I Didn’t Mean to Write About a Big-Ass Chair and Justice, But That’s What Happened

Today is Sunday, February…I have to check my watch…27th, and the sky is dim, and the air is damp, and I’m sitting criss-cross on the big-ass chair at my half-circle desk, and when I say big-ass chair I don’t mean the chair is huge, I mean the chair was designed with big asses in mind which is a nice thing to find at an antique store for $50 because when I envision the vintage days I envision slim women in tailored pencil skirts who could perch quite comfortably and with plenty of room on a soft-boiled egg.

I have big ass chairs in my home thanks to my friend Bee who herself has a big ass which I say with pride and admiration and the knowledge of It Takes One to Know One, because Bee observed quite recently and publicly that there are not enough chairs for big asses and, in fact, most chairs in most places are made to punish the big ass with ridges and rails and arms that loop around from behind to pinch and squeeze and bruise and literally belittle the big ass. That’s not right, she said. That’s not OK. And I’m paraphrasing, knowing she said it better, but you get the idea, I think. 

The thing is, when Bee said what she did, I looked around my house and at my chairs and I was startled to discover I had Punishing Chairs and my life kind of changed that day. I tend to think of myself as someone who’s aware of her own shit. Like, I’m flawed and fabulous, and I’m actively working on embracing both. I try to remain soft and open and aware of where I’ve harmed others and harmed myself, letting my pride and my need to be right fall away so I might make amends and be better. But I also, simultaneously, am not even a little bit interested in being perfect because that way lies self-deception and cover-ups and shame and the unhealthy kind of longing and it is in the pursuit of perfection that you miss the Glory and Freedom and Joy of Imperfection which is one of the most perfect things I know. Including embracing the Glory and Freedom and Joy of having a physical body that is large and lumpy and stretched and scarred and soft and squishy and warm and beautiful. There is a prolonged period of adjustment, particularly in our vogue culture, moving from Maiden to Matron. We’re told rather explicitly to retain the bloom of youth. To maintain the brightness and the crackling and the spark of a new fire, set alight. Instead of accepting the gifts of wisdom and understanding and the steady heat and light of a fire well-tended over the ash and embers of all we burned before. How silly we are to find one fire more beautiful than the other. They’re both as stunning and fierce and powerful as the Crone with her fire banked and waning, and how wide she spreads when she sits on the earth is no factor in her worth. I know this. I do. Well into the Matron phase of the moon. And I’m content with the space I use. 

Or I thought I was, until I realized I couldn’t sit at my own table without discomfort. I couldn’t sit in my own chairs without spilling over the butt cutting rails. I couldn’t sit in comfort at my wide farm table–the one we built to feed legions–for a cup of tea or a chat with a friend without punishing my body for its size. And those chairs were NEW. I bought them ON PURPOSE. I never considered, not once, that my ass and I deserve comfort in our own home. Nor that my big assed friends do, as well. And isn’t that a sad commentary on self-flaggelation? On deciding, albeit subconsciously, what one believes one’s worth.

So I bought new chairs that are soft and wide and built for posterity. Which is to say, I recognized where I was harming myself and others and I worked to make amends. And that’s the trick, really, isn’t it? SEEING the problem. Not pretending it’s not an issue. Not belittling or dismissing discomfort, even our own. Not “pushing through” or making ourselves literally or figuratively smaller before we’re worthy. BELIEVING we all deserve better. And WORKING to make the change.

And it’s had a cascading effect, this simple, small change of chairs. It’s opened my eyes. It’s changed my life. Because I see more pain-points now. I see where my worldview was restrictive and constrictive instead of embracing and expanding. I see who I was willing to harm based on who I found valuable and who society is willing to harm, as well. I see what we do to belittle others and where we’ve failed to love each other. And I’m less and less willing to accept pain for any of us. I’m less and less willing to accept “this is just the way it is.” I’m less and less willing to think that triumph is overcoming obstacles rather than working together to clear the track. 

The ways to enter into justice are infinite, I suppose. It can start with something as small as a chair. And once justice starts to unfold, it’s bottomless. Neverending. You see and then you see and then you see and then you see.

So I’m sitting here on Sunday afternoon, the…I have to check my watch…27th of February in my big-ass chair, and it’s cloudy and wet and cold outside, and I meant to write about something else entirely, but I’ve forgotten what, and my watch isn’t telling me. That’s OK. Maybe this is enough for now.

I hope you’re well and safe and have a big-ass chair, friend.

With love and waving in the dark,

 

 

 

P.S. We have a new foster mama kitty, and I’ve been positive–and also wildly incorrect–that she was going to deliver kittens every day for 7 days now. If you want to follow the shennanigans, you can join us on Facebook. <3 

ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
2 comments
  1. We left our church in 2015, and I miss the friends, the music, and a good homily. I have found friends here and I thank you for this powerful homily!

  2. From one “fat-bottom girl” to another. thanks for all your encouraging, uplifting and courageous words which help make the rocking world go round.

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