It's summer — a time of boob sweat, huge earrings, neon, watermelon slushies and sneaky tequila at the pool. Summer is also a time of new beginnings. So it's a great time to take stock of how much you're putting out in the world and see if maybe you're giving away too much of yourself. I realized recently that I’d been doing exactly that – especially, though for sure not exclusively, in my dating life.
Raise your hand if you experienced a soul crushing romantic failure recently! I know I did, girl.
But it taught me something important. After years and years of the same pattern, this was the heartbreak that won the wisdom prize. I had offered this human I barely knew the keys to my castle, all the treasure in my treasure trove, the secret combination to my heart, all my most vulnerable wishes and dreams, and a totally amazing metaphysical self-care kit that cost me, like, $42.
Worry not! I'm already back on my feet, wearing tiny dresses and kissing cuties under the shade of magnolia trees overlooking Lake Merritt while the warm, fragrant breeze billows my well-conditioned hair in the sunlight. Praise be.
During aforementioned heartbreak, I fumed and raged and talked mad shit and got succor from my wondrous lady friends. And then I had to reckon with the fact that it was I who had offered to give all my precious, sacred magic away to someone who had not earned it. Why? Because I didn't think I was worthy. I didn’t think that my castle was a castle at all. I thought it was a crumb.
Fat girl trauma, brown girl trauma, sexist trauma, class trauma.
I've built a golden, glittery castle out of resilience, disappointment, cleverness, beauty, and the special kinds of love and secrets only a hurt girl knows. It is dazzling and precious and hard won. It is mine and it is priceless. In the face of a culture that systematically belittles all my (our) greatest gifts, however, it is easy to lose sight of my worth.
And I know I'm not the only one.
In the past few months I've talked to dozens of my fat babe friends and learned that we are veritably giving away emotional diamonds, emeralds and rubies to unworthy parties — often not even understanding the value of what we’re giving away.
We spend hours taking care of others with no reciprocation. We make elaborate plans with someone who doesn’t know how to honor our time. We listen for too long. We share hard-won knowledge with people who don’t understand it’s a gift. We offer vulnerability, but often with people who cannot truly see us. Is this the price of being a fat girl? Fuck no.
It’s time to start seeing our gifts for what they are, and stop giving them away too quickly or to unworthy people.
Unworthy people might be otherwise good people, who — because of their inability or unwillingness to examine their own bigotry – see fat people as “natural” helpers who exist to make their lives easier. They might even mistakenly believe that we feel grateful for their neediness.
They might take advantage of our personal time because they unconsciously see our time as less valuable.
They might take advantage of our resources because they are banking on our inability to set boundaries.
May I offer a solution? Invoicing!
Take this blank invoice as a metaphorical boundary-setting tool or just print it out and actually use it. It’ll be fun and informative either way! It’s important to keep track of how much we’re giving away. If you decided that your emotional labor rate was $20/hour, how much would unworthy people owe you?
Remember each one of us has a goldmine of love, wisdom, compassion, skills, sensitivity, and knowledge. Make sure to carefully meter how much you give away, and make sure whoever is getting it deserves it.