Big, Fat Truth: Volume Two


Do not trust the hangers, they will lie to you if you let them

You’ll be surprised to hear that buying clothes when you are a size 20 isn’t without its pitfalls. Tiny fitting rooms, snooty Saturday girls and not being allowed into New Look eating a pasty, even though it’s right next door to Gregs! The biggest thorn in the side of the curvy consumer however, is this little fucker! The size cap! It seduces you, it makes you feel safe, excited that they have your size, like the retail gods are smiling down on you. Then when you get to the fitting room you realise, hopefully before you’ve put it on, that the dress is actually a size 8 on the wrong hanger. It’s like finding out Santa isn’t real all over again. 

I did trust the size cube once. It was a dark day. It was a 6 on an 18 hanger. I did not check because I was in a rush to get to an appointment. Spoiler, I didn’t make it to the appointment. I was stuck, like this, for 27 minutes. The girl kept asking me if I was ok through the curtain. She probably thought I was injecting heroine. One, because I sounded weird and muffled saying, “just making sure I like it”through a thick corduroy pinafore and two, because in Swansea people shoot up in fitting rooms a lot. I thought, This is how I’m going to die! I tried to wiggle out but my hands couldn’t bend and I was sweating like a trucker in June. I tried to rip it but that wouldn’t work. I managed to free one hand and tried to saw my way out with my house keys. To no avail. I sat down and cried. I phoned my sister to asked her to come and help me but she is a grown up with kids so she just laughed. After resolving to bite the bullet and ask the petite, 16 year old hipster handing out the tags to set me free, Jesus took pity on me and drew my attention to a hidden zip. A HIDDEN ZIP! 

After reapplying some make up and putting my wonderful, perfectly fitting clothes back on, I informed the shop girl the dress didn’t suit me and walked out like Beyoncé. The moral of the story being, check the garment NOT the hanger and if in doubt style it out. 

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Big, fat truth: Volume One

There aren’t any rules (aka, you aren’t going to lose 20lbs so buy the damn dress) 

I am going to tell you a few home truths about being fat and loving to shop. You can do both and you should never be put off buying something you love because some twat in a lanyard tells you, “curvy girls should avoid white”, “maybe you could get away with that if you wore leggings”, or, my personal favourite, “shall I get you something to hide your arms?”. There are no rules, if you feel like a million bucks in an outfit fucking buy it!

I used to be skinny, very skinny in fact. At a time when I was a UK Size 8, I remember telling my best mate that, if I lost that last stone, I would buy myself a playsuit. IF I LOST WEIGHT!? I was tiny! I was so small that when I saw a photo of myself from that period at a friends house I said, “I used to have that top!”, completely oblivious to the fact that the petite blond in the pic was actually me. Eating disorders, depression and a prick of a boyfriend had all conspired to make me think I was still too fat to wear nice clothes. 

A few weeks ago at work I was asked, by a well meaning but very insensitive young lady, why it didn’t bother me that I was fat. I said it is hard everyday and I have to keep reminding myself that it isn’t my job to be thin and pretty and aesthetically pleasing. I have to remind myself that I am a person already and not the starting off point of a make over show. I deserve to dress exactly how I like and to only please myself. I also showed her my ‘skinny pic’. I told her I hated myself more at that weight than I do now. That I felt more angry and fat and stupid and worthless and lazy when I was training three hours a day and restricting my calories and I still wasn’t good enough. I’ve felt like a fat, ugly bitch since I was 15, it’s just now the outside actually matches my perception. This has given me a strange sense of peace. I feel more confident with each passing day and I am happy with my body and the space I am taking up. 

