joint decisions

What I Be: Weird, Queer, Fat

I definitely need to write a post about the whole Joint Decisions Empowerment Summit. It will happen, I promise. First, though, I wanted to take some time and write about an amazing experience I had while there.
What I Be is a project by Steve Rosenfield that focuses on building security through insecurities. As Steve writes,

Subjects are putting their insecurities out in the open, and exposing a side of themselves that nobody has seen before. By stating “I am not my_____,” they are claiming that they do in fact struggle with these issues, but it does not define who they are as a person. They are not denying their insecurity, they are owning it. It is not aimed for people to say “You’re not fat,” or “You don’t have love handles.” It is to spread awareness on what people go through due to society’s paved roads. These are serious issues that some of us can live with, but most battle on a day to day basis.

Steve even has gotten some real life stars to participate, like one of my favorites Michael Franti. In fact, the project is actually named after one of Michael’s songs. The chorus is:

What I be, is what I be
What I be, is what I be
Well, well, well, movin on!
Well, well, well, movin on!
Do you love someone? Do you love somebody?
Love that one!

I tried to keep quiet in person about the Franti connection… But then, at one point, Steve jokingly offered to call Mike. I almost fainted!
It was empowering to simply hear about this project, but we were able to take part in it.
The title of my picture is “I am not my identity.”
I’ve always been mocked for my weight, something that is heavily connected to my illnesses. My weirdness is too, in combination with my neglectful/abuse-filled childhood.
The queer thing is new.
In early September, I started putting together thoughts I’ve had since my teenage years and realized that I am gender queer also known as gender fluid. What that means, in simple terms, is I don’t necessarily fall into the binary gender constructs of male or female. Some days, I feel more male and other days more female. Then there are days where I am simply just me, some gender that cannot be defined. I usually express these things in the way I dress.
I still use female pronouns like she/her/hers. There is no surgery associated with this. It is simply a way to describe how I feel as well as how I express myself via clothing, etc.
I have mentioned this a bit on Twitter, but this was kind of my ‘coming out’ moment. I’m proud to really be owning my identity and so grateful to the loved ones who have helped me figure out the things.
I’m proud of ‘what I be’ and to have participated in What I Be, too. You can see more of the Joint Decisions gang pics here.

PS: While Janssen paid for my travel to the Joint Decisions Empowerment Summit, all thoughts and opinions expressed here or on social media are my own… especially regarding how amazing people are.

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1 Comment

  1. I am proud of all of us for participating in that photo essay. I am double proud that you explained your picture in such a forthright way. I hope I ma able to do as well.

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