Looking Fat

Cw: discussion of societal and internalised fatmisia

We are so often encouraged to wear clothes that make us look smaller.

I remember being in my early twenties, trying on clothes in a cramped changing room, waiting to find the perfect drab outfit that would make me look the thinnest.

Eventually, uncomfortable and sweating under the bright lights in front of the mirror, I realised that no matter how much thinner any of these outfits would make me look, I would still look fat.

I waited for shame to hit me. It didn’t. Instead, a wild and frightening freedom began to grow from somewhere hidden in the depths of me.

It was one of the most formative lessons of my adult life. If you’re going to look fat no matter what you wear, you might as well wear anything you want. Literally anything. Prints, body con, butch button-ups, crop tops, low-rise bikinis, bright colours, comfortable baggy tops – anything they said won’t flatter your figure. Who gives a shit? Your figure won’t change, and it’s yours to put whatever fabric you want on it. If you’re going to look fat, you might as well go fucking nuts.

I threw the literal and figurative rule books out. Stopped only by the fact that all my jeans and bras needed to come from special plus size stores, I started to experiment with wearing unflattering clothes. I showed the fattest parts of myself and dared people to look at my visible belly outline and my pillowed arms. My outfits earned me stares and whispers, but I got those when I was dressing ‘properly’ for a plus size person, too. I almost completely stopped wearing my old safe jeans and started to wear bright colours, prints, and short dresses – usually weird ones, like dinosaurs in space and psychedelic cats living in mushroom houses. I let myself get weird with fashion and felt myself grow inside.

This is the year I turn 29 and, because of my newly comfortable life where I don’t have to scrounge for out of date bargain foods, I’m now the heaviest I’ve ever been. I get more stares than ever, whispers, laughter, even death threats. Sometimes I hate how I look in my clothes, how people look at me. I can’t always find weird dresses in my size. Sometimes I hide everything that I am in jeans and a coat – and that’s just as ok as wearing the weird stuff. That’s comfortable, and I can wear whatever makes me most comfortable.

You – no matter what size you are – deserve to feel comfortable and look however you want. You don’t have to hide, unless you want to. You can show off or hide your tummy, your arms, any part of you that you wish. Wear weird shit, or comfy shit. Wear nothing, or cover everything. It doesn’t have to be flattering. It just has to feel good.

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