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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.