I remember the first time I ever felt confused about being called fat.
I’d like to say that I was around 16, and I remember it being the height of summer. I remember being at the beach with friends, and I was wearing a denim pinafore dress from Urban Outfitters, with a pink acid wash top underneath. I’d worn my patent pink, Nicki Minaj inspired Doc Martens on my feet, but I’d taken them off on the sand.
It was late evening, following a whole day of laying on the sand, and at around 8pm, the bright blue sky was fading, but none of us were ready to go home. I’d say there were a good mix of boys and girls there, and probably about 12-14 of us in total.
The day prior, my mum had taken me shopping. I’d bought my first ever bikini bottoms. Two pairs, both coral orange-pink, and I remember feeling excited to wear them, even if it were to be underneath my pinafore dress.
The night drew in and I remember there being a chill in the air, but we didn’t care. We stayed out, talking. Someone lit a fire. It was, for lack of a better word, lush.
There must have been a definitive point, on that exact day, at which the universe decided to change its course for me.
Everyone decided they wanted chips. I guess that was the definitive point, really. A unanimous decision, a bag of chips, that was it.
Wouldn’t it be so incredibly simple, for me to tell you that someone shamed me, for eating chips? That someone bad mouthed me, whilst in line to order? Wouldn’t it be so stereotypically idilc, for that to have been the case?
Well, unfortunately, or fortunately, however you’d prefer to look at it, the universe had other plans for me.
We’d been walking for what felt like a few minutes. It may have been longer, however, time flies, fun, all of that jazz.
I had felt self conscious, at many a time, may I add, leading up to this point. However, on this particular day, I felt good. I felt happy. I felt pretty in my outfit.
We approached a hill with a bus stop, I recalled seeing people sat in the bus stop at the time, but I don’t think I properly registered them.
We began the walk up the hill. I was trailing towards the back with a friend.
what I can only describe, as light-hearted “banter”, was being thrown around the group.
That was, until..
A boy that I barely knew, who’d come out with us that day, out of the blue, decided to turn to me, look me dead in the eye and say-
‘’At least I’m not a fat fuck like you’’
It would be an apt time to tell you, that absolutely zero people laughed. No people in the bus stop, nor the rest of the group, obliviously walking ahead, and least of all, me.
I looked up, I stopped walking. My brain did 30 million things inside of my head, that it had never done before. My blood pressure shot up, I could feel it in my ears. I felt them burning.
I had been called fat before, that wasn’t an unfamiliarity. My brain was searching, scanning, calculating. It was trying to catch up with me, and decide what it wanted to do.
It wanted to do something. That’s what was unfamiliar!!
Before my internal introvert had a chance to stop me, in front of the entire bus stop, full of people, the friend I was walking with, and whoever else was stood within a 1 mile radius, little old me (loudly) said-
“Ok, yes. I’m fat. You have no idea what it’s like to be me. You CANNOT talk to me like that.”
I’d been insecure for a while, battling internally with my external physique.
Who was he to judge me. I barely knew him.
I felt something. I can’t explain what, but the feeling engulfed me.
He tried to walk away,
“Don’t you dare walk away from me, I’m talking to you. Don’t you fucking dare.”
He said, turning his body away from me. He didn’t even look at me. He took no notice of me. He made me feel irrelevant.
But holy shit, did I demand to be noticed.
“Don’t you ever speak to anyone like that ever again. You have no idea what anyone is going through, how dare you fucking say that to someone you barely know.”
There were tears. I always cry. But that’s fine. It’s not my weakness anymore.
He did look at me, and for a split second, I thought he’d turn away again. But he didn’t.
He said sorry.
I let him walk ahead, as I stood near the bus stop, at roughly 9pm on a weekend. A woman was looking at me. She had a massive smile on her face. Her expression didn’t look malicious, it looked warm.
I turned to walk away..
and she clapped her hands together.
She fucking applauded me. What the fuck.
“Did you hear that woman then, she was clapping for you!” the friend I was with, exclaimed, as we reached our destination.
We finally got to the chip shop. I ate my chips, upon request of my friend, and looked the boy straight in the eye whilst doing it. He would be my first fuck-given, but in the right way.
It did not have a negative effect on me, it made me feel some sort of way.
Empowered, I guess I could say.
This time, “fat” wasn’t followed by thoughts of dieting, losing weight, going for a run.
“Fat” was followed by, actual, deep-set feelings. Strong feelings. The kind you feel when you’re proud of something. I think I was proud of myself.
He absolutely blessed me that day, by showing me my own mind.
He lit a fire inside me, that has only burnt stronger since.
Everything we do, have done to us, or experience in life, shapes us. Every negative encounter, I have ever had the fortune (yes, fortune), to experience, has made me exactly who I am.
I would not react like this now, but it was pivotal in my life, then. I recall this story often, and thank myself for sticking up for me.
He gave me insight into myself. I have never turned my back on myself, since.