Firstly I would like to point out that ‘diet’ is a subjective word and the modern connotations of this word have become a lingering impression left on society by media driven, cultural norms that have become accepted by so many people out there. Most women in my life are diet obsessed, whether they identify themselves as dieters or not. For gender inclusion I will point out that the men are too, but I just don’t hang out with as many men, so this will be a feminine driven essay. I feel that there is too much emphasis put onto the fact that if someone cuts out carbs for a month they will look a certain way, people are living to attain a different version of the self, without considering the importance of living the here and now, this is why I wanted to write these self-reflective words.
I never identified myself as ‘fat’ and still wouldn’t necessarily do so, despite what the modern media and BMI calculating systems tell me. I suffer from Hypothyroidism and have seen a steady weight gain in the past two and a half years that have definitely tipped my BMI to the ‘Overweight’ side, but as a 34GG breast size and UK size 14-16 I am not too worried at all. I know I eat very well and exercise as much as possible, the nature of my disease means that I am bigger than I have ever been, yet this side effect has not affected my self-confidence, positive body image, personal drive or my health in a negative way. This is not to say I wasn’t shocked when I was in my local gay bar dancing to Morrisey, when a famous fat activist Amy Lame approached me last year and asked me in a very coy way whether I would like to be part of a fat person beauty contest? At this point I was smaller than I am now and undiagnosed, meaning that being approached and identified as fat, despite the celebratory fashion in which it occurred, did come as a shock.
I was left to ponder my personal bodily identity, was I to accept this as a compliment that she felt I had what it took to take part in the competition, or was the former UK size 12 person in me to be offended that I had gone from being perceived from normal girl to fat girl? It took a while to get used to but as I did not yet know why my weight was creeping up despite no change in diet or exercise. Yet I have always considered myself to be beautiful and I know that all those around me do to, so despite the odd crisis when realising that yet another priceless vintage dress was getting that little bit too tight I decided to accept my new frame with open chubby arms. I wasn’t able to attend the beauty contest as I was taking a trip to South Africa at the time, a place where the women are big, beautiful and proud. I took my own journey to accepting my new body instead through dressing up in even more ridiculous outfits than ever before: more glitter, more novelty items, more sequins and most of all so many patterns in each outfit I was like a walking swatch book.
I’m not sure whether this essay is about fat acceptance, as I still wouldn’t associate myself with the word ‘fat’ as it has become a cultural taboo associated with bad health and general negativity, which are terrible assumptions. I don’t want to add this negative word to my healthy bodily image and self-approving psyche. I think this is more a letter to all other women out there, to love themselves no matter how big or small they may be, just throw on some glitter and sequins and accept the FABULOUS within us all. Life is way too short to worry about how you look and as I have done through my own fabulous acceptance journey, worry about the ways in which we are perceived. Rather than put your energy into something that is so peripheral to your own, everyday life, put that energy into being the very best, most fabulous version of you. As long as you can claim that you are living the life you want to lead, whilst treating your body and mind kindly then I don’t really think you can go wrong.
Me at the heaviest I have been having a wonderful time in Cape Town, loving life as a FABULOUS person: