quality, the sex had never been great, and they had a lot of habits I wasn’t really excited about. Not to mention the fact that they were always mis-pronouning me and generally making my gender identity feel invisible. And then I realized that most of the people I had dated- some for a few months and one for two years- were all not awesome for me. Which made me wonder: Why the hell did I keep investing time and emotional energy into people I didn’t really like that much?
And it has taken me two months to get the courage to write what I discovered, rather painfully, was the answer: I often date people I’m not into because I think that as a fat, genderqueer and queer person I’m not able to find someone who’s truly great for me and need to settle for whoever comes my way.
Since making this difficult confession to myself, I’ve been able to really pick apart some of this internalized shit and figure out why I keep letting it happen. And it all really does revolve around my three core identities. As a fat person I’m trained by society to believe I’m not sexually desirable. As a genderqueer person I struggle to find partners who can understand and respect my identity. And as a queer person I have to find a way to express my desires to the people I’m attracted to and hope that they’ll respond in kind.
But none of these identities are stand alone. As a fat person, I’m only given the tools to be a “radically fat” and confident person in a female body. All of the “Health at Every Size” messaging I see, all of the “fatshion” tumblrs- all focused on women. To go deeper, I only ever feel sexualized in my body if I’m in femme drag. I don’t know how to feel desirable in this fat body in general, but am even more at a loss as how to feel desirable as a fat unicorn. And how do I negotiate OK Cupid or even Craigslist when I can’t choose “male” or “female?” How do I get into dance party cruising when I usually feel like the fat kid in the corner? How do I tell that super hot cis-bear to take me seriously when I tell him that I want to get in his pants when I look to most people like a dyke? How do I stay honest to myself with my own desires when I feel like I have no way to express those desires in a way that will be understood?
This entry doesn’t have a happy ending. A year of blogging about my identity for Original Plumbing, years of being surrounded by radical queer and fat people, and even having that confession from the dreamboat- none of it has magically turned me into a person without insecurity. And think of all the other “undesirable” identities that aren’t supposed to be sexualized. I’m at least privileged enough to be white, able-bodied, not struggling with mental health issues… The list goes on. For now I’ll keep struggling with it. Wading through my internalized shit, hoping for clarity and tools and coping mechanisms.
In short, I don’t know how to date or feel date-able in this body. I don’t know how to negotiate my fatness and genderqueerness and strange sexuality and tie it up into a marketable package and sell it to the type of person I want to attract. I know how to be sexy as a fat femme woman, or maybe even as a fat FTM. But not as a fat, faggy, bear-sexual unicorn. So instead I make do with who ever comes my way and seems interested in me, even if I’m not really into them. Because how can I say no when most of the time I feel like I’m completely undesirable in this body and identity?