TITLE author Laura shares her very personal thoughts about being plus sized in a society that defines itself first and foremost through outward appearances. You can call it superficial but for people who suffer because of not fitting into commercial beauty ideals, it goes deeper than just scars on the surface. Read through her thoughts, do this in anger, uncertainty or peace and let her positive, confident nature infect you…
When society tells you your body is not ideal,
That it is too short, too big, too unconventional,
Do not hear this as a challenge!
As in my case I had to listen to “too big” too many times,
I had to listen to fat jokes, BMI lectures, diet plans and pills,
I could go on and on and on.
And when those words “too big” echo in your belly,
Swell in your stretch marks, come spilling over your waistline,
Squeeze your eyes shut!
Count down from ten, beg for silence.
Don’t let society break you! Do not concede!
Ignore voices that sing sweetly of shaving, and waxing, and straightening,
and concealing, and shrinking – I know what you’re thinking:
Body – heavy, body – hideous,
You cannot be loved.
But in too many cases fetishized:
And that always begins with a kind of stare that I can feel,
As though the sun itself is trying to burn my body…
Then they attempt to catch my elusive eye,
Followed by the questions of my availability.
I radiate disinterest so hard,
But eventually they lean in and the whisper comes:
Uh… but uhh… I like big women…
As if that would be a password to a speakeasy,
And I should open up
And probably be thankful that a guy like him could possibly like someone like me?!
The “too big” me!
Did he say he likes big women?
And yet, has not been thrown a parade?
Dear ladies and gentlemen, this guy that I just met at a bar likes big women!
I should probably marry him.
He likes big women and this is more important than my comforts.
Tell me, what are the odds?
That I meet this guy who likes big women?
The stars must be aligning in my favour!
Three cheers for the knight who wants the castle despite its princess.
He really did say he likes big women.
However, this isn’t the subtlest way to say:
Take who will have you, because who else will possibly want you like that?
Sometimes it hurts to exist like that.
And oftentimes the world replies:
Well, stop existing like this!
And even if you somehow manage to love your fat body,
The world says: stop glorifying obesity!
Because it’s unhealthy to be obese.
Do you think we don’t know that?
Do you think even for a moment it escapes our mind?
That we try and deny our overwhelming design?
We are aware of the risks and the pain,
You don’t have to explain that we’ll die faster, that we’re walking disasters.
What are you after?
You stand there, containing laughter,
Like you’re some godly headmaster of medical science.
Your concern is nice,
But here’s the price of your advice:
New prescription: fat shaming.
To be taken daily with a glass of water and a smile of glee.
No limit, but one side effect:
More memories of you thinking I’m worthless.
If I was just thin enough,
Maybe people would hurt me less.
Who says that because I’m fat, I’m worthless and lazy?
And that I do not deserve a man that is way out of my league?
That these are reserved for the beautiful,
You know the ones who are tall and skinny,
With collar bones that stick out from their chest,
And a thigh gap for the whole world to see.
But listen, this attitude is incredibly dangerous,
Because of the impact it has on people mentally.
It creates insecurities and destroys your self-esteem.
When the world focuses on body size –
You start to look at yourself differently.
You’re more conscious when you walk down the street,
Feeling guilty, start watching what you eat,
Excessively counting calories.
And your thoughts keep you up from your sleep,
You no longer think clearly.
It’s everywhere you go: the shopping centre, the media, the library,
People shame you, blame you.
Such hate when they speak, and you hear it so often,
That you start to believe…
That you’re too big.
I know that this fat body is the first thing you notice,
But the shame won’t define me!
Whenever there is a person telling you,
That your body is not the ideal,
That it is too big, too tall, too thin, too dark:
Hear this as too strong, too boisterous, too powerful!
Your body may not be that person’s ideal type of body,
But pathetic has never been your ideal type of personality!
Photo: Laura Grübler