The Stomaching Society: A Narrative
All I could focus on was that extra layer of pudge sticking out over my skinny black jeans. It’s 1am at a lesbian club and I should be dancing with someone. Whitney Houston is blasting and all I can do is tug at my shirt.
My name is Siona. I’m a 27 year old gay woman who is trying to navigate this world without a reliable compass. I’m still heavily influenced by cultural expectations and the way my thighs stick together in the summer. I’m not fat, I tell myself. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to wrap myself up in a rainbow flag and hide my body. I’m safe in my queer community but isolated at the same time.
Pretty enough. That’s what we wanna be. Hot enough. Interesting enough. Just enough. But I don’t have Calvin Klein underwear and a SnapBack. I don’t have a six pack on my belly and I can’t chug a six pack of beer. I’m sober, soft, and sweet.
It’s a battle not to believe that’s a bad thing. If I feel like I don’t fit in my clothes, how can I fit into sometimes arms? Maybe one day I’ll figure it out. I’ll be able to see myself through unclouded eyes and realize that being skinny isn’t going to bring me the joy I think it will.
Being part of the queer community definitely affected my body image. I think for me, it’s harder to accept my body as a gay woman because I’m constantly comparing myself to other women’s bodies - bodies that have hearts like mine; people who love like me. So if someone doesn’t feel attracted to me, it’s a double hitter. Before I came out, there was pressure to have clear skin, flat stomach, perfect white teeth, the best clothes, etc. But as a queer woman first coming out, you have to find home within the community, and pick a genre. What kind of queer woman are you? What aesthetic are you? It’s a very complicated world to navigate and The L Word is a useless resource to figuring it out.
However, as the dust settles, the pressure to prove yourself dissipates. You can be butch, chapstick, lipstick, futch, femme, etc. There’s so many labels it’s easy to get lost all over again. Owning who you are outside of these barriers takes time. But I got there. I found home within myself and my sexuality enough to care a little less about people’s opinions. I still feel that pudge though. It just doesn’t fog my brain into oblivion.
If I take a beat and let the insecurities slide off my back, I can embrace my true self and be the person who brings the girl in the SnapBack water. I’m not interested in the underwear, I’m interested in the heart. If I were to give any insight into embracing your own sexual/gender identity when dealing with body image, I’d say be your own damn brand. Queer woman already abandoned the norm when they came out; so why stress in trying to fit into a whole new category of gay normality? Why is it so hard to dance with someone who loves me, and have that someone be yourself?
Siona Stone graduated from Ithaca College with a BA in Theatre Studies and a minor in Writing. She grew up on the east coast and is so excited to have made Denver her new home. Siona identifies as a teacher, writer, photographer, and student of the world.
Learn more about Siona and the rest of the Blog Squad here.