Navigating Lipedema is one of the most difficult journey’s I’ve taken on in my lifetime. Gross under-diagnosis and fat bias support the institutional barriers to treatment. I’m determined to do the impossible and I refuse to compromise self-love, self-care, and support in exchange for it.

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Black Femmehood in Times of War

Portrait of Brena wearing off-the-shoulder plus size dress

Bad Bitch Crones

I know a group of Black women who are in their 60’s. None of them are married and none have children. They are business owners who globe-trot, date, dance, fuck, and live full lives. Prominent members of the Black community with amazing wardrobes and the best weed. Their friendships aided me in a massive paradigm shift when I realized that I didn’t want to become a wife or mother. The privilege those titles provide doesn’t include an escape from the marginalization Black women experience. As a witness to their lives, I learned that age, wisdom, respectability, wealth, and education didn’t either.

A front-row seat to their elder-hood taught me that the oppression that Black women experience is uniquely ours. We are under-loved, however, most likely to meet up with violence in our attempts to find love. There’s little respite from the oppression that Black women experience. There is no one more marginalized than intersectional Black women. (For example, fat, visibly disabled, visibly trans, and unambiguously Black, Black women.) Black women are always navigating relationships with people who have more power and perceived value in society than them. These power dynamics are backed by larger systems, even inside the spaces of our most intimate relationships and communities.

“Y’all should be grateful that Black women want justice and not revenge”

Menopause, Bitch, Is that You?

I wake up in the wee hours of the night in a sweat that soaks my pillows, comforter, and pajamas. It’s so intense that I might launch myself out a window if I don’t keep them open overnight. I toss my blankets on the floor and fall back asleep. Later, I wake up shivering and reaching around for them in the dark. Its a vicious cycle. 

I snap close-up pictures of my chin hairs and send them to a former lover. He sends me back celebration emojis. My circle is fantastic. Friends helping me with groceries during the quarantine point out how my gray hair is coming in. I stick my head out of my apartment window, so it catches the light before dropping the keys to my building. It’s challenging for me to walk up my stairs with grocery bags and I finally got the courage and support I needed to ask for help. I’ve never felt sexier in my life.

She/Her

CW: Violence, Rape, Murder

Yet again, Black people are in a fight for liberation and Black women are on the front lines of the battle. We’re still fighting for Breonna Taylor’s murderers to be brought to justice while in the throes of this pandemic. Just like white supremacy, rape doesn’t take a day off just because there’s a pandemic revolution outside. In the midst of it all, we mourned Oluwatoyin Salau, a 19-year-old Black Lives Matter activist who was sexually assaulted and murdered in Tallahassee, Fl.

 

Black and white drawn portrait of Breonna Taylor. The photo is trimmed in flowers, her name is written in the upper left corner and there is a black power fist in the right cornerBlack and white drawn portrait of BLM activist, Oluwatoyin Salau. The photo is trimmed in flowers, her name is written in the upper left corner and there is a black power fist in the right corner

 

Only a few days before we mourned Oluwatoyin, Riah Milton and Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells, two Black trans women, were murdered within 24 hours of each other. I just received their drawn portraits from Brandon, my blog’s artist, when I learned that another Black woman had been attacked. Althea Bernstein was set on fire after being called racial slurs. I literally can’t keep up with the atrocities against Black women.

 

Black and white drawn portrait of slain black trans woman, Rian Milton. The photo is trimmed in flowers, her name is written in the upper left corner and there is a black power fist in the right cornerBlack and white drawn portrait of slain Black Trans Woman, Dominique Rem'mie Fells. The photo is trimmed in flowers, her name is written in the upper left corner and there is a black power fist in the right corner

 

My former lover asked if I was sitting down before he told me that Megan the Stallion was shot. I threw my phone across the room and Google’d with a fervor that still surprises me. Once I confirmed that she was making a recovery, every tense muscle that was holding me together, relaxed. I wept because it was another reminder that the voids of love and protection are inescapable as long as you are a Black woman. No matter how far Black women take themselves, she will never be too powerful, cherished, innocent, or valuable to harm. She’s rendered powerless, meanwhile, constantly held accountable for the harm she experiences. Her liberation; misbranded and marketed back to her in the form of self-help books, how-to-get-a-man manuals, and white feminist movements. 

Woman, Thou Art Loosed

In astrology, we have a moon sign and a dark moon sign or Lilith. The ‘dark moon Lilith’ represents our primitive behavior. The Hood Witch says that Lilith is one of the most misunderstood astrological figures and references to her are sparse and cryptic. Her story is open-ended and interpreted differently by different folks. She’s described as both a demoness and a protector. 

According to Jewish tradition, Lilith was Adam’s first wife. Some accounts say that she mounted Adam and some say she just asked to have sex with him in positions other than missionary. In all versions of this story, Adam perceived Lilith’s sexual curiosity as emasculating. As a result, Lilith was cast out of Eden. The rest of her story are dark tales of her murderous mayhem. A killing spree that didn’t spare men or children of her wrath. Y’all should be grateful that Black women just want justice and not revenge.

Healing Through Kink & Consent

I fell in love with a Butch pervert involved in the Disability Justice movement. He wouldn’t fuck with me unless I was clear about my boundaries. If he couldn’t trust me to tell him what I didn’t want, he couldn’t trust me. Consent was an entire lifestyle in his world, not just in the bedroom. He extended consent and autonomy to everybody with any type of body. I became his apprentice, lover, and friend. He offered to care for me and a place in his intimate community. I learned about my own ableism the moment I took offense to his offer of care.

My lover showed me how kink could heal by holding me accountable for getting my needs met. If I made myself small, allowed people to take advantage of me, or didn’t accept the help that I needed, he called me in. We toyed with power, pleasure, and pain, always centering explicit consent. It’s deliciously ironic that the first lover to slap me with my consent was also the first lover to fuck me, leaving all my power intact. Today, my former lover has become one of my best friends. I still get to be in love with him and he still extends care to me. I asked for his consent to write this.

 

Autonomy

CW: Rape, Abuse

Nearly every weekend between 4 and 13-years-old, I was coerced into adult role-play or bullied into having sex with an older family member. I developed the ability to dull physical sensations in my body when I was a child. A useful skill when trying to stop a game of Tickle-Monster. Kids become uninterested if the tickling doesn’t seem to affect the tickled. Children, despite gender, don’t get to own their bodies so this became a skill that I leaned on. Learning that I had an illness that caused chronic pain was difficult to navigate because of this same ability to turn sensation off. Where trauma and abuse taught me to how to escape my body, kink seemed to call me back into it. At 4-years-old, I learned about escapism as a coping mechanism for rape. I was 38 years old when I learned about power and consent.

Black and white drawing of Brena, a fat black woman with lipedema wearing off the shoulder dress and taking a selfie holding her phone. There is a black power fist where the phone's apple logo is.

 

Transition

I turned 39-years-old on July 12th. I’m excited to welcome my ‘Crone’ years before my final transition into the spirit world. I want to be the kind of old woman that you know has good stories. The kind of old woman that could pose a threat to your safety because she knows so much about pleasure. An elder respected for the just ways she wields power and wisdom. Appreciated for the ways she fucks up inhumane perceptions of aging, femininity, sexuality, able-bodiedness, and autonomy. I’m watching myself become someone I’ve been waiting to meet my whole life. The part of me that takes the best care of me. A wise, secure, generous, and fierce Queer Black woman. One who knows her body and takes up space. An old kinky, wild, and centered bitch who knows the weight and every curvature of her power. She’s coming and I’m so fucking hype.

 

 

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