Thursday, 1 August 2013

Fat pants

I have had terrible body issues since I was a teenager. There was nothing wrong with my body but I allowed other people to tell me that there was. I had boobs and hips and as a twelve year old that sort of messes with your head when everyone around you is still prepubescent. It also didn't help that I came from a family of waifs. My freakishly curvy figure stood out, making me feel awkward and uncomfortable. The 90s were a time of fad diets and extreme exercise. I went on one particular diet where I ate all fruit on day one, all veggies on day two and 8 bananas and 8 glasses of milk the third day. Needless to say, I still won't touch a banana. 

I'm an adult now and all those insecurities have grown right along with me. I got to a point where I felt reasonably comfortable in my skin, then I fell pregnant with Jude and stacked on a buttload of weight. Quite literally. I was pretty depressed about it. I bought fat pants, grew my hair to hide my double chin and felt dowdy and gross. 

One day while I was standing in front of the mirror tugging at an outfit in an attempt to make it stretch, Willow came in and watched me. She smiled up at me and said, "You're beautiful Mum. I love what you're wearing." I shrugged it off and in a moment I'll always regret I said, "It makes me look fat." I caught a glimpse of her in the mirror. She was still staring at me but now she was frowning. It was like in that one moment I had broken some magical illusion that her mum was perfect. For the next couple of weeks, every time I got dressed, Willow would come in and say, "Mum you're so skinny!" Well she has learnt the art of the white lie which is nice, but something bigger was going on and I was intensely ashamed of what I'd done.

I told my daughter in those words, that fat cannot be beautiful. That I am not beautiful because of some extra kilos. I neglected what she was really saying when she told me I was beautiful. She was telling me she loved me, that she thought I was a great person and a great mum; that she actually thought I looked beautiful, with no clause at the end. None of that, 'you have a pretty face' shit that adults tell you. Willow sees me in a way that I wish I could see myself. 

Since then I have have vowed never to use the word fat as an insult to myself. I am big, I buy plus size clothes, I have wobbly bits and saggy bits, I make freakin delicious cakes, I love pretty clothes and make-up, music festivals and paranormal romance novels. I am not a one dimensional character. I am complete and living and vibrant and what weight I am cannot define who I am. There is such a thing as being fat and happy and I am finding my way to that after too many years berating myself. My dream is for Willow to grow up with a mum who shows her how to be beautiful no matter what her size.

Eurovision dress up. Hot tip: alfoil gets sweaty really quick. Not ideal for costumes.