Awkward things.

On Being Fat and Happy

on July 16, 2013

Today I realised something awesome. I can finally look in the mirror and not hate what I see. I don’t see a whale or an ogre or a monster, or anything unlikely to be standing in my bedroom gawping at their reflection. I see myself and I am happy. For a long time I wasn’t happy with the way that I looked. I’d been a normal-sized child, (whatever normal is) up until around the time when I was seven. Then my nan died and I started to comfort eat. You’ve heard this story before, a million times I’m sure, so I won’t bore you with the details, except to say that food was my friend, my friend that I ate. When I ate, I was happy and when I gained weight I was sad, so I ate, blah, blah, blah. You see where this goes.

By the time I’d made it to high school I was huge, and kids being kids, they thought that I was too dumb to notice so they pointed it out. My real name is Natalie and my theme tune, (thanks go to whoever it was that created such a work of art,) was ‘Natalie the fatalie, the big fat Natalie.’ Beautiful. So I carried on eating the only friends I had, and I carried on being reminded that I didn’t fit in, that I was ugly and that no-one would ever want me. I was miserable.

Logic dictates that if you are not happy with something you should fix it, so I did. When I realised that I wasn’t going to wake up with Christina Aguilera’s body, I stopped eating. Being a teenager, I knew that I was indestructible. I didn’t need food, I wanted it, but I wanted skinny more. I reduced my daily intake to 500 kcals and, of course, the pounds fell off. I started getting complimented. ‘You look sooo good!’ meant ‘Wow! Before you were gross, but now you’re actually worth talking to.’So I carried on until I’d lost almost half of my body weight, then I waited to be happy.

It turns out thin doesn’t equal happy. Happy equals happy, which I might have understood earlier had I paid as much attention to my education as I did to the attitudes of my peers. So when I reached my goal and I didn’t feel any better, I decided that maybe I hadn’t lost enough of myself. Unfortunately, once I’d reached my goal, I’d let myself eat, and having let myself taste my old addiction, I was hooked once more. But it was ok, I knew what to do. Instead of starving, I could eat, I would eat, and then I’d get rid of it by purging.

Now I know that you people are not stupid, and I know that I was. This is not only terribly unhealthy, (think gross skin, bad breath and rotten teeth,) but also It Does. Not. Work. I put on weight. A lot of weight. In my quest to get people to like me, to get boys to see me as someone worthy of their affection, to get me to like myself, I had turned myself into a science experiment gone wrong. So I stopped, and I ate and I ate less and I reached a balance. I eventually got to a weight that’s not skinny, but it’s mine.

I realised then that happiness comes from within. At my thinnest I was more miserable than I’d ever been being fat. I was also more unhealthy. When I wasn’t starving my brain out of my body, I had the capacity to be clever, funny and even likeable. It wasn’t the fat that was getting in the way; it was my fear of letting people near my fat. I didn’t want them to see what they saw already, not knowing that not everyone was as judgemental as me.

If you’ve ever watched TV, read a magazine or even walked past a billboard, you will see that everybody has the same problem that I had. Not everyone’s fat, but everyone seems to hate their looks as much as I did. Whether it’s starving yourself for summer, working out until your arms fall off or turning a neon shade of orange, everyone has a problem with their body image. That makes me sad. We are all so self-involved that we barely look at other people, and yet, we’re working on ourselves to impress the people who aren’t even looking at us. No-one cares about your weight as much as you do. Sure, they may look, they may point, they may make snarky remarks, but do you know what’s going on in their minds? They’re judging you to take a moment from judging themselves.

As with most things, the media can take a big slice of blame pie on this one. They Photoshop already unattainable bodies to oblivion and probe us to get bikini ready. They push clothes racks down the runway and cast the fat girl as the funny one. Sex scenes are between perfect people only and as far as boobs are concerned, go big or go home. But there’s been a change lately. Women are taking TV by the horns and pointing the camera at our jiggly bits. Lena Dunham has thrown off her clothes and promised to show her thighs every day until she dies.

I want to be happy, of course, everybody does unless they’re masochistic or insane. I also want to be a role model. I want to show that you can be fat and happy and pretty and smart and likeable. Skinny does not equal anything more than skinny, and fat is just a word. You can be whatever you want to be, regardless of your size, looks, colour, age, gender or sexuality. You are a person, just like me, and you can look in the mirror and not see a monster, but a beautiful human being, worthy of love and life and all the awesomeness that you can throw at it. So take a look and like it, because happiness is much cooler than misery.


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2 responses to “On Being Fat and Happy

  1. anthonyburt1 says:

    Beautiful, fantastic blog. It seems like you went through a lot, but have come out a very wise – and incredibly funny, intriguing and happy – person. I’m glad you like what you see, you really should. You. Are. Stunning. And, I can tell you now for 100% sure, girls who are skinny rakes are dull. In personality and in looks (apologies to any thin girls that read this, by the way, but…you know…go eat a roast dinner or five).

    Curves are what men (and women) want.

    So, as that get-girls-naked knobhead Gok Wan says, Be Happy in the Skin You’re In. (apologies if you like Gok Wan, but if you met him in real life…which I have…there’s a likelihood you wouldn’t. I liked him until I met him…shame really).

    (As an aside, so sorry I havent replied to your message, like, an age ago but been trying to sort my life out and so many things have been happening. Will write a proper letter again soon ok).

    So, without wishing to Labour my point, I enjoyed this blog immensely and – without your previous traumatic learning experiences about food and other stuff – you probably wouldn’t be such an amazing writer. But you are. And this is a good thing that the world is very thankful about. 🙂 xxx

    • Awww, thank you!
      That makes me super sad about Gok Wan, I do like what I’ve seen of him; you’ll have to let me know what he did! I’m intrigued!
      Haha. I was being all wonderful and patient, no worries. I knew that your life was a bit up in the air, so I wasn’t gonna bother you.
      But I cannot wait to find out what’s been happening!
      Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU Mr Burt!

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