Big, Fat Truth: Volume Seven


Did I forget something?

It’s been a month since New Years, and I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m missing something. The oven is off, I don’t iron and I’ve locked the front door. I’ve got my keys, my phone and my purse in my pockets and I’ve fed the cat. What is giving me that, Mrs Mcallister realising she left her son in the attic to die, feeling? (I watched Home Alone four times at Christmas, give me a break). 

Then, when I was catching up with a gal pal and the conversation inevitably turned to weight (we are women, obvs) I realised why I feel so odd. This is the first New Years, since I was 15 that I haven’t been starting a new diet. 

I did not wake up on the first thinking about how great I will be at everything once I’m skinny. I didn’t pretend that as soon as I am a size 6 again, in just three months, if my calculations and the promises made by the diet app are true, I will have energy, I won’t be sad and tired all the time and I’ll be able to have fun and relax again and, maybe, actually leave the house for nice reasons instead of just work. 
I’ll will never be that person again. I’m not going to set myself up for failure and then berate myself for not being good enough at changing my whole personality. I will not buy fresh produce and leave it rot in my fridge while I eat out anyway. I will not download any bullshit apps or drink diarrhoea inducing tea. 

I have spent the latter half of 2016 trying to rediscover and nurture my authentic, true, happy self. I do not want to derail that by spending two toxic months beating myself up because I’m not outdoorsy or vegan or thin! Weight, or anything to do with appearance, should never be listed as a character flaw. I shan’t be buying into this bullshit again, what I will be buying is doughnuts. 

Big, Fat Truth: Volume Six

Outfit of the Day

I am pretty self conscious, cynical and self policing. I think six steps ahead at all times, reaching a point that PROVES I would have been a fucking twat to do, whatever I really wanted to do.

It’s hard being in my brain. It took me until I was 26 to admit I wanted to be a writer, I am 31 now and I have only just started putting myself out there. I want to tell everyone everything about fashion and comedy and telly and films and I feel like I am finally able to whop out some of the millions of ideas and thoughts that are, so often, wasted talking (thinking?) to myself like shit. I’m doing this and my stand up and making great strides at my job. I am more confident, inside and out, with every new day. Why then, am I terrified of actually showing of my styling skills? Why, when the amazing women I follow on social media and blogs, whose selfies make me smile and put a spring in my step each morning, do I feel like a numpty (sorry Non British readers, douche bag to you guys), whenever I attempt, then immediately abort, any and all ootd pics? 

Reason One: I am too cool. JK! I want people to think I’m cool at all times. Chill, not bothered, aloof, mysterious. To be these things you must shit on everything, especially things you love desperately, never try and, absolutely no earnest behaviour! Being interested and/or caring about things, trying you best and pursuing your dreams, these things are for losers and swots. Or worse, loser-swot hybrids, who happily work hard at school and relax by kicking back and playing a table top game with a hundred sided dice and wizard hats and can look at themselves in the mirror and sleep at night because they are living their God damned truth! 

This, completely toxic and false, word view is one I lived by throughout my childhood and way too long into my adult life. It always conflicted with my true urges to please my teachers and do well, to be bold and show everybody I was bloody brilliant, to dress up and show off and to embrace my talents. This is also why I left school with pretty much no academic qualifications, turned down opportunities to audition for actual tv shows (Casualty and some BBC Wales stuff, what a twat!) and wasted my time on dick boyfriends who hated me (until I sacked them off, then I was a goddess they couldn’t possibly live without. Strange). Posting awkward mirror selfies is definitely trying, earnestly trying.

Reason Two: I think I’m not good enough. I’m just going to be some creepy selfie wanker and people will know I’m not proper. They will think, I think, I’m awesome and they will think I love myself, when I absolutely do not have the right to. 

Reason Three: I really am awfully shy. I feel all sorts of sick thinking about being noticed. That’s it, just noticed. Even though I am desperate to be Instagram famous and be pals with Amy Schumer, and go on talk shows and tell my most intimate secrets to Ellen, I could also, happily, only ever leave my house if it was on fire. I am complex and interesting, right? 

Reason Four: I just screaming into the abyss. Does the word really need to see more fat girls taking shaky photos of themselves in dingy spare rooms? (Not throwing shade here, my spare room is just dingy af). 

The answer is, fuck yes! My world changed forever when I saw a documentary called Plus Sized Wars. It featured loads of kick ass bloggers and it introduced me to the idea, which honestly had never crossed my mind, that you can buy nice clothes and makeup and look pretty AS YOU ARE! I didn’t have to wait till I lost five stone to buy garments that weren’t flares and hoodies, I didn’t need to keep my ‘good’ clothes in my wardrobe for when I was thin again and I didn’t need to subscribe to the bullshit convention that was dieting anymore. Look at these queens! I followed them all, and many more, on Instagram, and I felt like I was seeing straight for the first time in ages, actually, since I skipped my first meal when I was 14 because I was a massive size 10! (I also deleted all the thinspo accounts I secretly still followed and gave Ted style lectures, to anyone who would listen, about how you think clothes look bad on fat bodies because the fashion industry doesn’t let us see them). 

So, what I have taken entirely to long to say is, little girls and big woman alike need to see more people who look like them. They deserve to feel like they are proper and that they are entitled to the space they take up. If one person sees my jolly, round face on the Internet and is motivated to give zero fucks, my momentary mortification would have been worth it. 

