tummy

All posts in the tummy category

More Barrel than Apple

Published February 5, 2011 by sleepydumpling

So I’m being plagued by the black dog.  To be honest, I think it’s the heat, I never cope well with hot weather.  I’m happiest when I’m sitting steaming in two feet of snow.  Yeah I know, I’m on the wrong side of the planet.

One of my strategies when it comes to dealing with bouts of depression is to immerse myself in the Fatosphere, reading and viewing as many positive posts and images about fat people that I can.  It is just something that I know works to lift me out of that dark place, and get me back on to the road to my regular moods and ways of thinking.

I have been watching Fatshion February unfold on Tumblr, and the topic of representation of “death fatties” came up.  Now for any of you who are unaware, “death fatties” is a term coined for those of us who are classified as “morbidly obese” on the BMI scale, which is an arbitrary measurement of someone’s height to weight ratio, but is used by the medical field (and insurance industry)  to classify the fatness, and therefore health-by-their-measurement.  In reality, BMI does not at all give an accurate representation of someone’s health, only their height to weight ratio.

There was a mention of the scarcity of deathfatz posting Fatshion February photographs, and then a whole big discussion of whether or not “fat is fat” fired up, whether there should be any blogs or spaces that are dedicated just to deathfatz (there are) and whether this is excluding “smaller fats”.  I won’t get into that whole topic, and besides, Marianne Kirby has said it all beautifully on her Tumblr repeatedly, so it’s no use me rehashing it here.

But what I have got thinking about, is why I haven’t submitted any Fatshion February photographs.  What I’m struggling with is the fact that not only am I considerably bigger than most of the posters (it’s true, the deathfatz are under-represented), but regardless of the size of the posters, I see a whole lot of traditionally “beautiful” shaped women there.  All those hourglass figures, with breasts and hips that are bigger than their bellies.  Which in no way represents me.

There is a whole lot of celebration of “curvy” women.  Well I’m simply not curvy.  I am more… lumpy.  I do have big breasts, but my belly is clearly the largest part of my body.  I get it from my Grandma, she’s the same shape.  I look like I am heavily pregnant with triplets.  According to most plus-size fashion retailers, I don’t exist.  They’re all about the curves.  When they do actually use plus-size models, they’re flat bellied ones with small waists.  They’re women whose bodies stay the same shape when they sit down.  When I sit down, my belly shifts and becomes even bigger, resting on my lap.  Some plus size fashion even cut off before my size, despite my size being the usual top size of plus-size fashion.  City Chic?  Asos Curve?  I’m looking at you two in particular.  Not to mention all of the other lesser known brands that top out at Size 20, or 22.

Then there’s all this talk of apples, pears and hourglasses.  What about those women like me, who are shaped more like barrels?

Where are the true diversity of body types?

It becomes a spiral.  We don’t see bodies like ours represented anywhere, so we become too ashamed to share our own pictures.  Therefore, there are no bodies like ours being posted.

Just because my body shape isn’t considered “beautiful” or “fashionable”, doesn’t mean I don’t want to dress fashionably and enjoy dressing and styling myself.  Nor do I want to spend time finding things that “flatter” me and give an illusion of the shapes that are considered beautiful/fashionable.  My body is shaped like a barrel, and no amount of styling is going to change that.  I want to dress and adorn my body as it is, not disguise it as something else.

I’m thankful that there are those who put themselves out there.  I’m thankful that there are deathfatz like me who post their pictures and talk about their experiences.  Those of you who are at the top or beyond a standard plus-size range for your region.  Those of you who have big bellies, or any other body shape that doesn’t fit the predominant “curvy”.  Those of you who are extremely limited as to where you can get clothes to fit your bodies.  There aren’t many of you, but to those that are out there,  I admire you so much, and you make a difference to how I see myself, and what I am able to do with the limited fashion choices available to me.

A Letter to My Body

Published November 14, 2010 by sleepydumpling

Dear Body,

I owe you an apology.  I’ve not been very kind or accepting to you in our relationship.  In fact, I’ve downright hated you for most of our life.  I realise now that the hatred I had for you was very unfair, and that you were undeserving of it.  You deserve more respect than that.

I am sorry that I did so many things to hurt you over the years.  I’m sorry that I starved you, exercised you into the ground until you simply failed to function in several ways, and that I punished you for just being yourself.  I’m sorry that I cut you, filled you full of pills and other substances that affected you in so many damaging ways.  I’m sorry that I didn’t give you what you needed, that I forced you to ingest things that you hated, or that made you feel bad, simply because I hated you so much.  I’m sorry that I picked you, tore your hair out, chewed your fingertips, and didn’t listen to what you were trying to tell me.

You’ve given so much to me through all the hard times.  You kept me going when depression really, really tried to stop us in our tracks.

You didn’t deserve to be hated so much.  You’ve looked after me for over 38 years now, mostly uncomplaining in the scheme of things, and how have I repaid you?  By hating you and trying to force you to change, by picking you apart as if you’re not a whole being, by desperately trying to reduce you and starve you away, and at times, I tried to kill you.

But you kept on going.  You kept on doing your job, and doing it very well, for all these years.  Even when I wore you down to exhaustion and pain, you still kept going.  You patched yourself together as best you could, even though you tried to tell me you were exhausted and in pain, I wouldn’t listen, so you just did the best you could.

You’ve done so much for me.  You’ve allowed me to do every single thing in my life that I’ve ever done.  You’ve allowed me to experience love, and joy, and happiness, and laughter, and fun.  I’m sorry that I never acknowledged you for giving that to me.

I tried to make you do things you simply couldn’t.  Like be completely different to what you actually are.  I measured you by other people’s standards, tried to change you to be something you’re not, and tried to force you to perform in a way that you’re not designed to, just because other people’s bodies behave differently.  I realise now that I have been completely unreasonable in my demands on you.

