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?