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Not So Invisible

Fat Mum Slim /

I’ve always believed that being thinner was the right way to be, a message ingrained in me from a younger age. Not from my parents, but from everyone around me. Kids at school told me I was too fat, too big, too tall, too solid. Even parents of my friends told me. I was just like Miss Piggy, one told me. Another told me I should I get rid of the spare wheel.

The world whispered to me, “Be smaller”.

I was 8. I was probably emotionally eating to deal with the turmoil of a childhood incident. I was different to all of my friends. I was fat.

The world kept whispering, “Be smaller”.

Everyone around me, from my siblings, to my mum, to my best mates; they were all smaller, shorter, more petite.

The world showed me, “Be smaller”.

I’ve spent my life trying to be smaller, or invisible as best I could. I’ve spent years apologising for existing. On a plane sitting next to businessmen who aren’t afraid to get their manspread on I would spend an hour trying to curl myself into the smallest space possible. I wanted to tell them I was sorry. Sorry for taking up space.

As I took my regular walks at the beach, I realised that I’d manouvre in and out of people to keep out of their way, rather than have someone move for me. I’d apologise when people bumped into me, or they walked at me as I tried to move away. I’d say sorry, when they should have been the ones to say sorry to me. I kept apologising for existing, for taking up more than my allocated space in the world. I was sorry for being me, for being… fat.

When I’d get a massage, or a manicure or pedicure, I’d want to apologise for my body. I was sorry they had to touch it. My oversized, not small or perfect body.

The world begged me, “Be smaller”.

It’s funny {not funny} how it all became my life, and who I was. I apologised without thinking, it was just my natural response. I consistently tried to take up as little space as possible, because it’s what I’d always done. When meeting new people, I’d make a little joke or reference to my size, just in case they thought that I wasn’t aware about the space I take up in the world. I wanted to show them I knew. I was fat. I mentally prepared myself with a handful of comebacks in case someone chose to throw a fat joke my way, because it happened. A lot.

As I’ve grown, especially over this past year, and found my place in the world a little more, I’ve tried to be less invisible and less apologetic for who I am. My body might be big, but it can do amazing things. Being at the gym regularly over the last few months, my body has shown me that it’s stronger and fitter than I could have imagined. It can run, lift, push and punch. I’ll never be petite or small, and definitely not invisible. But I’ll always be me. A healthier, happier version of the person I’ve always been.

Lately, I’ve been hearing the world whispering, “Be you”.

And I’m starting to listen.

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  • Lauren Roney

    Be amazing, be you!!!! Since having babies I’m bigger and feel this huge amount of pressure to shift the extra me … it’s soul crushing.. I’m going to keep reminding myself of your message! Xxxx

  • Skye

    It’s like you’ve crawled into my kind and heard every thought. Luckily, I too am getting more to a place of acceptance and love for myself and the space I rightfully take up in the world.

  • Angelica

    Thank you for this.
    I grew up with a depressive mother who had body issues. All I heard from her was: I hate myself! I’m too fat! I disgust myself! And that hurt a lot. She used to tell me you are fat, it’s a lot of work trying to find clothes for you, you should be skinny like your Cousins, and I have the same feeling: that I should apologize for being here, for taking up space, for being who I am, for being the size I am.
    And now it’s all I hear in my head, every day, every time I eat I feel guilty, and I’m sorry to say that I hate myself.
    I’m trying to love myself, to change those thoughts but it’s hard.

    • It’s so hard to change the inner dialogue because it’s what we’ve always done. I’ve found positive affirmations helped, as soon as I start to get that negative talk, I changed the channel and started saying something like, “I love myself unconditionally and accept myself as I am”.

      Big love to you. xx

  • I’m glad that voice is starting to change for you. You’re too amazing, too talented and generous not to be you. They were wrong before, being you is all anyone could ask of you. x

  • Mrs Macca

    I think we can all take something away from this read – I connected to what you were saying because I do the exact same thing. Thanks Chantelle – its not easy to say these things but in doing so it helps other people be honest with themselves. xo

    • I’ve actually had this post sitting in my drafts folder for about 6 months, and I decided to finish it and set it free. It feels so good.

  • Trinity

    So well written this is how I have felt my entire life. Why dose it matter?? My health is better that smaller people than me. My doctor is amazing he checks the vitals and says I am a healthy woman. Why does it matter to the rest of the world.

    Thanks for this amazing piece of writing!!!

    • It doesn’t matter, it only matters to you. Your body is amazing, and I’m glad you know it. xx

  • Totally get this

  • YES to this. SO much YES.

