S4 Ep2 – Fayelle Interview

Episode Transcription by Fayelle Ewuakye. Find her on Twitter at @FayelleEwuakye.  

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(music playing)

You gave us these bodies

Amanda – We’re so glad you’ve joined us.

You gave us these bodies

And you called them good.

You gave us these bodies 

And you called them good.

Nicole – Hi everyone! Welcome to this episode of Fat & Faithful, this is J. Nicole Morgan and I am here with my co host. Hi Amanda!

Amanda – Hi, I’m Amanda Martinez Beck and we’re so glad to be here today . We have a special guest today.

Nicole – Woo hoo, yes! So I’m very excited about this interview and if you are a listener to the Fat & Faithful podcast, you should recognize the name ‘cause we’ve been talking about her. But with us today is my friend Fayelle Ewuakye. And she does our podcast transcriptions. So she is part of the Fat & Faithful team and you’ve probably seen us talking about her. Welcome Fayelle.

Fayelle – Thank you for having me, this is so exciting, I feel so special.

Nicole – You are indeed very special.

Amanda – Fayelle, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Fayelle – Well I’m married, I have 2 kids living in northwest Georgia which has finally cooled down, fall finally arrived so I’m happy ‘cause I’m a cold weather lover. I love your podcast, I love that I get to listen to it, I feel super blessed not only do I get to hear it but I get to transcribe it which provides a service and I get paid for it which is an extra bonus. And I love doing it, it’s just the greatest job for me, it’s flexible with having kids and yes, I really enjoy that job. This is, I’ve had so many jobs I haven’t liked and this is just one that I’m just, so I just fall all over it, I’m just like, I just love doing this so much and my husband chuckles. It’s been a real blessing for us. So I’m an avid book reader and Netflix binger and chocolate lover and baker and cat adorer.

Amanda – And salad eater for breakfast, salad for breakfast eater.

Fayelle – Oh, salad. All the crazy salads yes. I’m a salad connoisseur.

Amanda – So is Nicole.

Fayelle – Yes, when she talks about her salads, man, we need to get together and salad it up, ‘cause it sounds great.

Amanda – Are you there Nicole?

Nicole – Oh, I was apparently on mute and I was just blabbering away about my salads but I’m back. I got a new microphone this season everyone and not quite sure how to use it apparently.

Amanda – You wanna tell us about your salads?

Nicole – They’re really good. Yes, that’s the sum of what it said and that I like Fayelle’s salads too and that we should create a Fat & Faithful salad recipe book.

Fayelle – Oh my gosh, what a good idea! I love cookbooks.

Nicole – Or maybe a website. Because that seems to be more our speed, but yes. This is a great idea.

Amanda – Maybe we should do like a weekly salad feature, Fayelle, maybe you could do that in the All Bodies are Good Bodies group.

Fayelle – That’s genius. I have to think about that, that could be great.

Nicole – How did you start eating salads for breakfast? Like when did you figure that out?

Fayelle – Well, for the longest I’ve appreciated leftovers for breakfast more than breakfast food. So I’ve been doing that for a long time. And then starting to get, I don’t know, I started enjoying greens a lot more in the past few years. And so, of course that just lends itself to salads because I like them raw as opposed to cooked. And then I was like, you know, if you can make a taco salad, with beans and meat and cheese and whatever else, tomatoes and things, then why can’t you put leftovers in a salad? Which sounds bizarre, but I mean, I was like cutting up leftover you know, chicken parmesan and putting it in my salad and then I started adding vegetables that I like and now it’s just crazy. Now it’s just, I open the fridge I’m like, what all can I stick in here today? And so, then it was, okay I don’t have any protein in this salad, so let’s throw an egg in there. And then it was oh I have leftover sausage and so now it’s more breakfast-y. So, crazy combinations just evolved.

Nicole – I feel like it’s a high end hipster restaurant menu, where they put like a poached egg on top of your salad.

Fayelle – That’s my favorite, a poached egg on top of my salad.

Nicole – Yeah, like this is just your kitchen is like the hipster restaurant.

Amanda – Y’all are making me hungry.

Fayelle – I would love a restaurant where I could like, create my own salad with more stuff than what I have, you know like I want, not like just a buffet—

Nicole – Like a salad bar?

