I had a little moment this week. I was scrolling through Facebook, as you do, and I saw a picture of a friend of mind stepping into a pair of ‘Breaking Bad’ style overalls for the themed cocktail bar over in Media City.
And the first thing that went through my head was not ‘ohh hope she has a good time’, or ‘wonder what those cocktails are like’, or even ‘hmmm, are we not past that yet?’.
No, it was – I’d never fit in those. I can’t go. I’m too fat.
That made me sad. Pissed off and sad.
Then I saw this blog post after the London Marathon, where a plus sized woman, who took ten hours to run a marathon (you fucking go girl, my slowest was nearly six hours and my legs were broken after that amount of time on my feet), was jeered at because of her size, and because she was still running.
Mate, you try it.
All of this brought back memories of all the other things I’ve denied myself, or told myself I can’t do because of my size. I can’t go on the rollercoaster, because my arse won’t fit. On planes I will squeeze myself into the seat to make sure I can wear the seatbelt, rather than ask for the extender. I’ve crammed myself into the side of the bus when sharing a seat, so I don’t take up too much space, I’ve avoided events that might involve someone judging my appearance, and I fucking hate being asked to do cocktail classes because my arms wobble ridiculously (actually due to weight loss).
Because heaven fucking forbid I should be comfortable.
I mean, I actually can’t sit on some bar stools (Piccolinos in Manchester, Albatross & Arnold, Roc & Rye, because I don’t fit – my arse/thighs are genuinely too big. And yet I’m and ‘acceptable’ fatty. What’s known as a ‘small fat’ as I wear sizes that generally you can buy in high street stores.
And this got me thinking. I’m not alone in this am I? I’m not the only one. So I posed the question on Facebook and on Instagram. And the response was overwhelming. Here are some of the things that fat men and women don’t think they can do:
Showing off their arms
Wear crop tops
Wear swimming costumes/shorts/bikinis
Wear flowing trousers/cullottes
Physical activity: jogging, skating, running, swimming, physical events (Spartan/obstacle races etc)
Take their kids to the pool
Ordering what they want to eat in public
Go shopping for clothes
Go to the doctor (this had a huge response, just about everything is blamed on weight, when it’s just not bloody true – and the science backs that up)
Sex (another big response, face sitting, going on top, showing your wobbly bits, being sexy at all etc etc)
Flying (seatbelt issues, fitting in the seats)
Take up space on trains/buses
Get a spray tan
Wearing fitness gear (including singlets).
Have their photograph taken (double chins, full length, from the side were all highlighted as issues).
The list goes on. I don’t know whether to be mad or sad, or…. what. All these people have a right to exist, a right to do stuff and a right to have fun, enjoy fitness, eat (!), spend time with their kids, wear what the fuck they want.
But they feel like the can’t. They feel like society is judging them for doing what they’re doing. You know, just being them, like all people.
I haven’t decided what I’m doing with this. I haven’t yet figured out where I’m going with this anger and frustration, but knowing me, I’ll find a channel for it, a project, an idea. Because I don’t think that these people are alone either.
I think there are more of us who feel like this.
And it’s about time we didn’t. We need to take up space.