I was watching the movie Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, because I needed an injection to keep me going on my juice fast. Today is Day 5, and I hit a rough patch. Although I was euphoric in the morning. Anyhow, he comes to this part in the movie where he is in a gun shop, and the guy behind the counter pulls out a teeny-tiny gun. The narrator goes, “that’s a girl’s gun.” Why? Because it’s small and weak and ineffective.
Like it’s really necessary in an otherwise inspirational movie. I stopped watching it on the spot. OFF. You don’t spew that kind of bullshit in my house.
I’ve been wanting to get back into writing, but it’s been feeling very tough. So many times, something will happen, and I’m reminded of a cascade of stories I want to write about. But it feels so difficult to write, so emotional to go through the process of chronicling, that I don’t do it. But I really need to do it, even in tiny portions (you know, girl size), so here goes:
I used to teach fifth grade. During recess on the grassy field, I noticed that the boys all played rough and tumble ball games, and the girls stood on the sidelines watching. What would you do if you were a teacher? Would you say, “boys will be boys, and girls will be girls,” or would you see if people were truly expressing their authentic selves – and if not, create the opportunity for them to do so?
I walked over to the girls and asked them if they wanted to play. They totally did, but they were shy. I told the boys that from that day on, they needed to include the girls. Well the boys were clearly pissed about it and went about trying to obliterate the girls in every game. The girls, meanwhile, played “like girls,” which as a feminist critic once said brilliantly, means that they do not inhabit or fully possess their bodies. They stand back in their own skin. Cuz that’s what we chicks are taught to do.
So I did two things: I told the boys that they had a lot more experience than the girls playing this game, and that they needed to teach the girls how to play it. I also instructed the girls to kick the boys’ ass. One girl was vocal about her fear that she would end up hurting the boys. “Do you think they are afraid of hurting you?” I asked. “No,” she replied. “So KICK THEIR ASS!” I encouraged her.
Sometime later, as the weeks progressed, this same girl threw her arms in frustration, yelling how she hated being a “weak girl.” “Wait a minute,” I said to her. “You told me you are afraid of hurting the boys. Which means that if you give it your all, you are powerful enough to hurt them. So how can you then say you are a weak girl? You’re not letting yourself play full-force. Do it!”
Long story short, I coached both the girls and boys on how to be powerful players. For the boys, I taught them that to be a truly worthy opponent, you need to teach how to play the game someone who does not know how to do it. Then play with all you’ve got. Don’t try to knock them down when they haven’t even begun to learn the same skill set as you. That’s weakness and cowardice. For the girls, I taught them how to inhabit their bodies get aggressive and love it.
I don’t remember a lot of the details, which makes me regret not writing down the story at the time. I think that’s why I’m not writing things, because there are now holes in my memory. And I hate not doing proper justice to a story. It’s critically important to me to recount events as they were, and to remember the details. As I used to say when I was a kid, “the truth lies in the details.”
Anyhow, it was lots of fun to encourage the girls to take up space and to see them filling that space more and more. You can say I’m an unconventional teacher. I remember when one of the girls screamed because a particularly aggressive boy (who attempted to pulverize the girl players in ways he never, ever tried to take on the boy players) hit her hard with the ball. I encouraged to give it back to him double force.
And I think we need to do that. We need to encourage girl children to take up space and stand strong and push themselves and lift things and shit. I remember when I was a little girl, I always wanted to carry heavy things, and people – including strangers – always wanted to take those heavy things from me, to “help” me out. “How am I going to get strong if I don’t carry heavy things?” I challenged them.
I was an awake kid. I was very cognizant of how girls and boys were corralled into different camps, with our natural personalities steam-rolled in a mass frenzy of conformity. How adults can’t see it is amazing to me.
At any rate, I’ll close this story with the juxtaposition of seeing the girls stepping into their power – so free and full of life – versus how they looked at the school photo towards the end of the year. I believe the kids posed on that same field. And when the photographer told everyone to strike a pose, the most grotesque thing happened: While the boys remained full of life and smiling exuberantly, the girls – all of 10 years old – did their best to imitate the purportedly sexy, sultry look of fashion models. It looked as distorted as four year old girls parading around in makeup and prom dresses.
This shit is SICK. And it’s all pervasive. So mister fat sick and nearly dead, think twice before you spread the contamination around – ironically, while you’re making a movie fighting the contamination we put into our bodies. Let’s feed our bodies AND our souls fresh, healthy, vital food. Let’s encourage everyone to take up our Gd given space and body and power. Let’s use our power to ensure that everyone shines.
It was interesting, by the way, to observe two teenage girls in his film. One of them already had adopted the whole “pretty girl” posture. I think that it’s so deeply ingrained, that – as with the toxic processed food we inhale – we don’t even notice it contorting and distorting our bodies, minds, and spirits.
How much wasted girl energy is out there. It’s just so overwhelming to me sometimes. I am just glad I didn’t let another moment go by, but I went through the difficulty of writing this down before another memory passed and faded yet another notch.