I am fat! There, I’ve said the ‘F’ word that lurks in closets and writhes with shame. F.A.T. According to many, I dare say I am not simply fat, but grossly, morbidly obese – and should, I am sure, be marched off by the Diet Nazis (those who genuinely believe that a size 12 equals extra large!) and force-fed fresh air until my unsightly curves dwindle to a more acceptable size…
I am fat! And, for the first time in my life, I do not give a shit! I have given up weighing myself, though I know that my current weight lies somewhere between twelve and thirteen stone. I have stopped obsessing over diets created by Sadists and measuring myself tearfully to see if my vital statistics are anywhere near the ideal. I have ceased to see my fat as an automatic deal breaker when it comes to men and sex.
To use a vile glossy magazine-type euphemism for all fatties everywhere, I celebrate my curves – and if, on the beach, I look more like something in need of harpooning than a conventional Beach Babe, who cares?!
Yes, I have extra flesh! Crime of the century, this appears to be in modern parlance. Ye gods! My overhang – a result of giving birth and not been a zealot when it came to busting my balls (as it were) in order to spring back to a size and shape acceptable to the world at large – makes me laugh. Yes, shock horror, I admit in public to an overhang, to plumptiousness in the abdominal area; to a weight so far above the idyllic size zero that slim women are torn between shooting me (though not eating me: The carbs, darling!) and patronising me to death.
According to those lovely little weigh yourself machines in major supermarkets, I have a BMI of an elephant and am well into the obese section of the graph. I am, therefore, according to some, a weak-willed, unattractive, greedy pig of a female, a disgrace to womankind and one who wilfully lets the appearance-related side down.
To compound this catalogue of sack-able offences, I am not the slightest bit interested in designer clothes, handbags, vaginas or anything else which, to my mind, puts a label and loadsamoney way above common sense and comfort. I have one handbag. I do not do shoes for every occasion. Or coats! To me, spending more than I make from teaching in a month on an item of apparel or a pointless accessory is daft.
I am also not in vogue when it comes to bodily hirsuteness – and would rather have root canal treatment without anaesthetic than have some bugger, no matter how well-trained, rooting about with wax and God alone knows what else in my hold! If I wanted to look like a pre-adolescent in the minge department, I would have been a bit more fanatical about dieting myself into perpetual childhood when I was eleven or so.
We say the word ‘fat’ with much the same dread and disgust as we say, for example ‘paedophile’ or ‘axe-murderer’. Spare flesh is regarded as abnormal, revolting, a sign of gorging in lonely bedsits with only a cat for company and the shopping programmes on the telly all day long. It is, in many people’s mind, right up there with moral turpitude and a one-way ticket to Hell.
I am FAT. FAT. And I am not ashamed. Because there is nothing to be ashamed about. I do not have a waist men could encircle with both hands – but why would I want to have one? I am a woman, not an egg-timer!
I have, in the past, been down the whole diet, laxatives, binge road – when I was size 12! Ridiculous! I damaged myself for a size which, in any sensible person’s head, is on the slimmer side of things.
In truth, our size, our fat quotient, has no automatic connection to our levels of happiness, aliveness and well-being. It is society’s rigid expectations, and the comments of others (gleaned from the more cretinous articles in the glossies) which sting and draw blood and make us feel that we are abnormal, revolting and hideous.
I have been fat for most of my adult life. I have also been a nude model – and a locally successful one – at both a pottery class and a life drawing one. Beauty does not lie in a minute waistline or a perfectly flat stomach. You do not have to be eight stone or less to feel good about yourself as a person, as a woman. You do not have to beat yourself up because you wear size eighteen clothes.
I am FAT – and I am proud of who I am!
Acceptance and liberation!