Summer Sadness

summer hidingFrom today’s Guardian:

“Summer. The time of year for barbecues, music festivals, denim hotpants, side-boob, and salt-spritzed hair. All hazy good fun and young flesh on display; magazines yelling for us civilians to get ready for “bikini season”; and everyone doing their best to look like those women gracing magazine covers.

Excuse me if I sound bitter, it’s just because I am – I hate it. Summer can be the most difficult three months of the year if you’re like me. Let me explain a bit about my situation, which isn’t a unique one. I’m fat. My gig isn’t that bad, really, and I’m not part of a group generally considered worthy of vitriol, like, for example, paedophiles. I’m just big. Your run-of-the-mill, rotund, red-faced, glistening, uncomfortably chubby chick.

Summer is tough for people like me…open season on those of us who take up a bit more space in this world. Recently a woman sitting with two men, focused her glazed eyes on me and two mates who were out for our lunch break, and slurred that her friend had just started working at a pie shop.

I thought: “Please don’t say it, lady. Not in front of my friends who are kind enough to pretend they don’t see the extra seven stone of me that shouldn’t be there.”

But she said: “YOU look like you like pies, big ‘un.”

My friends gasped and looked at me with a bit of pity, there’s about three beats where they whispered outrage as we walked away, and I mumbled: “Yeah, don’t worry – that happens sometimes …”

Another day, I was walking down the high street in my village, and two children were heading towards me – two little blonde middle-class kids. How sweet, I think. As we passed each other, the little girl remarked to her brother, looking forward passively: “Gosh, she’s big, isn’t she?”

Ouch. A right hook to the (considerable) gut. But she had a point; there’s no room for denial here. I mean, there’s barely any extra room for her on the pavement to get past me.

One more example: it was the hottest day of 2014 so far and my brother and I – who’s also big – were on our way home. It was a nice day, apart from the swollen joints, salty sweat-lined pudgy faces and damp T-shirts, and we were nearly home free. A black jeep slowed down, and a disembodied voice said “porky” before driving away. Just a wry kind of “porky”, like: “Look, you guys, we both know I have to say it. I’m just going to put it out there, and then go on my way.”

.. I’m self-aware enough to know that being this big isn’t good for me, that barbs from strangers on the street are mixed with truths. Because all they were doing, all any of the people who shouted from vans, or whispered to me on public transport, or stopped on the street to say something, was pointing out my choice. Perhaps making sure I know for sure that it’s the wrong one. But it’s unnecessary, I know. When I can’t buy clothes on the high street, I know. When my thighs rub together as I walk, I know. I’m fat. And maybe that’s wrong, and looks disgusting compared with everyone else out in the sun, but what should I do during the summer?

Look at it this way: maybe you’re not fat, but you are ugly. Or you’re old, or you’re stupid, you’re losing your hair, or you don’t look good in a Hawaiian shirt. You don’t fit into summer either, not really. So how about you regular-sized people give us big ‘uns a break when you see us struggling to look like we’re totally comfortable with all this for the next three months. We promise we’ll go back to covering up when autumn hits”.

Why I hate being skinny (from the Experience Project)

“I’m a 20 year old male about 5,9 don’t know what my weight is never check because I’m always ashamed I am super thin and it’s coming up summer for me the worst time of year, the only time I ever wear a t-shirt is in front of my closest friends and family but I still feel so uncomfortable they don’t mention it but I know they are thinking it and even when people say your so lucky your naturally thin and I would swap body’s with you, it’s just a lie :( I never mention how I feel to anyone and I always put on an act that I’m positive and happy but every night I look at my self and get upset I haven’t had a relationship for year because I have no confidence and my weight makes me look ill so why would anyone be attracted to me. Planning on moving somewhere, where it’s called all year round so I can layer up and feel a bit better!”

“Real women have curves!” they say. Well, as someone who really wants to be feminine, their comments really hurt my feelings. I’d KILL to have a curvier figure. It just isn’t in my genetics. I don’t think I could gain wait if I tried. My metabolism is really fast and always has been. I exercise and eat well because I want to take care of myself. I feel like a guy will never find me attractive because I don’t have big boobs and a big butt.”

“I hate myself…I lie about my weight all the time. I am so embarrassed of it. People always ask me how much I weigh. I don’t understand why they think they have the right to ask me that. You never hear someone asking a overweight person how much they weigh. People always make comments about how skinny I am and how they wish they could look like me. If they could see how much I have gone through because of how skinny I am then they will understand why I have such low self esteem. I hate the way I look. Sometimes when I look in the mirror I burst into tears. My whole family is always making fun of me for being skinny. They always say I need to eat more. Even my friends tell me things and they know how low my self-esteem is. I wish I had curves, boobs and a butt. Plus to add on to my problems I have scoliosis so I stand crooked and one of my hips go out more than the other. I hate wearing bathing suits because of my scoliosis and because you can see my bony body. I hate going shopping because nothing ever fits me…Some days I have told myself “if someone says something to me today I will give up”. I have thought about cutting myself but no matter how much I hate myself I can’t bring myself to do that. I am so jealous of all my friends because they have curves and look good in all kinds of clothes and I am over here hiding my body with big jackets and sweaters. I envy normal sized girls. I want to gain weight so badly but I can’t. I would do anything to gain at least 5 pounds. That is all I have wanted for as long as I can remember. I don’t know how long I can take this feeling of not being good enough.”

4 thoughts on “Summer Sadness

  1. I so wish there was a way we could banish all the terrible body image so many of us have – myself included :( How can we prevent it being passed on to the next generation? Such big questions…and I have no answers….sigh.

    However, I wish I could be more like the author of this article I was reading only yesterday, which as it ties in with your post a little, I’ll post the link to, if I may:

  2. The first excerpt you included from The Guardian really struck a chord with me. The nasty remarks she references that people make toward her are heart breaking. She states that she is making a choice, perhaps the wrong one, and that is maybe why some people feel at liberty to be so rude and insensitive. Though I of course do not know her specific issues and why she chooses obesity, I do know that some studies have shown that a very large number of morbidly obese people were victims of childhood sexual abuse and have never addressed the issue. The weight gain began as a response to that trauma as an attempt to protect one’s self from further sexual harm. It makes one think about so many of the self-destructive or self-defeating behaviors we all sometimes have. If we were able to see each other and our own bizarre choices in the light of broken and damaged people trying to hold the world together in our own strength, we may be more able to show compassion rather than contempt.

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