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 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 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.