Fayelle – No no, like more than that. Because the salad bar’s not gonna have like, lots of cooked ingredients that have already been made. Oh my gosh one of my favorites, meatloaf on salad is one of my favorites. I love it. Love it. So, it’s crazy.

Nicole – You’re gonna need like an Instagram account dedicated to your breakfast salads.

Fayelle – I do, yes. I might have to do that too.

Amanda – What would you call it? Like Fat Salad Lady? I mean—

Fayelle – I’m not opposed to that, that’s great.

Amanda – Like I would all about that Instagram account. I mean, that’s basically what I get on your Facebook feed in the mornings when you post about your salads.

Fayelle – I kinda wanna add like crazy at the beginning like, Crazy Fat Salad lady, like I feel like my salads are bizarre in a lot of ways.

Nicole – Yeah.

Fayelle – And oh man. I have to, yeah, I’m liking this.

Amanda – Yeah, consider that, present it before the Lord and ask his blessing on it.

Fayelle – I will! And then the whole weekly in the group with the salads, and my account, there’s, and then a recipe website, oh wow.

Amanda – Fayelle, we’re on to something big.

Fayelle – We really are.

Amanda – Speaking of salads and well, this is an awkward transition, but if we’re talking, we’re on Fat & Faithful this season is interviewing people who are fat and are doing daily life. So do you consider yourself fat, Fayelle?

Fayelle – Yes, definitely.

Amanda – Do you use that word to describe yourself?

Fayelle – I do. Only recently though. That used to be a bad word in my brain. But thankfully from people like you, I have changed the way I think. And so I’m starting to use it more and more.

Amanda – Well that’s cool.

Nicole – And Fayelle, so Fayelle and I live somewhat close to each other. She came to the Fat Pool Party this summer. Which was really fun.

Fayelle – It was so fun.

Nicole – Fayelle, I think you might be like my only like, no, not only, you’re one of my few in person friends that I see occasionally. We see each other what, once a year?

Fayelle – Yeah, probably.

Nicole – But that like identifies as like, fat positive and like is super serious about it.

Fayelle – Right.

Nicole – Like I enjoy being able to spend time in person with you.

Fayelle – I agree.

Nicole – And have that commonality. That kind of community is good.

Fayelle – It is, I agree.

Nicole – And it’s mostly online for most of us.

Amanda – Really jealous that y’all are like in the same time zone even. And can’t wait to meet both of y’all in person. Podcast listeners, I don’t know if y’all know that Nicole and I still have no physically been in the same space.

Nicole – Ever.

Amanda – Ever.

Nicole – Not at all.

Fayelle – And you guys act like you’re together, all the time. It’s really, it’s cool how that works.

Amanda – We would probably, well I’ve considered Nicole my friend for a very long time.

Nicole – We’ve had this discussion before at how like, maybe a year into it, I thought you were my friend.

Amanda – That’s the difference between a 2 on the enneagram and a 5 on the enneagram. So, but now Nicole told me I am actually her friend. So we’ve made it. And Nicole is one of the people that I process fat grief and joy with first. Like, I have a hard interaction being fat and so Nicole gets a text. Because I don’t have that in person. I mean my husband’s very supportive and will listen to me but there’s something about knowing what it feels like.

Fayelle – That’s so true.

Amanda – To process that, yeah. And even talking about salads makes me a little nervous because fat people are only supposed to talk about salads if they’re trying to lose weight and get healthy. Because fat people quote, don’t eat salads.

Fayelle – You know and I think that is one of the hugest reasons why I talk about. I’m like, look at my awesome amazing salad that has nothing to do, in fact, I mean if you wanna like break it down caloric wise, it probably doesn’t meet whatever the rules are. And I just wanna be like, you can enjoy salad without being so restrictive or stereotypical or, look at this great salad. Yeah, I totally get that.

Nicole – Yeah, I feel like we need like pictures of all of us laughing at our salads that are not healthy.

Fayelle – Yes!

Amanda – Oh my gosh.

Fayelle – That is the first thing we’re gonna take a picture of when the three of us ever get together. Is all of us in front of a salad cracking up, and just look at my salad joy because—

Amanda – This is a reference to stock photos where there are thin women laughing at their salads.

Nicole – Yes. Because of the joy the salad brings them. But they have joy because they think it’s going to make them thin. We just like salads because they’re delicious.