  • Jenni from Styling Curvy

    You are amazing…all of you. Your heart is a shining beacon for so many, you know this right? I really hope that stereotypes change soon, it’s started but we’re not there yet. Your words will help others to understand how it feels to be larger in a society that ‘values’ skinny and looks down on fat. They will also empower women living in a larger body. I’ve lived in a larger body for 23 years (half my life) but surprisingly felt it was larger for more than 35 years, because once those whispers, comparisons and sideways glances start the uneasiness and self doubt seeps in. Our bodies are glorious vehicles to take us through life, we are all different but all valueable and beautiful x

  • Kathy Stern

    Yes. One more reason in the basket. The basket that says “Wonderful Things I Like About Chantelle” It’s very full. At 60 yrs of age I’ve fully realized I will never be a small, thin, woman. I will be a happy one though!

  • Kace

    This spoke to me in so many ways, and it is pretty much how my life has been since I was young. I’ve never felt like I fully belong in life, in work, in groups, in public, in friendships… just in general. I still have the mean girl talking in my head, but slowly my mind is telling me that I’m worthy. I just need to keep working at it. Thankyou ??

    • Good luck making the ‘mean girl’ hush and sitting in your truth. You are enough. More than enough! x

  • Shirley McCoy

    This resonates entirely. Beautifully written. Being enough regardless.

  • Noelene

    Amazing words .I have turned a corner too and am listening to the messages my body is giving not society . Love your words .

  • Kayls

    Chantelle you are amazing . . . have spent my whole life apologising for not being smaller . . am now going to try “to be me”

  • Oh wow! What a powerful post Chantelle! Everyone needs to read this & understand how it “is” for those of us who’ve always hidden behind the body that is ours. Thank you for expressing it so well! Wow! Big congrats to you my friend! Denyse xx

  • We can spend our lives waiting for perfect. Beautiful message! Love your life – choose joy! Thank you Chantelle.

  • Sandi White

    ❤️❤️❤️

  • Vicki Vick

    So amazing. Powerful.

  • Barb N

    .. sad and inspirational post ……
    I was always skinny with a big bum ..
    I was called ‘coathanger’ by my friends…
    my 15 and 14 year old daughters had more boobs than me at the time …
    … well … I got my boobs enhanced and finally I was bigger than they were … I now had balancing bumps .. Boobs and Bum … I was so happy ….
    I am now 74 years old, 5 ft 1 inch high and weigh 77 kgs … sure I really should/could lose some weight… but…. I love feeling curvy and feminine….
    My body image story is different, and yet not so different, to what everyone is saying here…
    We are all unique and we all do things differently …
    …. be like Chantelle says….
    … Be Yourself …..
    .. be happy…. Barb xxxx

    • I love that you feel feminine and curvy. That sounds like perfection to me!

      • Barb N

        …thank you … 🙂 <3

  • This is me in every paragraph until the last couple! To remove the old stories that play in my head and believe the new one “Be you”, I find so difficult. I feel like I’m treading water. That I’m on the road to nowhere in so many areas of my life … Thank you for putting into words heartfelt thoughts.

  • Oh ‘Telle Sorry is my default response to everyone and everything! I am even sorry that I asked the question I did in the group! I need to start to listen to the “be you” the big problem is I don’t know who me is! Clearly there is a lot of this going on at the moment (I wrote this recently http://wp.me/p81s7g-1kS) xoxo

  • Joanna

    I loved this post. It really resonated with me, not only when it came to weight/body image, but also with how I chose my education path. Today I can say “be you” and it is such a nice feeling.
    Thanks Chantelle. 🙂

  • Duchess Twilson

    I can totally relate to what you’re saying. It’s a sad state of affairs that so many of us spend so much of our lives apologising for our very existence. My goodness, where in the world does it truly start that the value of a person is so fundamentally dependant on their ‘size’? You’ve put into words so many of my own thoughts over the years as I’ve desperately tried to fix my own ‘flaws’. I only hope my own children have a better understanding of their true value as wonderful human beings, no matter their size, shape or any other difference that sets them apart from the rest of the world. I, for one, love their uniqueness & would fight to the death for them to keep it if they so choose. The hard part is learning to fight to keep uniqueness for ourselves. Be who you are Miss Chantelle & I will too.

  • I think that’s you whispering now. Tune in to that voice.

  • Holly

    Thank you so much for sharing this Chantelle. You are amazing – and so am I. We just need to keep working on believing this so we can know it always 🙂

  • Jodie Mascurine

    This really connected with me. I apologise constantly, I make those same jokes at myself, and I’m afraid I am a long way off feeling like I happily belong. But this inspired me. Thank you for posting.

  • Linda

    This. ‘You are not a before’. Perfection. http://www.dinnerwasdelicious.com/peanut-butter-blossoms/

  • Cat Bensein

    Oh. Chantelle, it was breaking my heart as I read this but I was so pleased to see you came around by the end!

