There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon Read Online (FREE)
Read There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon online free here.
I feel incredibly privileged to share Sweetie’s story with you. For so many authors, stories rattle around in our heads for years before they ever make it on the page, and I am no different. In fact, I wasn’t even sure if I would ever tell a story like Sweetie’s—while I was living my life as a fat woman of color, I never thought beyond my immediate experience, my immediate pain.
Fast forward a few years, and I began reading more and more about the body positivity movement. Body positivity simply means taking pleasure in the body you’re in, whatever that body happens to look like. Within the body positivity movement, “fat” is not a bad word like it tends to be in casual, everyday conversations. “Fat” is simply the opposite of “thin,” and as such, carries no other moral connotations.
I remember reading voraciously every single article I could find about celebrating your body for what it is. Although at the time of this writing I am a thin person, at various points in my life I have been fat. Nothing has surprised or hurt me more than how differently people treated me depending on what I looked like on the outside.
When I first got the idea for a story about a fat athlete, I knew I had to make her South Asian. Growing up in an Indian household, the messaging I got every day was, “Unless you’re thin, you’re a failure as a woman.” This was especially baffling considering my family was full of fat, beautiful, talented women. But I digress.
I wanted to write honest conversations between a fat Indian-American teen and her mother. I wanted to put the same messaging I—and so many others—got onto the page, and I wanted to have this strong, beautiful main character refute it on the page. I knew Sweetie would be the perfect person to take on this toxic, harmful messaging in her own sweet, gentle way.
If the word “fat” makes you cringe, I hope you’ll stop and examine why that is. What do you think when you see the word “thin”? My guess is nothing, or at least, nothing bad. So then, is there anything inherently wrong with being fat? Or have we just been conditioned to see the words “worthless” or “lazy” or “bad” instead of “fat”?
I realize that for some readers, the word “fat” has been weaponized so many times against them that they’ll never be okay using it to describe themselves. I completely respect that. My hope when telling this story is to encourage some long overdue discussions about what it means to move through the world when you don’t look like a Vogue model. I hope you’ll join me.
List of totally overrated things:
3. Love (yeah, again)
Ashish Patel wasn’t sure why people ever fell in love. What was the point, really? So you could feel like a total chump when you went to her dorm room only to find she’d gone out with some other dude? So you could watch your mojo completely vanish as you became some soggy, washed-out version of your former (extremely dashing) self? Screw that.