Sunday, 4 February 2018

Please Stop Commenting On My Body.


As you probably know, I'm currently on holiday in Antigua. That's not entirely relevant, I just wanted to brag again (kidding). In the run up to this trip, I've panicked and had anxiety over a lot of things but there was one aspect I didn't realise would cause me quite so much hassle: my body.


See the thing is, I'm fat. I've always been a big girl but it's pretty much spiralled to the point where I'm fatter than almost anyone. If we were in a shopping centre on a packed Saturday afternoon, I'd be the fattest there for sure. I rarely, if ever, see other women my size. Being 5'2" doesn't help; I essentially look like a sphere you could roll down a hill like an egg on Easter if you pushed me hard enough. 

The thing is though, while I do want to change and improve myself for the sake of my health, I don't necessarily hate my body. This is my home, this is the shell I exist in, and it has done not too badly over the years! It takes a lot of abuse (the amount of food and drink I consume, the nasty words I and other people say about it, the tattoos, piercings, self harm I inflict on it) without any complaints. All it ever does is its best for me. It works hard to make sure that I can wake up in the mornings and spend time with people I love, doing things I love. It carries some extra weight, but every part of it works well. It is good to me, and I am thankful to have it.

So no, despite what you might expect, I don't hate my body. I want to treat it better and show it the respect it shows me, but I don't hate it - far from it. What I do hate is how other people react to it.

When I was preparing to come on this holiday I worried myself into numerous anxiety attacks panicking at the thought of flying. I'm scared of flying as it is, but I was terrified at the prospect of being placed next to a stranger on the plane. They'd inevitably be reluctant to be next to my fat ass for nine hours. What if they complained about me?! I fit fine in the economy seat with the armrests down (not overflowing into the seat next to me!), but I required an extender for my seatbelt. I had no problem asking for this, but I saw the dirty looks that the passengers gave me as I did so. I saw the looks of disgust as I shuffled down the aisle. It's something I have got used to.

If you're not aware, Antigua is a hot place. It's been around 27 degrees during the day here (it's 9pm and still 24 degrees!) so you have to dress appropriately. I don't really own summer clothes, I never have done. I'd love to be able to swan around in maxi dresses and camisole tops and playsuits, letting that poor overworked body of mine catch a break and keep cool, but I have tried that. I've seen the people sniggering to each other about my flabby arms or my rotund belly. I know that they think I'm disgusting. So I try to cover it up. Today I wore a cardigan all day despite the heat.

For years I've heard comments. When I lived in Aberdeen I was pushed against a wall by a group of 30-something men who commented on how they'd "rather fuck a donkey". Another time I walked past a student party on an extremely busy street, when a guy leaned out the window and shouted "I've written you a song - it's called 'You're Chubby'", in front of everyone. When my hair was purple a group of teens told me "your hair is cool... your belly isn't". I've had customers in bars tell me I'm a "fat fucking idiot", discuss my weight with each other, make comments about "I can bench-press 125kg but I don't think I'd have a chance at shifting her" while I serve them drinks. People in fast food restaurants have thrown food at me, making jokes about how much I must eat. People in nightclubs have sat laughing at me while I'm feet away. I can't remember the last time I walked into a busy area without having heads turn. Every time, my heart sinks.

When you're fat, you're fair game. People can tell you exactly what they think about your body, because you're a lazy undisciplined slob. I'm not for a second going to sit here with the "some people have hormone imbalances" argument (although that is true) cause in my case, I'm fat because I eat too much and move too little. But frankly, what the fuck has that got to do with anyone else?!

There's always that argument of 'health' isn't there? As if fat people aren't aware. As if we aren't constantly hearing about how we're a drain on the NHS (for the record I haven't been anywhere near a doctor since university - and that was for my mental health) and how we're seconds away from heart attacks or cancer. I don't deny that my body is clearly not in optimal health, but it's also not any of your business. Where were the people who cared about my health when I was starving myself for four+ days a week in order to ensure a loss on 'weigh-in day'? And realistically, do the people calling me a "fat pig" really give a shit about my wellbeing?

I'm almost certain that no one reading this lives a completely healthy lifestyle. There's something in there that's probably not good for you, but you're an adult and you can decide what to do with your body. It only seems to be when it is linked to body size that people 'care'. For instance my slim husband eats far more fast food than I do, but nobody questions his health. Just being slim doesn't mean you are automatically healthy, but again, it's not my business what other people do. I would never go up to a stranger smoking on the street and tell them they're repulsive, but I am regularly degraded and insulted to the point of tears by people I've never met.

It's not that I am denying that being fat is unhealthy - although you can definitely be fat and healthy,  the optimum is definitely not the body fat percentage I currently have - it's that I'm tired of my fat body and my health being up for public discussion. I'm tired of complete strangers thinking that they have the right to discuss it not only with me, but worse, with each other in front of me. I'm not here to 'glorify' or 'promote' obesity, but I am here. I exist, fat as I am, and yet still a person. I have feelings like anyone else. I get upset by cruel comments like anyone else. My health and wellbeing is private matter, just as yours is. I'd just really like to be able to walk around without people making it clear how gross they find me. If you hate my body, sorry, but I don't want to hear it. Please just keep it to yourself.
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6 comments

  1. Beth you are bloody brilliant! It absolutely beggars belief that anyone can think that a total stranger’s weight means entitles them to make derogatory comments. Reading about all of the incidents that you have experienced makes me so mad, I’m so sorry that so many idiots have felt the need to get involved in something that is frankly none of their damn business! I’m very glad to hear that you appreciate your body for everything that it has carried you through, that is such a positive attitude and it is something that I admire you for immensely!

    Abbey ❤️ http://www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

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  2. I am so sorry you've had to deal with this :( People can be vile. Please remember you are BEAUTIFUL ♥ ♥

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  3. I can't believe people have the nerve to be so rude to you. Why? What business is it of theirs? I'm so sorry you've had to put up with such rudeness and bad manners. You are lovely and you are gorgeous. If people can't appreciate that then more fool them. Go you, girl! X

    Lisa | www.lisasnotebook.com

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  4. Your comment about being fat / healthy is SO true. Fat does not equate to unhealthiness and skinny does not equate to healthiness on any level. Personally, I’m not what I would call fat. I have big hips and big thighs because I’ve put on a lot of weigh over the last couple of years but I also eat a lot of takeaways, crisps, chocolate. I know my diet could be 10x better (she says, thinking about the kebab we’re getting tomorrow). But nobody deserves the comments you’ve had, nobody of any size deserves any comments because like you said, it’s literally nobody else’s business what anybody else’s body looks like. There’s so much more to people than their body. And this is a wonderful post - as always.

    Jenny
    http://www.jennyinneverland.com

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  5. I am so, so sorry that you've been through all that. I find it absolutely repulsive that people feel they can say and do these things to you.
    Thank you for writing this, because it will reach out to a lot of people going through a similar thing, very unfortunately.
    We certainly need to do something about this as a society. I don't know whether maybe it starts with how we talk about weight in front of children, so they don't grow up thinking that size = health.

    Good for you for speaking out about this, I really hope people will be kinder in future xx

    www.thenorthleft.co.uk

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  6. I can't believe that you've been through so much. As a fat woman myself, I get a lot of the judgemental looks and comments, but I haven't heard of such crazy abuses since I was in high school!

    In a weird way, I think it's easier for me because I'm in North America and I'm not the only fat woman around. That said, it's frustrating to not be able to talk about any issues I'm having without it being seen through the guise of my weight. I also hate not being able to talk about why it's been such an issue for me without judgement.

    Stay strong! xx

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