My Woman Body Revelation
by: Trae Harris
“I’m not really sure if I am ready to do this… well, I guess I am, If I’m writing it…
For a long time, I didn’t FEEL like a woman, not that I felt “trans” or male, I just never felt woman enough. In a world where I appear to be so many things on an obvious level, most people would immediately point out that I “look” like a woman. And to a degree, yes, I would have agreed. But the truth was that I just didn’t feel woman enough physically. Being “petit” (as I have come to comfortably consider myself) has been quite a journey for me. Feeling too small or too thin, too skinny, maybe even frail, has always been an up and down battle. I began to develop a sort of anxiety. I was always worried about how thin I looked. I began to excessively layer under my jeans and wear over-size sweaters not only as a fashion statement but as a disguise. As a performance artist I know about role-playing. I know that everyday we go up in drag for the sheer purpose of the performance. I live in the realm of performativity. But I also know I was hiding, hiding my sense of inadequacy. In my community — namely, that of black women — I have felt silently alienated many times. Not having a voluptuous shape had been such a burden for me. I longed to gain weight yet I couldn’t conceive of a proper way to do so. I drowned myself in the bottom of protein shakes and ate a bunch of crap that I knew was horrible for my body just to gain weight. I was ridiculous and it really didn’t work very much. Or so I thought…
Soon, I started to notice a change in my body. I gained a little here and there. And then a little more. And before I knew it I was 25 lbs heavier and I felt “normal.” I had a booty and thighs. I was completely feeling myself. I knew I had my “woman-body.”
“Woman-body” was a phrase that I used to describe a body that was curvy, full and “womanly” by a very stringent and oppressive scale in the black community. Being petit is not always glorified, especially not in my family. I recall a time when I did a photo shoot for a friend and I LOVED the images. I’d just begun wrapping my hair and connecting with my inner and higher self. I felt more beautiful on the inside than I had ever felt. My grandmother saw the images and called my mom crying out of fear and desperation. Even after my weight gain she was saddened by how thin I looked. She thought I looked sick. That saddened me to my core. I felt so disconnected and damaged. I’d always felt I looked different than a lot of the women in my family being that I was always so thin, but in that moment I felt completely isolated from the tall, curvy, powerful, strong women I admired so much.
I had let certain aspects of my ego go and began embracing my new found woman-body. I began to dress less conservatively than I had. I wore short shorts and cropped tops. All the things that I had been WAY too shy to wear were now completely at my”…read the rest of Trae Harris’s story here