Spoken word–as promised. First piece posted here. Audio only. Cross-posted @ Cradle of Cicadas.
I’ve never really been one to use phrases like that one but today I feel inspired. About two days ago, my cat Olivia fell ill and it turns out that she had pyometra, a serious infection of her uterus. Yesterday, I just had a very bad feeling about the whole sitatuaion, watching her get weaker and weaker, not eat, and barely sleep even though she was lying down all the time on my pillow for about two days. She is was not spayed. She was also secreting a whitish discharge around her genitals and rarely went to the bathroom in all the days after she was in heat. One of the only things she did do was lick her gentials ever now and again. I couldn’t sleep or write or work on my needlepoint because I was so worried. I even woke up crying at 7am in the morning…. I wanted to take her to the doctor immediately.
My sister’s boyfriend agreed to front us the money (with the collateral of my laptop) for the cost of the hospital visit until we could pay him back. What started out as a checkup turned into a full blow emergency. We were hoping that anything serious could wait until Monday when we could pay for the care ourselves. Olivia’s uterus was infected and full of pus and they needed to operate immediately for a full hysterectomy. The only problem was that we were on borrowed cash already and the cost of emergency surgery was a little over $1200. I was unable to apply (no ID, lost it earlier this year, haven’t had a chance to replace it) and my sister and mother were not eligible for CareCredit, vet healthcare insurance. We were going to have to put her down, which strangely enough cost $1100 less than saving her life. I kept trying to imagine what it would be like to go home without her, to look at her brother and sister and know that she wasn’t coming home ever again. I cried and felt embarrassed because this was the first time that I’d met my sister’s boyfriend; I was crying and had met him on the day a family member was going to have to be killed to end her pain.
It took three hours for it all to happen, with the nurse/vet technician coming in and out of the room, asking us for updates on our decision. At last my sister’s boyfriend, who had blatantly said he wasn’t willing to spend more than $300 on Olivia in the even of an emergency, came forward and applied for the CareCredit. He got $500. He called my mom and talked to her on the phone (asking to be paid back in 3 months). He told the nurse he had $600 in his account that he had been saving for another occasion. We had $1100! The vet technician went to ask the doctor if anything on the bill was negotiable and could be removed to lower the cost. The necessary blood work that they preferred to do to check her kidneys and things could be taken off. We were down to $900 potentially! Blood work to be sure that she didn’t have feline leukemia was necessary because it would affect the surgery procedure. We were set at $950!
We wanted to see her before the surgery but the doctor wanted to operate immediately. We left, I had a headache from crying that lasted for hours. At around 8PM that evening we got a call: Olivia was recovering from surgery with one of the nurses and was okay!
We gave my sister’s boyfriend all the money we had at the moment and got it down to $927. We owe money but when haven’t poor folks done that…. Olivia is okay and we will be picking her up today from the hospital.
I’ve never felt so frustrated and somewhat helpless over my financial situation than in moments such as these. My heart has never been as torn apart than in moments like this one. In the end, I danced and called out in joy.
Call it god, YHWH, Buddha–whatever this power is, I am happy that it is good and created the circumstance for Olivia’s life to be saved.
A while back when I started posting poetry, I said that I might post recordings of my spoken word art. I am still in the mood to do that and I may be putting something up soon. I’ve got my YouTube account all set up and everything. If I can get my cats to stop yowling at the sound of my voice midway through recording, it’ll be good! ^_^
*originally posted @ Cradle of Cicadas*
wrapped up in this 1 pg
confined in this suffocating white space
blue lines cutting into my plump fleshy parts
like corsets and body shapers
squeezing out my insides
like south beach dieting plans
and suggestions of gastric bypass surgery
ringing my fat little neck
like staring into the United States of Junior, Misses, & Ladies
from the far off island of Plus Size
THIS body IS unloved
because I am certain
that you do not know how to love me
not only because I do not know how to love it
but because this outside
does not match the heart, soul, and spirit inside—
according to popular belief
because bulges and bumps are made to be contained
and animals like me are kept in captivity
with laughter and ‘Big Mama’s House’,
with cages of silence and a lot of goes-without saying,
with one-size-fits-all—all day—everyday
with smooth shapes and curves like Lamborghinis and Covets,
this body is unlovable,
to spill its undesirable contents
beyond the margins
beyond the edges of
I recently applied as a program coordinator for a LBGTQQ social justice organization (even though I feel that I am under qualified *nervous laugh*). I did my interview presentation on fat activism and coming out as LBGTQQIA. I told my mother that I did the presentation on fat acceptance. Her response was as follows: “Hmph. We’ll talk about that later.”
In a long list of other things that she always says we’ll “talk about later” because she doesn’t want to talk about them. Why, in this case, would she say that? My mom has been binge dieting (and binging on snacks recently) for almost two years, having lost over 100 pounds. I am happy for her and proud that she was this dedicated to the task. However, I do feel or think that this is the path for me. No matter how many times she tries to shove her new fitness regimes and dieting plans down my throat.
I don’t want to spend any time intellectualizing about how or why I can’t lose weight. What I want to do is talk about how America’s obsession with thinness and containing fat has affected me and my experiences as a person who has been labeled and now identifies as fat, with an understanding of the fluidity of my identities and subjectivities and the fallacy of labels and binaries, etc.
I used to believe that my life would start when I began looking like the people on television and in ads. I never saw myself even when I was looking in the mirror. I always felt like I should look like something or someone else. I used to feel like I had to lose weight in order to live. Yet here I am, alive and full of potential, AND still fat.
I may not have been living my life to the fullest but I have been living. I’m ready to change that. I want to live my life seeing things clearly, live it to the fullest, doing the things I want to do and taking care of myself the best that I can. That may or may not include shedding a few pounds. Whatever. That doesn’t change I am. I only have this one body, this mind, this heart, this spirit, and this soul. No one else can live my life for me.