    Please continue to hear the world telling you to be you – there is no one better at being you than you. We need more people like you in the world. People with kind hearts and beautiful smiling faces ?

  • I’m so glad you are hearing “Be You”. You are a special lady who shines light in the world. x

  • This is fabulous Chantelle. I’ve spent years apologising for being me. For me it was my voice, having an opinion, having something to say. Every time I spoke, I felt like I was offending someone or crossing a line simply for having an idea. I felt like people didn’t want me to speak, I was supposed to just stand and smile and be blonde and ladylike.
    I’ve stopped apologising. I’m allowed to speak.

    • Susan Marzocchi Warbrick

      Yes you are allowed to speak and so you shall. Speak up and be heard Lauren, ladylike is not accepted anymore!

    • You totally are! And you should! ?

  • michelle barrington

    Powerful words Telle

  • Polly McDougall

    Chantelle, I’ve read this today and tears are streaming down my face. Thank you! For putting into words a feeling I’ve had for so long, and that I have more than ever right now if I tell the truth. It was really something very special to read this and know it’s just me and that it’s ok to love myself. I don’t right now, but perhaps in time I will.

  • I heard that whisper loud and clear and it’s one I really needed to hear. Thank you for being the voice of reason, for sharing your story and for being beautiful you.

  • This post is fabulous, just like you you gorgeous woman. The space you take up in this world is precious and don’t ever let the world tell you any different xxxx

  • Yep… 1000% YES

  • Thanks for having the courage to write this fantastic post, i’m sure there isn’t a woman out there who has not or is going through this. It’s something that I’ve battled with for a long time, & I think started way back in childhood when I was the chubby younger sibbling to a slim sister. I would say that I’m now 75% winning this battle now, but your post has been a strong reminder to keep working on it. We are all wonderful & beautiful in our own unique way & should never be invisable.

  • Definitely be you, accept you and be happy with who you are. I go through times when I’m not so happy with my body but I also know this is mostly something I could do something about, however for the most part I love who I am and what my body can do … especially now, since it gave birth to a child, what an amazing thing our bodies are.

    • Yes, giving birth changes the way you think about your body, I think. My body has done amazing things. Of course I can change it too, and make it stronger, healthier and my mind happier… but there’s not a destination/weight/size where this all magically happens and we arrive… it can happen right now. x

  • Mel Steward

    Just reading this made me realise how much I do this. I am constantly apologising and making comments about my weight so that people know that I know that I’m bigger than them. Even the part about moving on the beach out of other people’s way, it’s like I think because they are thinner, they have more rights than me to use the beach. It’s silly when I read it and rationally I know that I don’t need to do that. Hopefully this might encourage me to change. Thanks for a very insightful post

    • I think we’re just so used to do it… that we actually have to change the behaviour… and we didn’t even realise we did it until someone points it out. We’re funny creatures!

  • Rejeanne Rochon

    Be you…tiful! This is how life should be lived! Thank you for sharing.

  • Sandra Cirillo

    I can so relate…..years of apologising, wishing I was smaller, or the same as the other girls at school, being different wasn’t cool. Not anymore…..owning my beautiful curves and size and loving me….x

  • Belinda Docwra

    You my friend, are nothing short of amazing!!!!
    I hear this, LOUD & CLEAR.
    So much love to you lady xxxx

  • CaAtherine

    Awesome post?

  • I’m a little late to this post, but wow it hit a nerve. I often imagine being one of those people who never has such thoughts and wonder what it must be like.. but I think it also makes me who I am. This isn’t to say I’m not on a journey to grow also, but often it’s accepting who we are that makes us who we are. Does that even make any sense? Love ya guts xxxxx

  • Tralee Aylett

    Be-you-tiful msg

  • Brooke Taylor

    I don’t think any of this has anything to do with your weight. People are cruel for 1 (or 2) of 2 reasons… 1. They’ve got something going on for them they don’t want to deal with so its easier to take it out on someone else than actually stop, feel and deal with it – & make themselves feel better for a short moment OR 2. You’re reflecting something to them that has pushed their buttons / they don’t want to feel / they are jealous of / you are living something they don’t live None of that is about you, but about them. You’ve made it about your weight when it has nothing to do with you or your weight, at all – but about what’s going on for them.

    So yes, definitely be you, but know that 1. You are not your weight, it is not who you are and 2. The taunts and teasing is about them, not you… And likely the result of you being such a bright light, and not about your weight.

  • sleepydumpling

    Maybe it’s just time to be “Fat Mum”? It’s not an easy journey, I know. But it’s the right one to take, and the one that is best for both you and those watching you.

@Fatmumslim