Hunger, written by one of my favorite authors Roxane Gay, is a memoir, where she lets us in what her life has been like living and navigating this world as heavyset woman. “This is a memoir of my body. My body was broken. I was broken. I did not know how to put myself back together. I was splintered. A part of me was dead. A part of me was mute and would stay that way for many years.” In her memoir, she writes how being in her body was a safe place for her because of the trauma that she had survived being raped by several boys at a young age. She tells us that she let herself eat and gain weight because she didn’t want to be seen in a sexual manner, that she was hiding from herself and no one would ‘see’ her. A secret she carried and ate her way through until she was ready to speak her truth and even then she still holds fear, anger and shame, which is all normal and understandable. And she writes about all of this.
To me her story is so much more than her telling her story of how she navigates the world as a big woman, how society makes you think that the heavier you are the less attractive you’ll be to others and skinnier is always better, how people dismissed her because of her weight, how she has been judged immediately because of her weight, how she has had to pay extra for a seat when flying on an airplane, how she self loathed, gone on crazy diets to please others particularly her parents who didn’t have an idea of what she had gone through. And there is much more than that. She writes about all of this.
To me this story is about how we survive trauma, the things we do to try forget trauma, ways in which we don’t want to talk about our traumas. I didn’t experience the same trauma as Roxane Gay but I could and can relate to how she has felt. How we all hunger for acceptance, love, security, vulnerability, to be understood and seen that we would do anything to keep it, to the point of losing ourselves in the process because we fear that the people we love or think we love would leave us. We become so insecure that we deem ourselves unworthy of love and it doesn’t matter what size you are. And we do crazy things. She writes about all of this.
Gay, although I believe is still scared of really going in depth of the trauma that haunts her is slowly and steadily putting herself back together, where she is allowing herself to feel and be vulnerable to herself and others, having healthy relationships with her family as well as intimately. You know, it is difficult to put everything out there for people to read and see. I do think she was brave enough to start the conversation on how trauma affects us differently and manifest itself in other ways sometimes without even knowing. And she is learning all of this, learning to be self-aware and learning to love her self and the body she is in. She writes about all of this.
In the last part of her book she mentions that she has come a long way in rebuilding herself and is still going through the process. Just like most of us dealing with our past, we take it one day at a time. She writes, “I do not want pity or appreciation or advice. I am not brave or heroic. I am not strong. I am not special. I am one woman who has experienced something countless women have experienced.” Thank you Roxane Gay for sharing your story. She writes about this and all her truths even as uncomfortable as it may be.
My Experience with The Musa Writing and Reading Club
I joined the Musa Writing and Reading Club since its birth on August of 2016 by the invitation of the founder, Wendy Angulo. I was a bit shocked; I’m not going to lie because the women that are part of the club are damn good writers and avid readers and just didn’t put myself in the same category as them. Then I started to think well, if Wendy thought of me then that means I’m doing something right!! Ha! Anyway, to make a long story short and fast forward to a year later, I am happy that I have been able to meet with such supportive, intelligent, critical thinking women!! I have been reading books I never thought I’d read or write about, books I am still trying to process. I like to play it safe but this group challenges my thinking and pushes me beyond my expectations. I am looking forward to the continuance of participating with this group of women that I can call my sisters and stretch our potential to its highest form. I am beyond grateful for this group and looking forward to learning, reading and sisterhood.