Amanda – They really are delicious.

Nicole – So, Fayelle, you and I, originally met in like, in online world, a million years ago, on LiveJournal, right?

Fayelle – Yes!

Amanda – This is amazing.

Nicole – Yeah.

Fayelle – Yes!

Nicole – It’s been over a decade. I don’t even know when, it was a long, long time ago.

Fayelle – A long time ago, yes.

Nicole – And I, I was introduced to fat acceptance on LiveJournal, but I don’t know if you were. Or if we intersected in a different way there. I really don’t remember like, why we became LiveJournal friends.

Fayelle – I cannot tell you how our first, now I do know that when I started LiveJournal, I was lonely and kind of on the, like I was very excited about LiveJournal. And I was like, let’s find people who are awesome and so I very well could have just stumbled upon you and been like, she’s awesome, you know. But you, actually Nicole, you are my first true fat positivity, all that, like I had nobody before that. And then it was, oh my gosh, she’s even more awesome than I thought, listen to this! I never thought about this.

Nicole – Yeah, I mean that was early days, right? Did you ever have a LiveJournal Amanda?

Amanda – I don’t even really know what LiveJournal is.

Nicole – It’s like pre social media. So it was like, it was a blog. It was a blog network.

Fayelle – It was like, slightly more connected, diary feeling-ish.

Nicole – Yeah.

Fayelle – Where people could comment on your diary entries, like a blog, but it seemed it lot more, a lot easier to comment and see other people’s comments and respond. That type of thing. I loved it.

Nicole – And there were like communities where you could submit entries to, so there was like, there was a Fatshonista which is where I learned about fat acceptance while I was trying to like, find clothes to make me look slimmer. Instead I found fat acceptance. But you could like post your outfit of the day, and that’s how I learned about it, because all these people would post pictures of themselves in clothes and we would all put our measurements and our weight and our height and our size so that people, like for me I could see other people and be like oh, that’s really close to my size and they don’t look like a hideous creature, so maybe I’m not hideous. So that was a LiveJournal community back in the day.

Amanda – Oh man.

Nicole – And Fayelle, somewhere we found each other. And it stuck.

Amanda – That’s fun. Thank God for the internet. Fayelle, are you an ennea fan?

Fayelle – Yes I am. I’ve just recently figured it out, or at least figured out to the, as much as I can handle at the moment. I know I’m a 9. And, I like really irritate people by saying I have balanced wings. And people are like, you can’t have balanced wings and I’m like, look at me have them.

Amanda – And that’s your 8 coming out. Your 8 wing. So what do you like about being a 9?

Fayelle – Oh I love the peacemaking aspect, as much as that can also get me into trouble, I really, there have been so many people that say to me, I just am so peaceful around you. It’s comforting and relaxing. And they can just be themselves and even in times of conflict, I’ve had people gravitate towards me ‘cause I’m gonna keep the peace. And sometimes that means retreating from it, retreating from the conflict, and I’m good at that too. I will try to get both sides of the story, and think of the different possibilities of other perspectives and alright everyone, let’s calm down and talk rationally and civilly and that can really help people out sometimes I’ve noticed. And so I really like that.

Amanda – Have you noticed an aspect that’s frustrating about being a 9?

Fayelle – That same characteristic. Means that I just can’t pick something. Like I just, what do you think about XYZ, well, I have this thought but then I can see the other side too and, pick something! Just, I don’t know, and it can really hinder when I say things. Whether I’m answering a question or wanna voice an opinion, it can be just something trivial or something huge and I just become a, oh but wait. There’s this as well, and they might think that so I better not say it. It becomes overwhelming in my head sometimes. And I just have to, I’m like stop, calm down.

Nicole – Does that interact in any specific or particular way with like fat acceptance and like, believing that, like for me as a 5, I had to research the wazoo out of it and didn’t tell anyone for like 6 years that I believed it.

Fayelle – Totally. I can hear all the research and still say, oh but it will look like I’m not healthy, or this person’s not healthy. Even if they could be totally healthy. But what about physically, the heaviness of weight, what that’s doing, even if their cholesterol’s fine. Like I will go all around from every angle, whether right or wrong. And then I have a hard time going, no, you know what is true and you know what research says, what these examples have shown. But I’m like, oh, but, there’s always just so much but, but, and so it can really put a damper on what I’m trying to do, how I’m trying to feel, what I’m trying to believe.

