I have a complicated relationship to sports. I grew up sensitive, artsy, and bookish in a family of jocks. My mother, an adoptee, had rebelled against her traditionally feminine, conservative mother by being tomboyish and pursuing athletics. My father’s family was also atheletic, and very competitive; I was the only girl until I was six, and was expected to keep up — skiing, hiking, road biking, swimming, cliff-jumping, flag football, etcetra — with my brother and male cousins, who all inherited the natural athleticism that somehow skipped me.
In my early baby pictures, I am often posed with a foam soccer ball or football. I broke my mother’s heart by hating soccer. She coached my championship-winning team from kindergarten until grade five (when she finally caved in to my pleas to let me quit); I was by far the worst player. I was terrified of the ball hitting my head and was prone to cowering on the field. These memories still fill me with shame and some resentment, even while playing beer-league sports such as women’s ice hockey and co-ed dodgeball have brought me a lot of joy as an adult. I have gotten over my head-shyness; I can take a dodgeball to the face and barely flinch, I have grown proud of the physical toughness that I was forced to develop. I have learned to take pride in improvement and not let lack of talent get me down.
In the following pages, you’ll find stories of pushing through pain and leaping over obstacles, victory and defeat, sportsmanship and defiance. A former Paralympian shares a story of being reluctant to quit even as her body asks her to. A young ballet dancer binds her newly-bloomed chest in an unfortunate way. Community is found in the world of queer softball, in learning to ride a bike as an adult. Several pieces address the significance of sports in the early lives of queer women and trans men. As Lorimer Shenher says in his interview with Stacey May Fowles, “the chains that bound my existence as a trans kid loosened completely when playing basketball and for those magical hours, I was free.”
Editing this issue was difficult for me, for multiple reasons. But at the end of the day, reading the works within these pages helped me feel less inadequate and alone. Whether you are an athlete, a recreational player, a sports fan, or completely outside the culture, I hope you find meaning here.
42.4 Fucked As We Are:
I want you to take care with this issue. Take care with yourself, your mind, and surroundings. We delve into some deep pockets with this issue and I want to give you a smile and a welcoming wave into this issue but also envelop you with protection.
This issue is called Fucked As We Are because we are all fucked. We might be fucked up, fucking sick of it all, getting fucked, or feeling fucked and I want us to own this. My aim with the title is that we embrace the kind of fucked we are. That world is a mess and can often feel like a ball of chaos and hate but I feel like we can overcome this. There is love here.
I welcome you to get lost in the pieces in this issue. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Cicely Belle Blain to discuss their new book and activism. Canisia Lubrin’s keynote speech from Growing Room 2019 is the finale of this issue and gosh, is it ever powerful. Every piece in this issue was chosen for its brilliance and honesty and I truly hope you enjoy.
Now go on and read, you fucking beautiful person.
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