The past two weeks, my social media feeds have been saturated with debates surrounding people’s size.
Plus Sized Wars, a Channel 4 documentary on plus size bloggers like myself, sparked controversial comments from Jamelia claiming women of extreme weight, at both ends of the scale, shouldn’t be able to shop for clothes in high street stores.
The fantastic Debz of The (Not So) Secret Diary of a Wannabe Princess came out fighting with the #WeAreTheThey campaign that had women of all shapes and sizing putting their faces to the women Jamelia so publicly shamed.
At the same time, #EachBodysReady exploded across social media as women and men alike took offensive to Protein World’s Beach Body Ready adverts that have been slapped across the London Underground!

 

What has happened in the past few weeks seems to have bought issues of body confidence and, the flip side to this, body shaming, to the forefront of the British public awareness.
Until now, I have been relatively quite on my thoughts surrounding these campaigns.  Although I am perfectly happy with stripping off too my undies and sharing my lumps and bumps with you all, I am not always so comfortable expressing my thoughts and feelings on a deeper level.  But today I will …
Around two months ago, I found one of my blogposts posted to fat hatters list on Reddit.  My blog comment section was flooded with some of the most heinous insults I could imagine – some of the less offence compared me to a moo cow, or told me to shave my head as my hair is offensive.   Personally, I quite like cows – especially highland cattle who have, quite frankly, the most amazing mane of hair I’ve ever seen!
Now, I am fat!  There is no question about that, and I don’t find saying that word offensive.  I have 46inch hips, a 34inch waist, and 44inch chest.  I have a BMI of 29.4 and weigh 93kg (otherwise know as 14.6 stone).

 

My clothing size varies on where I shop: just over a year ago I got married in a size 22 wedding dress, I then went on my honeymoon wearing size 18-20 bikini bottoms, and today I sit in my armchair writing this post in a size 18 top and size 16 jeans.  Yesterday, a size 16 dress was roomy on waist and I probably could have dropped to a size 14 yet a pair of size 18 briefs were returned as being too small.
Now, should I feel ashamed of my body?  Ashamed of the stretch marks on my stomach, the slightly saggy bingo wings, and the dimpled thighs?  Should I feel so ashamed that I’m too scared to go to the high street and buy clothes?

 

Personally, I – like many other ladies out there – feel that my size is no-one else’s beeswax.  Nor is my weight.  Yet the haters will throw out quite venomous remarks about my health – and disguise them as concern.
So let me tell you about my health – something that I have never before mentioned on my blog – I have a brain deformation, multiple tubes floating around inside my body, a huge legion of scar tissue compressing on my brain, and a spine wrecked from many surgeries.
None of this is caused by my weight – although some of the treatment and years of inactivity (mostly through excessive pain stopping me even getting out of bed for months at a time) has meant that I’ve piled on the pounds.

 

 

I’ve also turned to food as comfort at times.  Now if you’d like to judge a lonely 16 year old, unable to go to school, unable to lift her head of the pillow for days on end, who is being treated as a pin cushion and told that she may be losing the use of her right side … if you’d like to judge her for eating a bit too much ice cream or gobbling up a bowl of pasta, then I feel that say’s more about you than it does me!
I will also say this – my body survived.  This body, that should be wrecked, fought back.  Aged 18, I had a huge surgery on my spine and brain – there was uncertainty at the time if it would give me back the full use of my arms and my legs and I was told that my recovery would be long and slow.

 

6 months later, I was on a horse.  9 months later, I went to university – carried on to do a masters degree, got a full time job, joined a gym, started swimming, partook in double spin classes, ran 5k and got a promotion!
Now, should I be ashamed of this life I have built just because I’m overweight?

I think what I’m trying to express with this is my anger – my anger that in todays enlightened, educated, liberal society their still exists so much judgement and hatred based solely on someones looks!
Does being over weight make me a bad person?  Does a size 4 girl need berating as if she’s spat on someones face?
I am unhealthy – but it’s because I was born with a disease, not because I’m fat.  But is it really anyone’s business?
And why can’t we celebrate, rather than berate, one another?  Celebrate our strength, our quirks, our differences and our similarities! Celebrate people who are happy in themselves and celebrate those who are working to change themselves so that they can be happy, after all – both are admirable!

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20 thoughts

  1. This is one of the most moving pieces of writing I have ever read. You have over come so much and the best past about it is you have come out of it smiling and no one has the right to judge you. You are such an amazing person 😀 xxx

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  2. Such an inspiration. I wish I was at that point in life right now, but I'm getting there. Living in a country where plus size isn't in the common vocabulary, I do struggle a bit with stares and words of depriciation that I hear sometimes. But I'm much more confident today than I was a year ago and that's all because of amazing plus size bloggers that I discovered along the way and made me realize that there is a world above the normal sizes and that's okay.

    uniquelyfilipa.blogspot.pt

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  3. Well done hun. Too many are quick to judge you based solely on what they first see. They don't know what you have had to deal with or what's contributed to you putting on weight. N tbh I don't think most care they just take the opportunity to size bash as they're generally too shallow to think outside the box 'society' has relegated us to.

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  4. Great post Charli. I'm sorry to hear you had some crap from the 'enlightened minds' (ahem) of Reddit. I'm also sorry to hear you've been dealing with the physical problems for so long. I long for the day when one human can look at another they don't know and think 'I don't know your story, I don't know your pain, and instead of being a judgemental arsehole I'm going to treat you with respect.' I judge people on whether they're dicks or not, simples. xx

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  5. I completely understand where you're coming from. Before puberty I was 5'6 and about 95lbs, I was a ballerina and a member of my schools track team. I was tiny. But then I hit puberty and almost overnight my tiny boyish figure blossomed into VERY feminine curves. However alone with those amazing curves came Chronic Severe Anemia, my energy and ability to be active decreased SEVERELY. When I was first diagnosed my doctor actually told me he was surprised I was not in a coma, as my body was barely able to keep itself functioning.
    I go through good months and bad months when it comes to my energy levels. I have tried everything from changing my diet, injections, supplements, and out patient IV's, but my body just does not seem able to absorb iron.
    As a result, my weight fluctuates quite often as well, as a result I've bounced between sizes 6 and 16. I often have people tell me I should be trying harder to loose weight, or call me lazy. Most people don't seem to understand that you aren't able to go to the gym that day because you are struggling to even find the energy to get out of bed every morning because your body just isn't functioning.
    To often people assume that because you look one way you must be unhealthy by choice. Sometimes, there's nothing you can do. What I wouldn't give to be able to run a marathon again, but my body just does not allow it. It really means alot knowing there are others out there standing up for those of us that don't always have a choice in our appearance.

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  6. <3 <3 <3 <3 I sit here with tears in my eyes. It really gripped my heart. You are a fantastic, beautiful and strong woman so that is what you have to remember. I try to get this across to other women that are so hard on themselves, that they have to realise what a great machine our bodies are. We should respect them! You look great and have a great figure. Beautiful inside out!! :) xxx

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  7. Thank you for sharing with such honesty; it really moved me. I agree with you entirely and I only hope I can express it as eloquently as you! Plus, how amazing that your body has fought through so much. Of course it deserves to be loved.

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  8. I totally agree with the others! People should stop judging others and stop posting mean comments on the internet. They don't know you, they don't know your past and these kind of people are definitely not 'concerned' about other people's health. You look great! I think you are brave for putting pictures of yourself (with your face shown) in your underwear on the internet. Honestly I wouldn't have the confidence for it.
    Btw. I am the same person who posted a comment earlier today. I don't won't to be anonymous, but I don't have a blog or a google account. My name is Adriana.

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