Amanda – As a 2 I find a similar feeling of yes I’ve seen the research but I’m afraid of how it’s gonna hurt people or make them not like me if I say it.

Fayelle – Yep.

Amanda – When I get into one of those conversations I usually have Nicole’s voice in the back of my head. Or I actually ask her to come into the conversation.

Fayelle – Nice.

Amanda – To speak her five peace and then move like, help me not have to be the one that brings the facts.

Fayelle – Yes. And that’s the other thing too, I feel like I can’t talk, I can’t say things, without having all the facts ready, because if there’s conflict and I can’t respond and I’m left hanging by myself flailing, there’s no peace there and so I’m freaking out. And I don’t know what to say. And I’ll tell you, and this is not just, this is so not as superficial as maybe it might sound or so many other people might think, but when I first learned through Nicole about fat positivity, like real fat positivity, and I remember she would be, what would Nicole say in this situation, all the time, in the back of my head. And I was like, how much worse off would my life be if I didn’t have that? Like I would not have come so far. And so I’m really appreciative of that. But I did it all the time in my head. What would Nicole say? It was like the voice of truth.

Amanda – How does that make you feel Nicole?

Nicole – Wildly uncomfortable but also grateful. Like there’s a mixture of emotions. But I think part of, so like as a 5, I can feel like a robot who lacks any ability to interact with humans on a relational level. And so I appreciate when Amanda asks me to like, come in and be a part of a conversation or things like that, where it shows the value in the way that I think and the way that I interact. ‘Cause the truth is, I’m not an emotionless robot. Like I have emotions and feelings, I just express them in different timing and ways and intensity than other people, more emotionally centered people. And so like, being able to embrace that my factual, logical research based knowledge is as valid and as relevant to how we live and exist as humans has also been like, very freeing for me to live into the things that I believe and things and the way that I feel. So yes, I appreciate that.

Amanda – Well I know that I couldn’t do this without your 5-ness. Well, without your Nicole-ness. Because man, I just get so caught up in being a little pastoral person, worrying as opposed to caring about how people will perceive things. And so I need, for me to be able to realize that I’m not lacking, it’s okay for me to be the one that cushions especially when you and I are working on something together because I know that you’re going to provide the support underneath the cushion.

Nicole – Yeah.

Amanda – And we’re a team.

Nicole – Yeah, and I, with my, Fayelle, with the friendship with you, I feel like there’s a similar dichotomy there, I don’t even know if, that’s not the right word.

Amanda – Dynamic?

Nicole – Yes, that word. Where there’s different perspectives and different ways that we approach it but that it compliments.

Fayelle – Yes.

Nicole – And strengthens the other.  Which I very much appreciate with both of you.

Fayelle – I do too.

Amanda – I’m not even saying it because we’re recording a podcast. I value the friendship.

Fayelle – I agree and I totally, me too.

Amanda – Man. This is so important for me, that fat people have support in their lives. Because we’re not all like, we’re not monolith, we’re dynamic and we have different gifts and so often, fat people are expected to fill a couple of stereotypes whether it be the person that gets walked all over, or the person that’s bitter and isolated. And that’s such a sad view of our humanity. And I think when we get together, in mass, when we’re together in a group where we can start to see those personality traits and how we round out each other, I just used a bunch of fat euphemisms.

Nicole – As you should.

Amanda – Yes. That it just, it just affirms the dignity of the fat person in community. Like we have things to offer, for so long I believed that I didn’t have anything to offer because I was fat.

Nicole – And like, that is, you saying that reminds me of one of the things that I love the most about you Fayelle, as I have been friends with you, is that you offer your relationship and your friendship to the people in your little community. Like I just see you doing that for like your actual neighbors that live near you. And I’m seeing this mostly through Facebook or LiveJournal back in the day.

Fayelle – Yeah.

Nicole – But I believe you when you’re telling your stories. And so I guess, I love, we have a few minutes left, I’d love to hear you talk a little bit about how like, how your body interacts with that, or if that’s even a consideration or, I don’t know, if there’s anything connected to like fully living into who you are as, not just a person but a fat person. And how that like, influences or interacts with how you love your neighbors well and your children well and your community and their school and all that.