Big, Fat Truth: Volume Five

Identity Crisis

I need to get a new wardrobe for my new job, it has to be fashion forward and from my store. I spent the whole day last Saturday, watching customers try on super cute outfits and wearing clothing and being creative with combinations of items I would never have thought of myself. One girl in particular caught my eye. She was very cool. Her mix of floaty, floral palazzos, a vintage band tee and denim shirt, finished off with classic, black Birkenstocks, blew my mind! 

I subsequently spent the rest of my shift shopping for similar articles so I could recreate this girls killer look. Btw, not in a creepy, Single White Female way, but kinda how people try to look like Kardashians. 

Anyway, I find the perfect garments and head home excitedly. I, literally, cannot wait to see how cute I look! I was so disappointed. 

I had bought all the same things as her but I did not feel like a hip, chill, bohemian chick, I felt like a frumpy soccer mom. I couldn’t pull it off because it wasn’t me, individually, each element was lovely but I didn’t see myself in the mirror (figuratively, obvs). I didn’t want to prance around my boyf or What’s App my mate to show it off. It did not pass the take away test. 

This week I bought several pieces that actually reflect my personal taste. I didn’t think, would Beyoncé wear this? Well, no more than usual. I picked things I wanted because I thought they would be fierce on me, not because I got my head turned by someone else. The mystery girl was rocking her look because it was hers and God damn it, I will do the same with mine. 

Ps. The pic is of one of the black dresses I bought instead. If chubby, urban/grunge/goth fusion is working for me then I’m going to go with it. 

Big, Fat Truth: Volume Four


Keep your pecker up, no matter what! 

I have recently gotten a fantastic part-time job in a plus size store in my local town. I am having a blast! I’ve always gone back to fashion retail because I’m bloody good at it and I really love shopping and I want you to love it too! 

The best thing about my store is that it isn’t afraid to be fashion forward and we have been able to create a safe and supportive environment. An environment where women can feel comfortable and confident to experiment with different shapes and colours and trends. An environment where they can buy lingerie that is actually pretty or sexy, not two potato sacks in black, white or beige. It’s truly nirvana for fat chicks. 

[Side bar: My two cents on the whole ‘plus size’ debate, is that we will never find a term that everyone is going to be happy with but, when I was a kid, Evans was called outsize. Outsize! Plus is better than Out in my book. However, I do hope that one day all brands will run into bigger sizes and we wouldn’t need to be sectioned off at all.]

The only trouble in paradise is the not fat friend. I have seen girls, who were having a ball in the fitting room, literally deflate when they overhear someone’s skinny mate or daughter making cruel remarks. A slim chick will hold up size 30 harem pants and say, ‘just murder me if I ever get this big’, or give someone picking up a crop top the side eye, and, at least twice a day, a twelve year old will bring the house down by showing how the bras are bigger than their head, hilarious. 

Only it’s not funny. The sad fact is, I can spend 30 minutes helping a woman shop and telling her how beautiful she looks and to fuck everyone who thinks differently, but it only takes five seconds of scorn to undo all that good work. Who do they think they are? Where is their compassion and sensitivity? Why is it ok for people to feel superior by cutting down others? And, most importantly, what should I do to stop them? 

Big, Fat Truth: Volume Three 


Lounging like a pro. 

Oh leisure wear, you comfy son of a bitch. I want to wear you every day, I want to spend all my money on Ivy Park body suits and PINK slogan tees, and I want to walk around like a fierce, yet squishy, advert for the sporting life. I don’t though, and there are a couple of reasons why. 

Society judges my body type so much that it can be a mine field. If a skinny gal wanders around in trackies people will assume she is about to exercise or shoot a hip hop video. If I were to rock up in the same ensemble people would assume I’m off to McDonald’s or shoot and episode of Jeremy Kyle. 

Actually, if folks do think you are going to exercise that can be even worse. The amount of times strangers have approached me, unsolicited, to give me diet and fitness advice is astounding. I could not give two fucks that your auntie lost four stone on Atkins or that big girls shouldn’t lift or they may get bulky. I not even going to the gym, I just like the feeling of being swathed in velour when I lay around my house or nip to the shops. 

Prejudice and misinterpretation I can live with, I was a teen goth after all, but the second road block to me getting my sports lux on is that brands do not want my custom. I am barred entry to these labels because they do not want me to represent them. I have heard all the excuses for not going beyond a size 14 and they are bullshit. More expensive to make? Put it at a higher price point. Creating new, bigger blocks is time consuming? It’s a one off faff that would increase your customer base forever. They wouldn’t feel confident enough to wear that type of thing? Nope, not a thing. That is body shaming, pure and simple.

Just be honest, you only want sexy, lithe, young girls to knock about in your overpriced jersey creations. Say what you like about Abercrombie and Fitch, but at least they have the balls to admit that they are only concerned with their small (literally) customer base and their projection of exclusivity, perfection and physical elitism. 

So, I guess what I’m saying is, the market is there for bigger and better sporting apparel but we need the public to chill out about fat people wearing Lycra and we need companies to make shit in our size. Really in our size! Not the habit some retailers have of stitching a size 16 label onto a garment that would be a 12 in any other store and patting themselves on the back for it. Comfort for all, no excuses! 

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. 

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.