Getting to Yes, And

Savala Nolan: Don't Let it Get You Down


Savala Nolan

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Kelly has a provocative conversation with writer, speaker and lawyer Savala Nolan whose new book is called Don’t Let It Get You Down: Essays on Race, Gender and the Body.

I was fascinated with how much poetic language you use to discuss very painful and hard topics in the book, which feels on purpose because poetry often holds the bad and good at once.

“I just want to say how much I love poetry. What a respite it has been for me in moments of grief. And also, it feels like the language of poetry is the opposite of an algorithm in a way that iwv extremely refreshing and cleansing. Part of the reason that I relate to poetry and love it so much is because of what you said about this ability to hold the bad and the good, the dark and the light. I think if we're unwilling to go into the shadow side of ourselves or our lives, we're missing a real solid chunk of what is to be learned or seen or savoree or excavated.”

You talk in the book about being mixed race, coming from poverty but going to elite schools and being a self-identified fat person - all of that comes with a special kind of perspective.

“I have this resume of polarities that informs how I look at the world and how I write about the world and, in particular, how I think about what it means to have a body, and what we learn when we sort of put our attention on our bodies and how our bodies move through the world.”

You have an essay about dating white guys where you write: ‘Chasing these dudes was like simultaneously experiencing my demise and ordering it.’

“What I hoped was that by winning the approval of a certain type of white guy I would be sort of airlifted out of my otherness. I would be saved from feeling so incredibly different and unworthy. And so at the time that I was doing this pursuit of these men, you know which I'm not engaged in any more, but I was  until fairly recently,  I knew that, essentially, the function of their approval of me was to obliterate the parts of myself that I didn't like.”

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