Back to clothes. I am never going to say, “I’d get that if I was smaller”, ever again. I have started to buy cute things every time I go shopping. Crop tops, high waisted jeans and hot pants are back in the game, and if other people disapprove I simply don’t care. Walking around the shops with my belly peeping out of the top of my haram pants is thrilling. I feel like a rebel. It takes me back to my teenage goth phase, when I would rejoice at tormenting chavs and old ladies alike by simply having the audacity to wear massive jnco jeans and fishnet vests (and, sad to admit, chains. Smh) 

You may think me shallow, and I am not implying there is a right or a wrong way to dress, but I believe having your own look is so important to your identity that it can harm your self esteem to go against your instincts. I know that in the years that I gave up on fashion and dressed to hide myself, I lost a big part of my personality. Because I love fashion. If you love leisurewear or denim or fleeces with wolves on them, that’s cool too! Feed your soul.

The feeling I try to recapture when I’m shopping is one from my childhood, the feeling that got me hooked on retail in the first place. I have a super cool big sister and, on my birthday and at Christmas, she would take me shopping for ‘grownup clothes’. I loved going to Tammy and New Look and buying clothes like hers and I would do a fashion show when I got home and nag to wear my new threads to the  chippy so people would see me in them. I didn’t want to keep them for best, I wanted to show them off! 

Now, when I try on stuff in a fitting room, instead of just checking it does up and isn’t see through (I shop in Primark a lot), I have fun again, I strike a pose and decide if I would want to show this off at a takeaway. If I can’t wait to wear it, it’s going in the bag.   

Life Goals 

I quit my job today, I don’t have another one to go to and I have a mortgage. After two panic attacks and a cry, I’m actually feeling pretty zen about it. I didn’t know I was going to do it, until I did. I didn’t know why I had, until I did. I had a moment, a powerful realisation and I knew that if I don’t try to get into comedy now I’m going to die. I am also very dramatic. 

From a very young age, I have been prone to highfalutin thoughts and grandiose beliefs that I was incredibly talented, funny and beautiful, but my crippling self doubt had always won the internal battle for my soul. For the last 20 years I bullied myself mercilessly until I gave up and I let down the little girl who secretly took her own headshots, because she wanted to be in Byker Grove. 

So, thanks to the support of my amazing bf and family, I’ve got two months till my money runs out. That’s plenty of time to convince the country that I am the voice of my generation, get on some panel shows and make some serious coin. 
How hard can it be? I mean, everyone is stoked about funny women in this post lady Ghostbusters era. Right? 

Insomnia 

Most people who have insomnia struggle at bedtime because it’s when they start to have dark feelings. They have been too 
busy to dwell on shit during the day, so it’s at night when their chickens come home to roost. Guilt, remorse, regret, all unbidden, bubbles up to remind you that you are a subpar human being. 

Don’t get me wrong, I have not been immune to spiralling into a pit o’ pity about my past life choices, from ‘borrowing’ liberal amounts of my sister’s much loved CKOne, to saying fuck in front of my very prim and proper Mother, and everything in between. Mostly I wish I was as nice as I would like to be. I wish I hadn’t bullied lispy Michelle for having a lisp by making her say her own name, even though it was ironic that her parents had given her a name that she would never be able to say, because of her lisp.

So, anyway. Yes, I do wallow and judge myself harshly and self analyse but, unlike you lot, I do it all through the day instead. All day, every day. At night, that’s when I come to life. When I’m alone with my thoughts, truly alone, no screens or people or books or sleep aiding podcasts, I reach the conclusion that I am actually a bloody brilliant human being. 

I don’t know if the lack of sleep makes me delirious after a point or if I just need to be away from the call centre for more than six hours before my brain is back in full working order. What I do know is, I am never as optimistic, confident or dynamic as I am at 12 in the morning. Ambitious plans to become the next Jo Brand (who also has a fashion blog, a reoccurring role on Home and Away and a four album recording contract) seem like a piece of piss to bedtime Beki, she’s just great. I wish I could sleep better so that a bit of her can rub off on daytime Beki, she’s just knackered.

I’m going to start to Blog at Bedtime from now on. How can I possibly sleep when I have so much going for me? The world is my oyster. (And I have a cat on me)