Hi, I’m Fat!

I’m 5’2” and I weigh 13.8st. I do not carry my weight well, because I’m short, and my body shape is what fashion magazines refer to as a “pear” because I have a big arse, and my tits don’t quite balance me out in a way that’s deemed acceptable.

Thankfully I live in a society where people very kindly point out my fatness whenever they get a chance. It’s so thoughtful of them, because I would have no idea otherwise. I mean, I certainly never weigh myself, or buy my own clothes, or look at myself in a mirror, so strangers, friends, and family telling me I’m overweight is such a service.

I mean, what fat person is aware of their body? And if we do realise we’re overweight, we can’t possibly feel indifferent about it! After all, outer appearances are far and away the most important thing in a person. Right?

… That was sarcasm right there, folks.

You know, I don’t understand why anyone thinks my body is their business. I live here. This is mine. I own all this, and you know what? If you don’t like it, you can go any time. I don’t need any help with disliking myself, thanks.

Despite that, people seem obsessed by it. My body is treated like public property by complete strangers, who make nasty comments or shout in the street. Society sees me as a “before” photograph, and adverts try to appeal to me by highlighting what parts of my body are problems that they can help me hide. It never occurs to anyone that I might be perfectly content with my appearance.

Then you get the super fun people who try to hide their open revulsion behind the guise of concern for my health. I can say that I eat well and exercise, and they will either smile in that knowing way or bluntly call me a liar. People hide their thinly veiled disgust behind claims of concern, and even medical professionals will not take me seriously. I actually had a therapist tell me my depression would stop if I lost weight, and when I asked if being happy with my body wouldn’t be more helpful, she literally said no.

Along the same vein, the unhealthiest I’ve ever been was at my very lowest adult weight. Between the ages of 18-21, I was anorexic because I was made to believe that being skinny was more important than anything else. It didn’t matter that I was funny, or creative, or caring. It didn’t matter that my hair was falling out, or my skin was basically hanging off my bones, or I stopped menstruating. No, being skinny was the important thing!

And do you know, even years and years on, it’s still so hard not to fall back into that toxic mindset. I didn’t eat or drink all day yesterday because I knew I was being weighed in the evening, and today I’m so angry with myself for thinking that was okay.

I am actively trying to lose weight, but I want to live my life without that being a central concern and preoccupation. Still, it seems like everyone around me is obsessed with my body, and it makes it very difficult to cultivate any kind of self-love or acceptance. When I say that my biggest insecurity about the way I look is my nose, their suppressed urge to point out that I jiggle when I walk looks almost painful.

People act like being fat is the whole sum of me as a person, and it isn’t. Honestly, I think it’s high time society stopped acting like being fat is worse than being cruel or rude or shallow, because it really isn’t.

I don’t care what anyone thinks; it’s time I started caring about myself, because no one is going to do that for me. Maybe if we all did the same thing, the world would be a much better, happier place.

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The Joys of Dating

Dating is scary at the best of times, particularly if you’re someone –like myself- with very little experience in the subject. In fact, I have very little experience in any kind of “romantic” sense. I’ve only been sexual with two men in my life, and always somehow manage to disgrace myself whenever I attempt to flirt. I’m not a sexy or sensual woman. I’m not a particularly attractive woman, either, and between that, my questionable sense of humour, and my unfortunate inability to string together a coherent sentence (verbally, at least) it’s no wonder my own reaction to somehow embarrassing myself in public has become the dry and self-deprecating: “How the fuck am I still single?”

Meeting someone via the internet seemed like a gift to silly, awkward me. At first, anyway. I met this one guy via my most commonly used social media platform, and at first, there was no expectation except a little light conversation and a few jokes. After a couple of weeks of back and forth, I was incredibly shocked when he asked me on a date. Perhaps it was the fact that I’m not great at social cues, or perhaps I just have no expectation or understanding of anyone wanting to date me, but “shocked” really is an apt word.

I liked him, honestly. He made me laugh, and he seemed friendly enough, plus we had things in common and good conversation. After a little bit of incredulity and heavily resisting the urge to respond with “Are you taking the mickey, or what?” I decided to go for it.