Fayelle – I feel like being a fat person and actually reaching out to neighbors and school, I don’t know, many times I just feel, not more, I just feel real. Like, I want to be an average person in society just doing my things. I don’t want to stick out. And sometimes I feel like as fats, we do stick out and it’s like, oh my gosh, I’m the only fat person in the room. Or whatever, and I feel like the more I can be out there doing the things, the more normal it is for me to be fat. And anybody else for that matter. And so I try to, on days when my own emotions are hard, you know, I’m just gonna live my life. And whether I’m bringing fat into it or not, I’m just gonna live my life. And then I would just hope that it doesn’t have to be a fat woman doing this. But just a woman. Just a person. There’s a person, whole bunch of people, and they’re doing these things, and they’re helping others. And whether they’re fat or not. And hopefully if somebody else is reserved because of their fatness or any other reason, they can just say, these other people are also bringing food to their sick neighbors or volunteering at their school or whatever and it doesn’t matter, I guess, if that makes sense. Just me.

Nicole – Like, where it’s like simultaneously you’re just a human but also for other fat people who feel like they can’t do something because they would stick out, you’re also being a person that says you can do this. Even if you do stick out.

Fayelle – Yes! And I have looked, there are times where I’m emotionally fragile for whatever reason, nothing has to have happened, I just am and I will look for the other person who, of color, who’s fat, who’s older, who’s younger if I’m with older, you’re just trying to find somebody else like you and I think that’s a very normal response. And if I don’t go out, I’m depriving somebody else of possibly seeing that. Maybe somebody else is looking for that as well and I can be that person. And I may never know and most of the time I don’t. But it’s just nice knowing that I can use my body for the way it is, the good body that it is, regardless of how I happen to feel that day, it can be helpful to somebody else. Even just visually, even just a, oh look, somebody like me. Good, here we are, doing our life together. Similar in a way.

Nicole – Amen.

Amanda – Oh man that’s so powerful.

Nicole – I love that.

Amanda – Well Fayelle thank you so much for being our guest today.

Fayelle – Yeah, you’re so welcome, thank you for inviting me, it’s really fun, really really fun.

Nicole – It’s good. And you’ll have fun again when you like, transcribe yourself, when you listen to this.

Fayelle – I’ve been trying to like, speak clearly, because I know it’s coming back to me. But I don’t wanna be like, what did I say, what’s going on?

Nicole – Well this was fun. I’m so glad we did this and did it as all three of us even if we weren’t always sure who to talk when.

Amanda – Or Nicole getting her microphone muted.

Nicole – Oh my gosh and then my computer keeps making dinging noises which I don’t know if y’all can hear.

Fayelle – Nope.

Nicole – Fine. Good. That’s good.

Amanda – Well thank you for joining us for this episode of Fat & Faithful, we look forward to hearing from you about what you liked about this episode. You can follow us on social media at Fat and Faithful. And we have a Patreon if you would like to support what we’re doing. We provide resources in fat acceptance to anyone who needs them, regardless of their ability to contribute. They’re open posts on our Patreon which is Patreon.com/fatandfaithful and we would love to have help. Because that’s how we pay Fayelle.

Fayelle – Yay!

Nicole – Woo hoo! Yes, and also if you don’t already join us at our Facebook group, you can talk with all three of us at All Bodies are Good Bodies on Facebook so be sure to join us there. This podcast is co-hosted by Amanda Martinez Beck and J. Nicole Morgan and made possible through the generous support of our Patreon donors.To become a supporter, visit patreon.com/fatandfaithful. Please subscribe, rate, and review wherever you listen to your Podcasts–this helps others find us and the fat acceptance work we’re doing. You can join in on the discussions in our Facebook group All Bodies Are Good Bodies or follow us on social media. You can find Amanda on Instagram at your_body_is_good (with an underscore between each word) or on Twitter @AmandaMBeck. Nicole is @jnicolemorgan on both Instagram and Twitter. Fat & Faithful is produced by Amanda Martinez Beck, transcription services are provided by Fayelle Ewuakye, and our theme music is “These Bodies” by The Many. Visit their website at themanyarehere.com and learn more about the “This is My Body” liturgy they created around this song at pluralguild.com/this-is-my-body. Thank you for joining us as we learn to love God incarnate and our neighbors body as our own.

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