I’ve spent most of my life feeling unworthy in some fashion. I’ve been visibly and openly queer for quite awhile and fat for even longer. I now know that neither of those things make me inherently unworthy of life, love, and respect but 26 years of fatphobia and queerphobia has meant that I still struggle with feeling like I’m worth nothing because of who I am.
For my entire life, I’ve been told in both subtle and obvious ways that my body and some of my identities are not worth respect or dignity. These messages have come in a variety of ways: from constantly being told I’m going to hell for my queerness to being told I’m going to die young to as a kid, never seeing anyone like me in media who isn’t the constant butt of the joke. I’ve seen people describe queer folks as ‘scum’ and fat people as ‘drains on society’.
On many levels, I know I don’t believe these things but I’ve still internalized the underlying message: people like me shouldn’t exist unless we fundamentally change everything about ourselves, which is still essentially saying we shouldn’t exist. It’s hard to plan for a future when you can’t imagine one with you in it, to say the least. Why put any sort of effort into something if the world tells you that you are going to die soon anyway?
I’m sure my own depression is only compounding these messages and amplifying the worst of them because that’s what my depression does. But I also know that there’s this societal problem of making some bodies and identities inherently less worthy than others. It’s hard to shake that feeling but I’m trying every day to remind myself that I do have a future.
Queer folks, fat folks, those who (like me) are both, and those with other marginalized identities deserve respect, dignity, and love. Things are starting to slowly change because many people are confronting the different societal norms that prioritize some over others. And I’m constantly grateful to see that.