Driver? I’m eating Krinkle Cut Salt & Ground Pepper Potato chips for 3 minutes and 49 seconds solid wondering how the fuck did Jay-Z get so goddamn lucky. Good. God.
My thighs have always been a thick gift, a source to pick apart and critique as female-bodied people are often subjected to criticism and pressure about their size and definition. As a child, I would contemplate the meaning of the phrase “thunder thighs” booming off the loudspeaker tongues of prepubescent boys at recess. I would hold tenderly my mother’s stories of her own body shame, sitting down in cars to meet guys through the cracked window during the small town drag route of Cushing, Oklahoma. “If I was sitting down, guys would not realize how large they are at first,” she’d say, as though sitting down would lend a helping hand to date a guy, as though her body’s proportions were the sole factor in being wanted and loved, as though dating a guy is of the utmost importance.
In a lot of ways, her shame was my liberation. It helped me gain insight of desirability and the ways in which to move in the world. If guys would judge my attractiveness by the size of my thighs, and my thighs were genetically dispositioned to mirror my mother’s, I wouldn’t have to worry about that uncomfortable encounter, and I could just be a person. Of course this hypothesis is flawed, as any liberation of the body and journey into adolescence can attest, but there is a certain truth in the ways people dismantle each other and place value on the parts of themselves they most wish to auction off or dismiss.
I inject testosterone into the sides of my thighs once a week. If you stand up straight and let your hands fall to your sides, where your fingertips land, that’s where I stick the needle. I pull apart the fatty tissue as much as I can to distance it away from the muscle and bone, as the closer the needle is to the muscle and bone, the more painful it is (I try to self-inflict the least amount of physical pain as possible, so this step is crucial). As weeks have went by, the shape of my body is continuously changing. I don’t have as much fat to offer in my thighs from when I first started, and they have become incredibly muscular and hairy. When I look down, it’s no wonder to me that my grandfather played college football. Genetics are the most curious branches of the tree, even when I sometimes feel like I was a grafted fruit.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my mother’s teachings, gifts that she gave me as a daughter in relation to men and the impact of societal views on female bodies and the tremendous pressure to look and feel beautiful when the representation is so marginalized. I’ve been thinking of the blessing of my life to live as a woman. Even though I knew it wasn’t my truth, it provided me with a certain clarity to see things as they are in two lenses. I cannot tell you that I am absolved from the shame of my own body. I cannot say that it isn’t a daily task to breathe in and out of a chest that is an outdated definition, to slide jeans over some thighs, thick as trunks, rooted in two genders, because, yes, every day is a task to weave through all of that entanglement. I can say, however, when I find myself graced by the presence of a lover, owning her thickness like she made that label from the ground up, it makes my rockin’ world go round.
This woman who works coffee at Whole Foods doesn’t know I exist or does and ignores me or doesn’t ignore me, but it’s such maddening, blissful torture to crush on her and make eye contact every now and then.
S H I R A
"And I’m calling out / to all the wolves / stay awake / stay self-assured / there’s no better bet yet / stay on your course / your course of course / is your spirit’s noise."
Photograph by Katherine Finklestein.
Styled by Alessandra Genovese.
I’m 5 months on testosterone.
I hope you are all well.
You cordoned off the heart I built with caution tape
And ordered me off the property
For safety’s sake, you said,
This structure is no good
But that was just the end of us
The months prior I sat in my chair in its study
Buckets collecting rain all around me
You were cooking something in the kitchen
Hot sex with a side of asphyxiation
It tasted like a meal I could starve on forever
I created this elaborate color scheme around us
Yes, I could see the cracks in the ceiling
Yes, it looked like rain
But my God how you held my hope together
I painted you in the most beautiful light
Even on your darkest days
A consenting hand around a willing throat
So, when you said you were leaving
Maybe I got caught in the nerve of it all
Pinched between stubborn and broken
And maybe my art isn’t a chapel, but
You took my paintings from my willing palms
Sold them for an immeasurable profit
Then condemned me for being broke
1:32:20 and done! I’ll take that for a first time tri with literally NO swim training (oops). Feeling proud today. Thought about my #pumpattackcombat and #novemberprojectsf people along the way. Thanks for inspiring me to train harder, and achieve more.
Such a crush on this Noodle. Good job, friend.
S H I R A
"You boomerang / you wild wave / you always return / what you bring to me / is the master key / I never had turned / and you wrestled me down / down to the ground / and you kissed both of my eyes / said if you can’t see what I see in you / you must be blind"
Photograph by Katherine Finkelstein. Styling by Alessandra Genovese.
I dare you to listen to this woman and be moved.
"All I want is a place to call my own
Mend the hearts of everyone who feels alone
You know to keep your hopes up high & your head down low”
Lyrics have always been better able to express things I’m at a loss for (from an emotional perspective) - so these lines from All I Want by A Day To…