Growing up Fat

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Those of you who regularly read this blog must know that I am by no means a skinny person. I’ve been overweight pretty much as long as I can remember and although I’ve made many attempts to reduce my weight I have given up at pretty much every one of them. Part of me thinks I’ll be happier if I’m skinny whereas the other part of me wonders if I’d actually care that much if society wasn’t putting as much pressure on me to care. I’d probably be healthier but I’m not sure about happier.

I wouldn’t really say I was bullied at any point for being overweight, I’ve had people say mean things about me as pretty much everyone has but I was never specifically targeted for my size. Obviously some people have been mean enough to bring it up – I still remember the group of year nines walking behind me and my friend when we were in year eight and one of them whispering loudly enough for me to hear (definitely on purpose) “God she’s fat, isn’t she?” But as far as I can remember I was never harassed about it. But I did hate it.

Other than the occasional mean comments I also had to worry about/be insecure about certain things that skinner children/teenagers probably wouldn’t have thought twice about.

My main one was whenever food was mentioned at secondary school – especially in food technology which caused a bit of a problem. One year we were doing desserts and pastries which was probably the best topic ever and at the end of one lesson we were encouraged to talk about foods we liked. Most people in the class were giving answers which was always met with a chorus of ‘oh my god yes’ and ‘mmm yummy’ – but not from me. I was so worried someone would laugh at me or say something about my size that I did my best to keep my face remaining neutral and didn’t say anything at all. I’d sit there and long for the talk about food to end so that I didn’t have to worry anymore.

One of the people who brought me down the most because of my weight is actually the person I love most in the world – my Mom. I love her and I know she loves me but that woman said and continues to say things to me that really knock my confidence. Then when I tell her I feel insecure I’m met with comments about how I’m ‘beautiful’ and I only believe the negative and not the positive.

The one that sticks out was when she came into my room and spotted a photo of me and my friends which had been taken on my 20th birthday when my friends surprised me with a trip to the Harry Potter Studios. We’d been sat ‘in a carriage’ on the Hogwarts Express and were looking at the camera with a scared expression because there was a dementor looking through the window. We were all sat sideways to the camera and my Mom looked at it and said “Just a tip, to help you look skinnier in photos you should turn yourself so you’re facing forwards.”

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I suppose to her it was a throwaway comment but it made me want to cry and I still feel a bit negative about myself whenever I look at that photo. It was inappropriate to look at a photo that I associated with a happy memory and basically imply that I looked fat and should’ve sat a different way. It was also inappropriate when I was about fifteen and she looked me up and down in ASDA and blurted out “You look pregnant!”

Something that any overweight person can probably relate to is changing rooms at stores. There is nothing worse than having a breakdown in the changing rooms because nothing in the entire store fits you. As I’ve grown older I’ve learnt the kind of stores that just won’t fit my body type and now try to avoid them like the plague.

However my friends are all quite a bit skinnier than me so sometimes I end up in these shops anyway and honestly looking at clothes sized ’14-16’ being labelled as ‘XXL’ makes me want to go home and vomit. I’ve tweeted about this regularly but I hate finding a cute clothing garment online and realising their largest size is a 12. I might be big but I still want to wear cute clothes! We exist, make your clothes bigger!

One thing that annoyed me growing up were the amount of skinny people who would claim they were fat – I don’t doubt that they genuinely believed they were but I had one friend who was literally less than half the size of me who would moan she was fat then say to my face “You’re not fat, I’m really fat though.” It didn’t even make me feel better, I just thought it was stupid that someone who was clearly a lot smaller than me was claiming they were bigger.

Even now I have friends who regularly claim they’re fat and want to lose weight when I would kill someone to be their size. And every time they mention how much weight they want to lose it makes me feel awful about myself – I know that’s definitely not their intention and they definitely care more about their own weight than mine but it does make me wonder ‘what do you think of me if you think you need to lose weight?’

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Whenever I hear someone skinnier than me talking about their latest diet or whatever they’re doing to lose weight my stomach drops a little because I wonder why I’m not working harder to lose weight. My manager at work recently confessed she wanted to lose weight before her latest holiday and she’s literally the skinniest person in the office. I get so insecure snacking at work because everyone’s always on some kind of diet and doing their best to eat healthier and I’m worried everybody’s judging me.

