March 7, 2016

Fat Writer at AWP

So my friend, Baruch Porras-Hernandez, posted the article below on Facebook. I adore him for many reasons but I'm inspired by how he embraces his queer brown fatness.

The article, about being fat while traveling, got me thinking of my upcoming trip to #AWP16.

In addition to all the preparations for panels, caucuses, off-site readings and other events, this traveling-while-fat stress is what's been occupying the back of my mind.

As the conference nears, this will move to the front of my thinking until the plan takes off, until it lands, until I check into my hotel room.

I've started doing things like walking stairs at work, not to get myself in shape or to be healthy, but so I won't be out of breath when I enter a conference room. I'll also carry a handkerchief to wipe my face because I don't want to be the fat sweaty guy.

Once in the conference room I'll look at the small seats and wonder if this will be the exact moment when one of those chairs, which has held bigger people than me, will break. Then everyone will look at the fat guy who broke a chair. I also try to be cognizant of my breathing because at some point, I'll get a dirty look from someone who doesn't want to hear a fat guy breathe.

I'll also have to figure out which clothes to pack -- ones that won't fight with me and that have some semblance of professionalism. I'll pack an extra belt just in case the one I'm wearing breaks. I'll shower at least twice a day because if there's a strange smell, people always look at the fat guy first.

This just part of what it's like for me to go to a conference.

There's a lot of reasons I'm fat and they are mine to examine. Yet whether it's travel or conferences or everyday life, I do my best not to let my size negatively impact or even harm on others.

Unfortunately, similar intentions are not always returned.

Me and my big fat attitude.