Tuesday, 27 April 2010

If I was never a fat girl I'd never have grown up to be me.....

I had an epiphany on the bus on Friday.

Buses are good for this. They're very emotional things, buses. After I broke up with my (now) ex boyfriend I cried for a good six months every time I got on a bus. Maybe it was the forward motion. I used to get my best ideas on the loo, now I get them on buses. (Insert joke about motion here).

So I was feeling genuinely disgusted with myself. The heat's come out to play, bringing with it the gorgeous skinny population of London and I, having discarded the gym in favour of sitting down, sewing and eating tumultuous amounts of cake, feel like the only fat girl in London.

Now as a feminist I'm not supposed to care about this, right? I scream every day about body image, about how women and men are being pushed towards an ideal when they should learn to love themselves, right? Well of course, and this is a deeply held belief of mine. But part of the reason it's such a deeply held belief of mine is that I know firsthand exactly how shitty low self esteem and negative body image can feel because I've been there. Many, many times.

As I reached my late twenties I have finally learned to accept and love myself, partly through feminism and education, partly through the love of a great bunch of very supportive friends and family, partly through a Mae West box set and definitely partly through having what we like to call in the trade a sense of humour.

But I still have the occasional blip. Who doesn't? I eat when I'm hungry, I also eat when I'm bored, or happy, or miserable, or pushing the boundaries I set for myself. I am a virtual stranger to moderation, and this takes its toll.

So I was sitting on the bus and I felt like a small continent, and the skinny pretty, and obviously much happier than me population of London were dancing around me, like nymphs in A Midsummer Night's Dream when I had a revelation.

I wouldn't be me, if I wasn't a fat girl.

PLEASE NOTE - the below explanation refers only to my situation. I am not saying that all pretty people would be as easily distracted as I would have been, had I conformed a little more. Beautiful people aren't excluded from being intelligent, poetic and wonderful. Whatever size you are, however you look, your motivation will be different. It's just that I am a deeply lazy person.....

If I wasn't a fat girl:

1. One of the boys I obsessed about may have paid attention, and I wouldn't have spent the time I spent with my best friends that bonded us forever and made us sisters for life. Every time I got stood up (it happened often), one of them was there to ensure that we had a far better night then I could have ever had with anyone else.

2. I would have spent all my time snogging (FACT) and wouldn't have got any work done. I might not have gone to the university I went to and wouldn't have had a million incredible experiences (plus the academic stuff).

3. I wouldn't have felt the need to develop a sense of humour. Do you think Cheryl Cole has a sense of humour? She hits toilet attendants FFS. (N.B I did hear a rumour that Posh Spice has a wicked sense of humour, I really hope that this is true. I hope that the cameras switch off and Posh Spice kicks off her scary heels and asks David to pull her finger.)

4. I would never have been a fat greebo at school. Skinny greebos just aren't proper greebos.

5. I have never had to worry that someone is just going out with me for my body. It's DEFINITELY my mind that they're into.

6. I would never, annoyed at the lack of larger sizes in shops, have learned to make my own clothes, and I might never have owned matching red and pink polka dot dresses. Oh the shame!

7. I would have just bought everything I wore in Primark - just like so many other people.

8. I certainly wouldn't have stayed at home and practised the flute - so now I can play in lovely psyche folk bands with wonderful and interesting people.

9. I would have played the romantic lead in the school plays (like I secretly wanted to) instead of the interesting characters. I certainly wouldn't have played Widow Twankee in my Junior School production of Aladdin, which was clearly the performing highlight of my life (just ask my mum, she'll confirm this!)

10. I'd have never slammed (bite the ends off, dip one end into tea, slurp tea through and heaven awaits you) four caramel Rocky bars in a row that time - AND SEEN GOD. Or fit 18 YES 18 malteasers in my mouth in one go at that party.

11. I wouldn't be me. And luckily, due to all sorts of hard work by all sorts of people, I like being me.

I had to get this off my chest as I'm worrying about the video. For those of you who haven't read the script it's all about an eating competition. The general idea is that a woman triumphs through winning an eating contest. I want to to say something about the other types of roles that women can play in society. That we don't just triumph by being pretty, or standing around in our underwear. That we can be quirky and strange and want things that are uniquely ours. I wanted to directly attack the triumph of skinny and the fear of obesity. Obvious stuff but I don't think it gets said enough through the medium of music videos!!!

But I suppose I started to freak out because eating is such an emotional thing. I don't want the vid to look like an advert for bulimia or disordered binge eating. I want it to be a triumph, not another tragedy. Maybe this explanation will help me find what I'm trying to say.

I think I'm going to make some changes accordingly. Watch this space.



  1. Why no comments? Is it because I'm fat?!

  2. Yes! No comments for fatties!

    I know what you're saying, I think growing up on the large side was miserable at the time but helped make me the awesome person I am today. Whether this will result in me force feeding my kids cake ("YOU'LL GROW UP FAT IT WAS THE MAKING OF ME") remains to be seen.

    What's also interesting is that I'll always be fat in my head, however much weight I lose.