“This is for all the fat girls!” – Camryn Manheim
My Little Blueberries, this is the last time I will implore you to go to YouTube and click “thumbs up” on this video so that I can hope to make it into round two of CanLip: The Great Canadian YouTube Contest. Please share it with your friends and have them do the same.
I want to take a moment to talk about why this video and why going to Vancouver for Verses Festival of Words is so important to me. All my life, people have been telling me to make myself smaller – that nice girls speak softly, that they shrink themselves down, and that pine cones and rocks cutting my face meant that boys really liked me. Well, I’m kind of over that. Guess what? I’m not getting smaller. I’m getting braver. I’m not getting softer, I’m getting louder. I am not afraid to speak my truth. I am not afraid to love myself. People have threatened to kill me because of this poem. People have threatened to find where I live and sexually assault me because of this poem. Apparently, there are a lot of people who believe that it is unacceptable for a fat lady to “accept” herself – nah, fuck that…”accept” sounds like “tolerate” and I’m not a grain of sand in someone’s knickers…I LOVE MYSELF. I will never stop performing this piece because lives have been saved because of this poem (including my own). I receive messages every day about how this poem has made a difference for someone – regardless of their size. Not everyone is at a place in their journey where they can speak for themselves – but I have a big body and loud voice, and I am ready to act as a placeholder on stage until they are ready to step to the mic…and I take up a lot of room, y’all, so I’ll make sure there is a spot up here for each and every person who has something to say.
This video, this contest has nothing to do with my poetry career…to me, it has everything to do with showing the world that everybody – EVERY BODY – belongs. Our words matter. Loving ourselves, regardless of how small or large we are is okay. An important part of being healthy is believing that you have the right to exist, and that you are just as worthy of receiving the same compassion, dignity, and respect as every other person on this earth. I want someone with a powerful gift to see this video, to see a person that doesn’t quite fit a particular paradigm onstage, and to say, “If **she** can do it, **I** can do it!”….and then do something truly amazing that changes the world forever.
And, yeah, you absolutely can change the world, my Little Blueberries. You absolutely can. I love you.