‘Why is your mum so fat?’
Out of the mouths of babes… I’d nipped into school to drop off PJ’s forgotten sun hat, and came across him and the rest of his class headed out to PE. Putting it on his head, I leaned down for a quick kiss and was given the cold shoulder. ‘He’s 6 years old,’ I thought, ‘Too big for mummy PDAs.’ It was heading back to the car that I heard those words.
‘Why is your mum so fat?’
Anyone who regularly spends time in the company of 6 year olds will know – they have no filter! Much like Roy Walker, a child of infant school age is hard wired to ‘Say What You See.’ From that perspective, PJ’s little friend was absolutely right, I am ‘so fat.’ It was an observation with no basis in malice, but not one I’ve been able to forget since.
At a time in his life when he is already struggling to cope with all of the things that make him ‘different’ to his peers, is my dress size yet another issue for PJ to fret about? It breaks my heart to think about it.
At this point in time, I am the biggest I’ve ever been. I know these posts of mine are pretty frank, but even I am not prepared to tell you how much I weigh at present. I’ll leave it to your imaginations to quantify exactly what ‘so fat’ is.
Having hovered around the size 16/18 mark the majority of my life, I’m no stranger to society’s attitude to the overweight. But we are now living in an age where people are being held to account for their prejudices. The gender pay gap will soon be a thing of the past, it’s an empowering time for the LGBT community, addiction is recognised as a disease, and I for one am delighted that my niece will grow up in a world where it is not ok for women to be groped. So what about Fat Shaming? When does that become unacceptable?
Looking for something a little more light hearted? Have a read of my 32 cheeky cornish patron saints you never knew existed… 😉
One look at the role models our children are presented with on a daily basis and it’s not so hard to see this is deeply ingrained. Sophie Dahl, a plus sized model from my youth has long since shrunk to miniscule proportions. Dawn French, Adele, Sam Smith, Jennifer Hudson… they all come from a long line of celebrities who’ve slimmed down since taking the spotlight. Whilst I applaud them for taking steps towards a healthier life, each time I see another ‘new and improved’ skinny celeb, I die a little bit inside. Apart from the lovely Tess Munster, where are all of the curvaceous body ambassadors? Where are the people we look to, who can demonstrate that there are far worse things to be in life than ‘so fat?’
Yes, we want to teach our kids how to eat sensibly and make healthy choices. We want them to grow up with un-furred arteries and internal organs devoid of visceral fat. But also, don’t we want them to grow up understanding that people (including mums) come in all shapes and sizes? That although desireable, a thigh gap really isn’t the be all and end all of life?
Is ‘So Fat’ The Worst Thing To Be?
I’m acutely aware that weight is an emotive subject to be blogging about. Defending the overweight is practically unthinkable, what with the exorbitant cost to the NHS each year of obesity related illness, and the government’s tireless campaign to get kids more active. I get it, being fat is far from ideal, but, to quote JK Rowling: ‘Is being fat the worst thing a person can be?’
I’ve given this a lot of thought lately, and always come up with a resounding ‘no,’ but I find myself in the minority with this opinion. So what is it that makes society hate fat people so much?
I believe it is because we have our weakness out there on display. An alcoholic can recycle their empties with the world at large being none the wiser – us fatties however, are doomed to display our transgressions on our bodies. Like a coat of shame, we wear each late night snack and every extra piece of cake. We are easy to judge and feel superior to, because there’s no hiding our lack of self control.
Why is your mum so fat?
I had an answer. I wanted to say:
‘PJ’s mum is so fat because she had cancer twice and came within a whisker of dying, was left with a body that doesn’t work too well and complex PTSD. She’s so fat because they medicated her for her crippling anxiety, with something hideous that ballooned her up 4 bastard stone.
She’s so fat because the cancer knackered her balance and her mobility, and plunged her into the menopause a decade early, meaning she’s finding it nearly impossible to shift the excess weight. She’s so fat because she was just getting back on her feet when some twat smashed into her car and crushed her knee against the dashboard.
PJ’s mum is a f*cking survivor, a tigress who never gave up fighting, and earned each and every one of her stripes. PJ’s mum is much more than just ‘so fat.’
Click HERE to read about Lymphoma and thE one where they told me I was going to die.
Of course I didn’t say it. I kept on walking, feeling that little bit worse about myself – not because of the innocent words of a 6 year old boy, but because of the society he lives in, whose values are reflected in what he says.
Don’t Be Too Quick To Judge
And life goes on.
As I decline invitations because I’m terrified people will think me greedy if they see me eat; or because I’ve read the latest tweet doing the rounds where disgruntled of Derby had her night at the cinema ruined by overspill from the fatso in the neighbouring chair. As I refuse to renew my passport, worrying I’d be castigated for needing an extender for the aeroplane seat belt, or, horror of horrors, required to buy an extra seat. As I contemplate having to start walking with a stick (the falling over shows no sign of improvement!) I know there will be many who judge me, who decide it is my weight that disables me and that I’ve brought it all on myself.
I would say to them, as I say to you. Don’t be too quick to judge. Everyone comes with a history. And for each person like me, who manages to shoehorn into every conversation the fact that medication has caused my recent weight gain, as if by absolving myself of responsibility I am somehow more validated, that my fatness is more acceptable; there are a million others who say nothing, and keep walking, feeling that little bit worse about themselves.
This post is dedicated to all of the luscious and liberated lard arses out there. Long may we be the ones people seek out for the best cuddles!