I am fat. Hugely so. This is a fairy recent development due to some health issues and over the past two years the lard has piled on to such an extent that I don’t even recognise myself when I catch a glimpse of myself in a shop window or a mirror.
I am working on not being fat anymore, but due to a combination of prescription drugs that have weight gain as a side effect and my choice of non prescription drug to deal with the pain and blot out the misery being food, it’s taking a while. Food is my drug of choice at times to cope with the misery of my illness. To be honest, I’d rather like the weight loss effect of crack more, but I’ve still got to do the school run: a slice of cake is far more socially acceptable in the playground than a crack pipe.
This isn’t a fat shaming article at all. This is about my experience of being a fat person and the way I stick out like a sore thumb while exuding a presence of unbearable un-comfortableness in my own skin.
At a family wedding recently, a long lost cousin of my husband was asking my father in law which one of the many women in the room I was. To my horror, I heard my father in law say “she’s the…bubbly girl, over there”. The word bubbly hit me like a train because I knew what he meant by bubbly: “she’s the fat one, over there”.
I am not a bubbly glass of Prosecco, nor am I a bubble filled, Cadbury’s Aero (although, at the moment, I would guess I am about 50% both). I am a fat person and a vile misery of a fat person at that. I was a miserable cow when I was thin and still am now I am fat; the 8 extra stone I am carrying does not include the weight of a new, sunnier personality. My resting face is still one of utter blankness crossed with despair but now that I am fat, I am seen as happy. Or bubbly.
Of course, it doesn’t help that I write and edit comedy scripts for a living. When I meet new people and tell them what I do, I can almost feel the ‘jolly fat person’ neon sign flashing above my head. We all know that fat people are always funny! Except when they are not. From the days of Oliver Hardy right up to Dawn French and now Rebel Wilson, fat people are seen as jolly. Thing is, I was much funnier when I was thin. Before I got ill I was happier in my own skin, more confident and therefore funnier. These days, I tend to spend more time walking around fantasising about bludgeoning people with a cricket bat than I do writing comedy.
The thing that makes me especially angry now that I am a fat person is clothing. Why is it that plus sized clothing is so fussy and covered in sequins? Surly swathes of fabric and cheap, shiny tat draw attention to your excess size, not disguise it? As I have got bigger, I have reluctantly had to change my wardrobe and I am now the proud owner of no less than ten pairs of leggings, which I live in constantly. Yes, leggings. I wear leggings. Funny how I wouldn’t wear leggings when I was a size ten as I thought they weren’t a good look and would make me look like I’d just walked off the stage of the Jeremy Kyle show, yet at a size 22, I have given into the comfort and ignore the way my arse looks as I am constantly dragging down the hem of tent sized t shirts in an attempt to cover it up.
Going from a size ten to a size 22 in just under two years messes with your head. You walk into a clothes shop and still think you can buy anything. Seeing an item of clothing you like and having to reach to the back of the rail to the largest size the shop stocks is soul destroying. So soul destroying that in fact, that when I was invited to a function that I couldn’t get out of and which required me to look smart, I went to a plus size clothes shop in desperation of buying something, anything that fit me.
Walking into that shop was like walking into a giant glitter ball. I have never seen so many sequins and t-shirts with slogans outside of Majorca. Witty slogans such as “kiss me quick” or “big, bold and proud!” spelled out in bright pink sequins glared at me from the clothes rails. It seems that even fat cloths are fun!
With my function that evening I was desperate and I bought the first least-offensive dress I could find without trying it on or looking in the mirror. Someone who clearly hates me posted the photos of the function on Facebook the next day. I looked like a sack of potatoes rolled in glitter, while the lashings of red lipstick and foundation I’d slapped onto my face in an attempt to distract from my body left me looking like a more bedraggled Ronald McDonald – and one who’d eaten all the cheeseburgers at that.
That evening due to feeling so uncomfortable I was in a foul mood so thankfully, no one described me as bubbly – every cloud has a sliver lining.