We arranged a time and place to meet, and I did that inevitable thing where I went through every single item of clothing I own trying to come up with an outfit that made me look nice, but not like I was trying too hard, which I almost definitely put way more thought into than the skirt and cardigan number deserved –especially considering I’m wearing the exact same clothes right now, and all I’ve done all day is housework.

That done, I did my makeup the same way I always do, and even resisted the urge to do anything particular with my hair. I wanted to be myself. At least, as much myself as I ever am when I’m meeting someone for the first time.

I was a little late as I headed to the designated coffee shop, so when I got there I had a quick glance around, and not seeing him, sent a message to let him know I was there. Surprisingly, he answered fairly quickly that he was also in the coffee shop, so I looked about again and spotted him tucked away in a little corner I’d missed in my earlier haste. I recognised him from his profile picture, smiled and waved, and picked up my coffee to go join him.

He didn’t seem particularly pleased to see me. He didn’t smile as I sat down opposite him, and immediately nervous, I kind of blustered away for a moment about why I’d been late before I even realised that he looked mildly irritated.

“You’re not what I expected.” He said, rather bluntly.

“Oh?” I blinked. I had no idea how to respond to that.

“Your profile picture…” he began, then cleared his throat and looked away. “It’s a good photo.”

“I… guess…?”

Part of me wanted to laugh. Yes, of course it was a good photo. I wasn’t going to use a crap one, was I? In fact, I can tell you it’s the profile picture I use on here, too. No filter, just good, natural lighting, and a morning where I felt nice about myself, so could smile for a selfie without looking painfully constipated.

“Yeah…” He said slowly. Then sighed, and stood up from his seat. “Sorry.”

Without a single word further or a backwards glance, he left, and I sat in stunned silence as the two women on the next table over tittered into their cups. I won’t lie, it took me a long moment to realise what had happened, and when it hit me I wanted to take out my phone and show these complete strangers the photo, just so they could see I wasn’t some bizarre cat-fisher.

I felt fairly humiliated, but I forced myself to sit there and drink my coffee, and read until there were different people sitting on the tables nearby. I couldn’t tell you why, but it seemed important at the time.

All the while I was running through the situation over and over in my mind. Was it really the photo that had been the problem? Because it seemed ludicrous to me to think so; that is my face. That’s what I look like. Perhaps it was something else? Perhaps it had been because I was late and hadn’t messaged him to say so? Perhaps I’d used a perfume that reminded him of his year nine maths teacher? Perhaps my eyeliner had smudged? Worse still! Perhaps it was the cardigan?

To this day I couldn’t tell you. He blocked me, and I was torn between being indignant at the insanity of his reaction, and guilt for somehow pushing him to make such a drastic move. But I didn’t know what I’d done, and confused as I am, it does seem rather silly to beat myself up for something like… well. I don’t even know. Using a profile picture I look nice in?

My housemate has been trying to get me to sign up to proper dating sites, and I came very close the other day. Then it wanted a profile picture and I spent almost two hours scrolling through my photos, growing increasingly hysterical until I was having an existential crisis over every single one and thinking: “Is ThIs My FaCe?!?!”

All About Dem Metaphors

Did you know that grapes are toxic to dogs? Just one of those little things could kill your canine friend, or at best make them very, very sick.

My mum has a terrier. His name is Kero and he’s about fifteen years old now. He runs into walls, barks when someone walks past the front window, wakes himself up when he farts in his sleep, and loves to play fetch probably more than most people have ever loved anything in their lives. He likes to have his chin scratched, he has a tail that could wag for Great Britain, and if he sees you eating grapes he’ll beg and whine and want one with his whole being.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Kero will beg for literally any food. He’s a porky little chap who would probably eat until he passed out if he could, which I can honestly relate to as much as running into walls and waking myself up when I fart in my sleep.

