“I love my body for how it looks, though women aren’t supposed to say that. I’m not ashamed of my vanity, however. It took years of conscious effort to develop, and requires daily awareness to maintain. Being vain became easier once I viewed it as rebellion against a society that has monetary interest in my self-loathing. You want me to feel ugly and fat and smelly so I will buy your products? Nice try, I’m gorgeous.”
I have a new publication out this month in Proximity magazine (quoted above)! I am pretty excited because Proximity is a publication I admire, not only as a writer, but as an editor. Their “series on race, gender, intersectionality, and literary responsibility” is fantastic. It is the epitome of transparency, honesty, and self-reflection. If you have an interest in lit mags, check it out. Also, check out the issue my piece is in–the theme is inheritance.
I wrote this essay two years ago, in a class called “Writing the Body” taught by Ira Sukrungruang. You might recall my flash piece “The Tooth” also came out of an assignment in that class. Now that I’m graduating, I hope to go through all of my past assignments and notebooks and see what other writing I can revise and send out. I know not all writing needs to be published, but it still makes me happy to see assignments turn into publications.
After this essay was accepted, I reread it for the first time in quite a while, which felt odd. The tone I took in the essay and the way in which I would write about my body now are so different I wondered, is this essay true? I mean, it’s definitely not a lie, and parts of it still apply now, but I don’t wear lipstick very often anymore, and although I am fine with how I look, I don’t feel defiant about it and wouldn’t call myself vain. Plus, my leg and armpit hair is grown out for the first time in my whole adult life, so if I wrote a “Body Gossip Column” now, probably half of it would be dedicated to that. The experience provided a reminder that creative nonfiction (and possibly all nonfiction) is more fluid than we like to think, and very dependent on time as context.
This feels like an important publication for me, partially because it is highly personal and also because it is the first publication I shared on Facebook (feel free to friend me–I created the account to use as a writer). I hadn’t warned any family members about this publication, so I wondered if there would be backlash. My family is rather conservative and in this essay I drop an f-bomb in the first section, then mention both “boobs” and “orgasm” later. So far, the only family member who has contacted me about the publication is my mom, to say that she thinks it is well-written. :)