I am Not A Dainty Black Man….(by Brandon Hay)

Going clothing shopping in Canada as a Black man in a fat body can be a depressing experience,

Rummaging through theses stores shelves and no pants or jeans waistline over size 38 or 40, and a extra large shirt is the biggest you can find at some stores.

Going into the malls singing the refrain “I do not belong here”,

I learned from an early age that other than accessories, like glasses or hats “Club Monaco” is not targeting me or my body,

Canadian fashion designers are not making their clothing for people in my body.

The self hate and internalizing of body image bullshit that can arise from this simple and common task of clothing shopping.

So every now and then I have to make the excursions south of the border (to the United States), where fat bodies are supported and recognized by the clothing available on store shelves

I can find a pair of pants of those elusive size 44’s and I can find those XXL’s shirts even XXXL (throws confetti)

Now, I am spending money on clothing that I should be putting in my savings account, but i feel like these apparels are some kind of investment,

not knowing when and where is the next time I am going to find fashionable clothing that fits my frame

After I sneak my clothing across the border back into Canada because I went over my spending limit

The  adrenalin and high of the shopping goes away

I am left thinking about these new clothing and my old body

These clothes won’t make me feel better about my body image

These clothes will help me mask the pain of my life struggle with my weight

The destructiveness of Vanity

Especially when you do not fit into the “box” of Black masculinity

I am not 6 packing, with a 9 inch penis and do not look like Idris Elba

So where do I fit in?

I am not a dainty Black man

I do not wear skinny jeans,

My frame is not slender or cute

I am dark skin, 6,1… 200 plus pounds, with a beard

I was constantly told growing up to smile more because I was a Big Black man

And smiling would make me be perceived less intimidating or scary

At times feeling like the epitome of fear similar to Richard Wright’s Black Boy

Bigger thomas  becomes synonymous with Eric Garner,

His body can take the force they say

Because he is subhuman

His Black body is made for trauma

I am hyper visible in spaces like dark alleyways and empty elevators

But I am an “Invisible Man” when it comes to equity and justice

Ralph Ellison , Franz Fanon, both speak about the unobservability and obscurity of Black masculinity

Ghostly and phantom like

As if I was a panhandler in the night, people pretend not to see us

They only want to judge us

We internalize their hate into our subconscious

Not to be loved only feared

I guess i should not find it weird

When triggers get squeezed when these police gets scared

He was a Black man fitting the description 6 ft 1, over 200 lbs, dark skin with a beard