Thing is, he doesn’t understand that the grape is bad for him. He’ll watch me with those big brown eyes, licking his chops, tail wagging away as he sits and shuffles his butt around in uncontainable excitement. I’ll tell him no, but he’ll just try and give me a paw (as that generally works), so I’ll tell him more firmly, and he’ll just lay down and continue to watch and wag his little tail at me.

“Kero,” I’ll say, very patiently. “You can’t have this. I’m sorry, dude, but it’s bad for you.”

Alas, Kero is a dog, and has no fucking idea what I’m saying to him. All he knows is that he wants the food, and that Lorna is a soft touch, and if he’s very good and waits patiently, she’ll probably let him have one.

Of course, we all know I won’t, because he can’t have the grape. The grape will make him sick. Possibly even kill him. And he’s my buddy, so I’d never want to do anything that could hurt him, no matter how adorable he is, or how patiently he waits, or how many times he tries to give me a paw.

By comparison to my small, hairy friend, I am not a dog (well… depending on who you speak to, I suppose) but sometimes in my life, I can’t help but think of Kero and the grapes. Sometimes I’ll want something for myself, and I’ll want it so badly that it’s all I can focus on. I’ll convince myself that I’ll get it, that it’ll work out, that it’s meant to be, and I’ll do everything in my power to try and obtain it.

“Lorna,” The Universe will say, very patiently. “You can’t have this. I’m sorry, dude, but it’s bad for you.”

Alas, I don’t know that, and I have no understanding of it. All I know is that I want the Thing. I don’t know why it’s being withheld from me, only that I’m certain it’s coming my way soon, if I work hard or wait patiently enough. Until, like the grapes all being eaten, there’s nothing left for me to have.

Rather than getting disheartened now, though, I try and think of the Thing like a grape. It’s not meant for me. It’s not going to be good for me, and that’s why the universe won’t let me have it.

Sometimes, if Kero has been very good, when I’ve finished my grapes I’ll go and get him a biscuit. He’s allowed these, and it makes him sublimely happy.

I’m just here waiting for my biscuit.

You’d Have Loved “Drinking of You”

Grief is a funny thing, isn’t it? I don’t mean funny like “ha ha” but more like funny “I really couldn’t say how this is going manifest itself”.

When I was told my Grandma had been given only two weeks left to live, I completely crumbled. I wailed like a child and I didn’t care who saw or who heard. I was at work at the time, in the staff room, with one very uncomfortable onlooker trying to pat my shoulder reassuringly and another two out on the shop floor, lingering around the doorway. It was visceral and undignified, and I did it all over again at her funeral for everyone to see and hear, because I simply couldn’t contain it. I didn’t even want to try, because the pain was so terrible. I was thirty-one years old.

This week I heard that a very good friend of mine died. A close friend. He was the same age as me, and he took an overdose. The last message I sent him was “Stop being such a fanny-apple and answer me!”

This time my grief has been quiet. Heavy. Still as painful as when I lost my Grandma, but without any outlet. There hasn’t been a tidal wave of tears, no body-shaking sobbing fits; just early nights, difficult mornings, no makeup, and lots of dry shampoo. I’ve been weak and clumsy and stuttering all my words, but trying to keep all of my focus on each task in front of me at that very moment. I caught sight of myself in a mirror today and realised how utterly haggard and ill I look. It struck me then how very different my reactions were, and for a moment I started to wonder why that might be.

There are always people who try to rationalise these things, I suppose. Like if we can make some sense of it, maybe it will help us recover? But I realised today that much like the guilt I feel for my friend dying hopeless and alone, I can’t do any more than simply feel what I feel.

I’ll have to come to terms with it. I’ll have to come to terms with the idea that he won’t be coming with me to Pride this year, that I won’t ever be able to listen to Kate Nash without remembering him, that we’ll never have drunken poetry competitions again, that he’ll never finish teaching me all the moves to Poker Face, and that all of our inside jokes –which used to make me laugh until my ribs hurt- are forever as gone as he is.

I have to feel it and accept it, and as I’m sitting here right now, my heart tight and painful as I will the tears to come, I remember how he used to roll his eyes at me and tut.

“Alright, Emo-Queen, that’s enough of that shit!”