“A FAT LITTLE GIRL is eight years old, she’s got pink cheeks that her grandmother calls chubby. She wants a second cookie but her aunt says “you’ll get huge if you keep eating.” She wants a dress and the woman in the changing room says “she’ll probably need a large in that.” She wants to have dessert and her waiter says “After all that dinner you just had? You must be really hungry!” and her parents laugh. A FAT LITTLE GIRL is eleven and she is picked second-to-last in gym class. She watches a cartoon and sees that everyone who is annoying is drawn with a big wide body, all sweaty and panting. At night she dreams she is swelling like the ocean over seabeds. When she wakes up, she skips school. A FAT LITTLE GIRL is thirteen and her friends are stick-thin ballerinas with valleys between their hipbones. She is instead developing the wide curves of her mother. She says she is thick but her friends argue that she’s “muscular” and for some reason this hurts worse than just admitting that she jiggles when she walks and she’ll never be a dancer. Eating seconds of anything feels like she’s breaking some unspoken rule. The word “indulgent” starts to go along with “food.” A FAT LITTLE GIRL is fourteen and she has stopped drinking soda and juice because they bloat you. She always takes the stairs. She fidgets when she has to sit still. Whenever she goes out for ice cream, she leaves half at the bottom - but someone else always leaves more and she feels like she’s falling. She pretends to like salad more than she does. She feels eyes burrowing through her body while she eats lunch. Kate Moss tells her nothing tastes as good as skinny feels, but she just feels like she is wilting. A FAT LITTLE GIRL is fifteen the first time her father says “you’re getting gaunt.” She rolls her eyes. She eats one meal a day but thinks she stays the same size. Every time she picks up a brownie she thinks of the people she sees on t.v. and every time she has cake, she thinks of the one million magazine articles on restricting calories. She used to have no idea a flat stomach was supposed to be beautiful until she saw advice on how to achieve it. She cuts back on everything. She controls. They tell her she’s getting too thin but she doesn’t believe it. A FAT LITTLE GIRL is sixteen and tearing herself into shreds in order for a thigh gap big enough to hush the screams in her head. She doesn’t “indulge,” ever. She can’t go out with friends, they expect her to eat. She damns her sweet tooth directly to hell. It’s coffee for breakfast and tea for lunch and if there’s dance that evening, two cups of water and then maybe an apple. She lies all the time until she thinks the words will rot her teeth. She dreams about food when she sleeps. Her aunt begs her to eat anything, even just a small cookie. They say, “One bite won’t make you fat, will it, darling?” A FAT LITTLE GIRL is seventeen and too sick to go to prom because she can’t stand up for very long. She thinks she wouldn’t look good in a dress anyway. Her nails are blue and not because they are painted. Her hair is too thin to do anything with. She’s tired all the time and always distracted. She once absently mentions the caloric value of grapes to the boy she is with and he looks at her like she’s gone insane and in that moment she realizes most people don’t have numbers constantly scrolling in their heads. She swallows hard and tries to figure out where it all went wrong, why more than a granola bar for a meal makes her feel sick, why she tastes disease and courts with death. She misses sleep. She misses being able to dream. She misses being herself instead of just being empty. A FAT LITTLE GIRL is twenty and writes poetry and is a healthy weight and still fights down the voices every single day. She puts food in her mouth and sometimes cries about it but more and more often feels good, feels balanced. Her cheeks are pink and they are chubby and soft and no longer growing slight fur. Her hair is long and it is beautiful. She still picks herself apart in the mirror, but she’s starting to get better about it. She wears the dress she likes even if it only fits her in a large and she doesn’t feel like a failure for it. She is falling in love with the fat on her hips. She is eating out with friends and not worrying about finding the lowest calorie item on the menu when she hears a mother tell her four year old daughter “You can’t have ice cream, we just had dinner. You don’t want to end up as a fat little girl.””
The opera house is ringing with the past,
No one else knows.
A woman walks by me and she asks me how I’m doing.
Of course I say good.
In my head I’m making a ballet.
I wonder if they know who I was.
The opera house is ringing with familiarity.
I haven’t danced classical…
You spent your life saying no
to the things you thought would break you.
You spent your life saying no to the earth.
They would come to you,
with dirt palms
turned upward saying
Come play with us for
it is morning!
And there is so much to see!
It’s teething season
When white bone
Jumps free from the red sea
And crunches up toward the lip
That pale face
When pain rips up
Like the first buds in Spring
And brings you to your knees
Wishing you had something,
Anything solid to bite down upon
Anything to solid to hold
I can tell by the sweat on your brow
That this is not the first
Nor is it the last
But I can see,
In the way you exhale
Like it will save your life
That it gets easier
The season where the earth breaks
On rocks that climb from the mud
Amidst retreating flood waters
So old, and yet so fresh
And you clench your jaw on mountains
Rising, smeared in ash
Grinning with those awful teeth
And when you bite this time
You break the skin
The word Gypsy has double meanings. I'm sure most of people on tumblr who use it don't mean it as the slur.
Pro tip: NEVER tell a person to whom a pejorative slur is applied that it has “double meanings”.
The word Gypsy DOES NOT have “double meanings”. The word is a slur.
It started out as a slur, it was used to brand, hang, rape, murder, sterilize, and oppress millions of my people and it is STILL USED THAT WAY TODAY.
This sticky-sweet privileged white argument is so frustrating. You continually erase my people from the Holocaust and from their current suffering because it’s inconvenient to you. I don’t care if you didn’t know that the word “Gypsy” was a slur - you do now - and the correct response is NEVER to tell someone to whom a pejorative word has been applied that it’s not always meant that way.
Any supposed “second meaning” has been applied BY WHITE PEOPLE FOR THEIR OWN ENDS. They have taken the nice and pretty things from MY ethnicity and have decided they don’t WANT the rest. So, when they are a “Gypsy” it’s just living without rules, in a caravan, with nice flowy skirts and long hair, smoking weed, wearing no shoes, being half naked in a field …
and the only people who do this are white girls in America.
Because if you pretended to be a Gypsy in Europe, you’d be treated like one, and honestly you girls would run screaming at the first skinhead you saw.
Oh, but wait, when they come after you for your ethnicity you can tell them it has a double meaning, right? That you don’t really mean Gypsy, you just mean hipster boho bubblegum bullshit that has NOTHING AT ALL to do with a real ethnicity.
Do you realize how offensive your words are? Probably not, or you wouldn’t have sent them. At least I hope you wouldn’t.
Most people on Tumblr who use the word perhaps don’t realize the full extent of the word “Gypsy” - just how horrible a word it is - but when they find out? I get bullshit like this in my inbox every day.
Every day I hear: Oh but I didn’t mean it as a slur, so it isn’t one!! Intent isn’t magical. Intent doesn’t erase the decades of pain and hurt and death contained in a word. You can put a pig in a dress and call it a lady, but it’s just a fucking pig in a dress.
You can’t change the meaning of a slur JUST BECAUSE YOU WANT TO. It doesn’t work that way.
You do the same with Native communities here - you take their headdresses and their bead work and their stories and twist them into ugly caricatures and you coral them behind fences so you don’t have to deal with the reality of a word and a horror that YOU created.
In fact, mostly you’re the same people, playing dress up as “injuns” and “Gyppos” because your lives are so boring and white and bland. If you had to live even one day as a real Gypsy you wouldn’t want the epithet any longer.
Stop with your excuses and your privilege. It makes me feel sick.
Gypsy is a slur. Period. And some white girl claiming otherwise doesn’t change a damn thing.
I am going to shave my head. I am shaving