Also I’m still fat and so happy!!!!!!!!
Up until a few years ago, I had always felt like a tourist in my body. “Don’t get too comfortable with this version of me,” I wanted to tell people. Sometimes I would show them thinner photos of me in high school when I was at the peak of my disordered eating: obsessing over what & what not to eat while compulsively exercising; and I guess part of the goal was that hoped they could somehow mentally superimpose that thinner (albeit anxiety-ridden) version of my body on my actual body?? Now in my thirties, I understand the danger in glorifying my 17-year-old body. When I romanticize the way my body looked then, I ignore the pain I was in. I ignore the trauma: the assault I lived through, the suicidal thoughts, the rejection from church, the depression that led to disordered eating. I ignore the torture I put myself through in order to–just for a brief year–be seen as average sized. Someone in my workshop pointed out something that had never EVEN OCCURRED TO ME: one of the saddest things about this obsession that so many of us have with our younger selves or our high school bodies is that we were not adults. We were technically still children. When I glorify my high school self, I’m glorifying an undeveloped body. Also!! I’m assuming that if I somehow “achieve” that size again, I would just Freaky Friday myself into magically loving my body, because I certainly didn’t in high school.
As I’ve been involved in fat positive spaces and experienced my own revelations regarding my body, it has become apparent to me that yo-yo dieting (which is a normalized way to say disordered eating) is the result of our very human response to starvation or restriction and the simultaneous social aspect of weight loss being celebrated. So, congratulations, you never fucking get to win. If you are not naturally thin with a positive relationship with food, you are either hungry/anxious/exhausted OR you are not thin and the world tells you that your job is SHAME and your work is to do everything you can to become thin. Or! Or! Or! You are fat and not only have to deal with the mental fatigue of these same issues, but you have to deal with anti-fat bias and size discrimination at every turn! It fucking sucks!
So, as I entered my twenties as fat person, I realized my options were: I can either have peace in my life & body & make fulfilling work OR I can do everything I possibly can to be perceived as “healthy” (read: thin) and have my entire life be oriented around whether or not
straight white men want to fuck me institutions see me as valuable. Letting go of the belief that I can control everything– especially as it related to my body size and weight–is one of the simplest, kindest things I ever did for myself and everyone around me. It is also one of the most marathon-like endeavors I’ve ever experienced. Note: As I do more of this work, I also recognize there is privilege that comes with saying “Fuck it.” In many ways, it is a luxury to be my most authentic self. No one can fire me for being too fat or loud or taking a week off because I am CEO of Hot Gay Bitch Enterprises. The world is incredibly unkind to fat people, especially those who live in multiple intersections of oppression. The choices that fat people have to make in order to survive are, at best, deeply unfair.
Another incredibly unfortunate thing that happens to people with negative self-image is the disbelief when Love comes knocking– we can’t believe it. And I mean the good Love. I mean the nurturing, soul-birthing, Love that makes more love. The expansive shit. When that love shows up, there is no time for you to mope around, sabotaging Love, saying “I don’t trust you because you are so good.” Wah-wah! Buckle in, you lush fucking chrysanthemum! I know you’ve been left for ruins like a rusting sword in an endlessly lonely field, and trusting people when they say something nice is a kind of broken algebra. But you’re not a battering ram!!!!!! You’re not a moat!!!!! You’re not a building or a billboard!!!!!! You are a living, breathing thing. And you have hope, and it’s stupid, and we both know it!!!! But hope is a thing with feathers like Emily Dickinson said, and hope is real and you wouldn’t be alive without it, so you have to at least try to trust. Try to believe that you deserve kindness. Maybe just once a day? Try it on! It could be fun! If someone is complimenting you and your first impulse is to say that someone is lying or they don’t mean it, you probably have trauma and some hurt that needs some attention. And you deserve to get answers and help for that level of distrust from a professional, just as much as you deserve to be loved fiercely. And I don’t care if you are fat or not what gender you are– this is a message for you!
You deserve to be loved well.
If you want some tools or new ways of thinking about self-love, I LITERALLY RUN A WORKSHOP about it (a new cycle starts this Winter)!! I also have not forgotten that I absolutely click-baited you into this fat-positive-propaganda with the title “GAY MARRIED” and promised photos, and since I am on a writing high, I couldn’t resist sharing my vows and some wedding day thank yous with these incredible shots by Darling Photography. Also also I released a very sweet wedding song today about how utterly awe-struck I am by my own life. It’s only available on Bandcamp for now, but should be available on other platforms in two weeks! Listen here!!
In the second act of Much Ado About Nothing, Beatrice is declaring her love to Benedick and says so passionately “I am not as I have been.” And Emma Thompson nails it (who can read Shakespeare when Emma Thompson is alive and acting???) and she’s right.
That’s it, exactly: I am fundamentally different than when I met you, and that’s what is so undeniable and beautiful and so terrifying about love. It will change you.
That’s why we have to be careful about who we love. Because it’s not just that we change, it’s that we become.
Wyatt Paige, you have not just changed me, I have become. In the most profound of ways. You have loved me so completely, without condition, in every way imaginable and that love has transformed me.
