I’ve spent most of my life apologizing for my appearance, for taking up space, for simply existing as a fat person. I apologized by only wearing dark colors (half of my wardrobe was black), by only wearing oversized clothing. I avoided prints, lace, sequins — anything that may draw attention to me, or Gawd forbid, make me look larger. I was constantly trying to compact my appearance and compact my personality. I would very easily become too visible, and consequently, too much — too loud, too emotional, too tall, too fat, too much. I did everything I could to blend in. I didn’t want to be noticed, because if anyone actually saw me, they would see I was fat and nothing else.
Looking at photos of myself was like my worst nightmare. Right there in front of me was the evidence that I was fat staring me in the face. I hated to have my photo taken, so I spent most of my time behind the lens. And when Facebook first launched, I would untag almost every photo of myself because I looked fat, and I just couldn’t have people seeing my fat documented on the internet (as if they somehow didn’t know I was fat until they saw my photo on Facebook).
It had never occurred to me that fat isn’t synonymous with ugly or unhealthy, or that fat people even deserve to be treated with respect. I was so used to being shamed for my body, that I thought I deserved to be bullied, called names and generally treated badly. I was fat after all, and that was seemingly the worst thing a person could be.
I didn’t dance. I didn’t sing. I refused to eat in public. I never went clothes shopping. I didn’t do much of anything because I was so afraid of the repercussions of someone noticing me and my fat body and putting me in my place as worthless.
Even when I greatly restricted my calorie intact, I was still larger than all the other girls. Of course, I realize now that my family is full of curvaceous big Amazon women. My mom and sister barely have an ounce of fat on them, but they wear a size 12/14, their figures nip in severely at the waist, and they max out at 5’11”. No amount of weightloss can undo those genes.
I was outraged when I first read a fat positive blog: Who did this blogger think she was suggesting it was okay to be fat? TO BE BLATANTLY FAT? To be so brazenly unhealthy? Being fat is quite possibly the worst thing a woman can be. Fat is undesirable to men, so a fat woman is consequently worthless.
I had to take baby steps to accept — let alone love — myself and to really understand how messed up my values around body politics really were. Society has a vested interest in policing bodies, dictating how we adorn them and use them, as well as which bodies are valuable and consequently what people are worthwhile.
Every time I dye my hair Jessica Rabbit red, it is a radical act. Every time I holler “Take my picture” at a dance party photographer, it is a radical act. Every time I leave my house dripping in sequins or wearing a bra as a shirt, it is a radical act. And, yes, every time I dance around on stage and rip off my clothes to the crowd’s roars of approval, it is a radical act. Because I am a fat woman who making a conscious effort not to hide.
So, I’ve decided to share my journey into body positivity by documenting my outrageous outfits, glamorous performances, plus size vintage finds and DIY projects. And here are some of my favorite fabulous fashions, celebrating my appearance without apology.
Crossposted to Thought Catalog.
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