When I was about twelve a friend confided in me that she liked being my friend because she didn’t have to feel embarrassed about eating in front of me like she did with other friends who were skinnier than her – I didn’t take offence at the time and it definitely wasn’t meant in a nasty way. I didn’t feel uncomfortable eating in front of her (if I felt uncomfortable eating in front of people skinnier than me I would never bloody eat) and I was happy that she felt comfortable. But it makes me quite sad that she felt that way considering we all need to eat to live – she wasn’t disgusting or fat just for having a basic human need to eat.

A recent thing that knocked my confidence was when Jess suggested that we all went clubbing together. Her, me, Becca and Jess. By that point I wasn’t against drinking alcohol anymore and the idea did sound quite fun but one thing was putting me off. People comparing me to them.

Okay it sounds stupid but it was a genuine concern. I’m bigger than the three of them and although I know it’s ridiculous I do look at photos of the four of us and wonder if I’m on par with them or if I’m significantly uglier. So when Jess suggested clubbing I was worried that people would hit on them and talk to them and basically ignore me all night. I guess films like ‘The Duff’ kind of fucked me up a little. Ultimately I knew it wouldn’t go down like that and that my friends would not ditch me or let anyone talk shit about me but I was still concerned.

It turned out I had nothing to worry about, people talked to me just as much as they did to my friends and I actually had a really good night. But I think the niggle of worry will still be there in the future even though I know it’s such a silly and petty thing to worry about. To be fair I did find I suddenly stopped caring about my size and whether people were judging once I’d had a couple of cocktails but I shouldn’t need to be tipsy to not be insecure!

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Something that’s worrying me for the future is that me and my friends are going to Asia in September/October… And I’m very worried about being fat shamed. I don’t really worry in Europe or America but like Asian sizes are always a lot smaller than European and I don’t know, I’m just worried someone will say something. It’s not stopping me being excited for the holiday because I am excited as I’ve always wanted to go. But I do worry that the insecurity will ruin my good time a little bit.

I feel like that as a K-Pop fan – I touched on this a little in my 24K Fanmeet London Experience post but due to Asian beauty standards I was a bit worried about meeting them the first couple of times. It feels horrible to say because they were so lovely but I was a bit worried one of them would look at me or say something that would make me feel awful. It’s the same with any K-Pop related thing to be honest. I fantasise about meeting my faves but I do worry that they would shame me for my size. Again, absolutely ridiculous but the insecurity is there!

I feel a bit more secure in my skin as I’ve gotten older and I feel like I am less obsessed about my weight but I do have days where I look in the mirror and wish I could just tear the fat away. But I just feel like even if I was skinnier I would still have insecurities. I would still think I was ugly 80% of the time, I would still be unhappy with many aspects of my life and the only thing that would really change is that I could buy more clothes from mainstream stores. Nothing ground-breaking would happen. My parents would probably still make comments about my weight, I would still be bigger than my friends and I would still be insecure.

The media doesn’t help either. I feel like I shouldn’t really comment on this movie because I didn’t see it but I hated the trailer for ‘I Feel Pretty’ starring Amy Schumer. It’s not like Amy is ugly by any standards and she’s not even fat, it just seemed a bit… Pointless? Obviously I didn’t see the movie so I won’t delve too deep but other media tries to make us think badly of fat people too. Young Monica in Friends was a laughing stock until she lost weight and suddenly she was desirable. That’s not okay! I’m not even gonna talk about Netflix’s new show ‘Insatiable’, a show I definitely won’t be watching.

I’m not really sure what the point of this post is because it’s not like it’s made me feel any better to write it… I guess I just want other people in my situation to realise that they’re not alone and there’s absolutely no shame in being overweight. It doesn’t make you a bad person, it doesn’t make you an ugly person. One of my favourite posts on the internet said ‘you can be the pretty friend AND the fat friend’ and although I don’t think that applies to my friendship group it was still super uplifting to read.

Feel free to leave a comment with any of your own experiences whether they’re recent or while you were growing up. It would make me feel a little less alone and we could make each feel better!

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