Things that used to hurt don’t hurt anymore. Things I used to believe like love is finite and finicky and scarce, and you have to contort yourself into some unrecognizable segment of your identity just to be understood. I believed that there was a singular kind of romantic, all-consuming love that if you were lucky enough to receive in life, you should never let it go. But you walked into my life like lightning in a bottle and did not consume me; your smile was a pickax. You found me! You found me! You found me! In my own cave. I didn’t know there was a kind of love that creates more love!
Wyatt Paige, I promise to support your wildest dreams, your creative endeavors, your career pursuits, the choices you make for yourself, and the choices we make together. I vow to be honest with you, to communicate with you, and to be aware of my own feelings.
I vow to find your hand across the table even when I am upset and to do my best to hold both of our hurts during situations that may be difficult. And I vow to cry with you at every dog rescue video, wildlife rehabilitation story, and unlikely animal friendship as long as I live.
I love you and I will honor and nurture this love with you.
Thank you to our family and friends, who came from near and far to share this day with us. You all buoy us and strengthen our love and share our pursuit of goodness and mutual care. We love you.
To my music friends: You made the soundtrack to our wedding absolutely perfect. Maiah Manser, your set for the rehearsal dinner was JAW-DROPPING, and hearing your voice winding through the barn while I put my dress on left me sobbing. Chandra & Soren & Melissa, you make me so glad I’m alive. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Thank you Nadia Schuessler for being the best Captain Bridesbabe I could have ever asked for. Would 100% recommend having a best friend like Nadia who has taught me so much about unconditional friendship love. Thank you for continuing to be the champion of rocking the fuck out with a party hat!! Thank you Joy McGaugh for being the best President Broomsbabe that EVER LIVED and for being down to eat Red Robin and answer my questions about catering and being Wyatt’s fiercest advocate in all things. I’m so lucky to have another sister.
Catie, Hannah, and Kathy, my sisters, my stars! My laughter, my compass, my anchors. Thank you for traveling from JAPAN and Washington to celebrate with Wyatt and I. We shared such sacred time together and I will never forget a moment of it. You all bring me unbridled happiness. Leslie, our officiant and confidante, the architect of word magic, and probably the one who saved my sanity by disarming this Taurus and actually teaching me how necessary it is to ask for and receive help. Thank you.
Tim, you are so important to me and I would not be alive without your friendship. You are so, so good. Rex, Ned, and Cheryl, you have made me feel like I have always belonged. I am so lucky to call you family & friends–thank you for holding us with your love and for being actual fucking miracles.
Mom, Mom Anne, And Mama Dee: how absolutely blessed am I to have THREE MOMS who love me so much and have shown up for Wyatt and I in unimaginable ways. We are enormously grateful for all the ways that you supported us this day, and we will keep it close to our hearts always.
Vanessa and Kirby, y’all are the dream team. THANK YOU for coming in clutch–even now!!!
This wedding was literally dreamier than my actual dreams—to the point where I almost refused to take my dress off (bridezilla much??)—but it never would have felt that way without our wedding party & team who helped build a dream come to life; our stellar vendors who were patient with fluctuating guest and last minute frantic where-the-hell-is-my-veil moments; and again, our friends and family for traveling across the world, taking red eyes, showing up for us and bringing the most fashionable outfits I have ever seen at a wedding (Marc in a velvet tuxedo onesie!! Sara and Rachel IN CAPES, Kat’s costume change!!). Thank you for making us the happiest, most in awe of community & care that either of us have ever felt. What incredible love we have in our lives.counts
Photography: Brittany DischerTanski of Darling Photography, assisted by Abigail Ames and Sarah Gates
Venue: Enchanted Gables
Planning: Becca Link of Olive & Co.
Catering: Big Tree Catering and Charcutemarie
Florals: Clarissa Marchia from Lucy Blooms
Dress: Essense of Australia
Wyatt’s suit: Bindle and Keep
Hair: Jill Sohler-Melik and Sicca from Salon 241
Makeup: Kaija Mistral and Rachelle Black
Videography: Erik Dabrowski of Red Rose Visuals
Blankets: Boston Blankets
Bartending: Savannah O’Connor of O’Connor Bartending
Sound/lighting/photobooth/emergency DJ: Danny Debruin from Northeast Event Designs
Catie’s suit: Wildfang
Rehearsal dinner: Wicked Shebas
Linens: BBJ La Tavola
Cakes: Village Baking Co.
Sound mixing: Jonah Cohen Sound
Music: Melissa Achten, Maiah Manser, Tim Mendonsa, Chandra Johnson, and Soren Olsen.
Poet: Rachel McKibbens
Rentals: The Borrowed Teacup, A Family Affair, and Chevaughn Marie Designs
Beverages: RSVP Discount Beverage
Rings: Rebekah Brooks Jewelry
Assistants: Vanessa Ruggieri and Kirby Greene
And for those of you asking about my episode of Say Yes To the Dress, I have been told it will air in 2023 at the start of the next season!