I want you to know that I am deeply sorry, from the bottom of my heart.  I ask you to forgive me for hating and punishing you for so long, and know that I will work very hard to never do that again.

I want you to know that you are beautiful in your own way.  You are strong, powerful and healthy.  I don’t hate your big belly, or your fat arms, or your thick legs any more.  Your rolls and bumps and lumps are not objects of loathing to me any more.  They are now things of beauty.  They always have been, I just recognise it now, where I didn’t before.  You are a feminine body.  I never used to see you in that way, but now I do.  You’re all woman baby!

I don’t hate that you are hairier than other bodies.  I don’t hate that you pump out more hormones of all kinds than the average body.  I don’t hate that you sometimes have trouble keeping your skin smooth and clear.  I want you to know that I am not ashamed of you any more.  That I will stand up for your right to be as you are, and if anyone tries to change you when you don’t choose to change of your own volition, then I will fight them from doing so.

You and I, we’re going to work together.  Because we are together.  We’re one and the same.  You are me, and I am you.  We’re going to take care of each other, and make each other happy.

I love you.  You are beautiful.  Please forgive me.

Kath

P.S.  I’m going to shave your head in January, but it’s for a good cause.  You might feel a bit naked for awhile, but let’s just show your pretty scalp off and rock it huh?  We might have some fun.

Jiggle Away, Baby!

Published June 21, 2010 by sleepydumpling

Four times over the past two working days, my outfits (that of Friday and today, Monday), have been described as “flattering”.  I know it was meant as a compliment, but each time someone said, it made me cringe.  Because what that really means is, that I look less fat in them than I do other outfits.  Both days I happened to wear mostly black, which we all know tricks the eye out of noticing changes in surface shape, because it’s a solid, dark colour.  I didn’t wear them to be flattering, I wore them because I had accessories in great bold colours that I wanted to show off, and because I love the individual pieces of clothing.

I read this post the other day about minimising body jiggle, and it really bugged me.  Why should fat women hide that our bodies jiggle and move?  Why should we hide the bumps and lumps and curves and rolls that make up our bodies?  Because they offend other people’s eyes?  Tough shit I say!

This is the thing.  A person’s body is their body.  They should never have to hide it or be ashamed of it, make it look less or more than it actually is, change it to please others, strap it in, smooth it down, camouflage it, restrain it, modify it.  Unless they want to for themselves and nobody else.

Every single human body shape and size is beautiful in some way.  The human body is an incredible thing to behold, and I believe that we don’t honour it in the way that we should.  We batter our bodies, trying to get them to submit.  We starve them, ignore them, over-work them, under-relax them, you name it.  All because we want them to be something other than what they are.

I think we should let our bodies jiggle, if they have jiggles.  We should celebrate their shape, no matter what shape they are.  We should show them love and compassion.  And more than anything, we should be kind to our bodies.  We need them to propel us through life.

Wear your lumpy bits, your jiggly bits, your rolly bits, your bumpy bits with pride.  Each bump, lump, jiggle, and roll is part of who you are and worthy of your love.

I wish I could find a clip from The Simpsons I love, where  Homer Simpson is mowing the lawn on a ride-on mower, wearing tiny, tiny shorts, with a sign that says “Jiggling for Justice”.  I love that bit.  Instead I found this one that says it all pretty well:

Fat and Happy

Fat Bodies for Dummies (and Douchebags)

Published May 18, 2010 by sleepydumpling

I want to talk about fat bodies tonight.  Cos you know, all the stuff over the past week about body image, all the cries of Disgusting!  Vile!  Lazy!  Unhealthy!  Gross!  Smelly!  and so on that proliferate when we have talk about fat bodies has been burbling about my head and I think that a lot of fat haters and those that fear fat have absolutely no idea about what a fat body really is like, or what it’s like to inhabit a fat body.

Of course, those of us who have fat bodies have usually spent many years loathing those fat bodies as well.  When you’re told all the time that fat is disgusting, and all of those other charming descriptors I’ve used above, it sticks pretty quickly and you start to believe it.  But if you’re like me, and have been able to find some self esteem and think about your body rationally, then you start to realise a few things.  Let’s do a breakdown:

Fat bodies are in pain under the strain of their weight.

We’ve all heard the guff about how you’re fucking up your knees, hips and ankles by being fat.  I’m a Super Fat and my knees, hips and ankles have no pain unless I do something stupid, like kick heavy boxes out of the way.  I have an incredible strength to my body (which I will talk about more later) and while my whole family has arthritis running through it, with my younger (thin) brother having suffered debilitating pain at various points in his life, I’ve not had any trouble since one growth spurt in my teens.

Fat bodies are not athletic at all.

Tell that to a sumo wrestler, weight lifter, someone who does shot-put, discus or long distance swimmer.  Personally while I have no agility or speed, I’m stronger than most women I know and some men.  I can split a golf ball in two with just one hit, and can send a tennis ball, cricket ball or softball out of the park.  I’m also far more flexible than one would believe.  I do yoga and while yes, sometimes I have to bend around my fat, I’m still able to do all the poses in regular yoga that everyone else can do, with no pain at all.  I also love riding my bicycle (it’s so pretty, one day I’ll do a post on how pretty my bicycle is) and walking for ages.

Fat people all huff and puff and can’t keep up.

This one I do have experience with, because I’m one of those lucky souls who suffers allergies.  And when they’re playing up, yeah, I can’t breathe as well as other people.  But guess what?  Even when I was a skinny kid, or when I lost a lot of weight and was exercising long sessions every day, I still struggled with my breathing.  But surprise surprise, when my allergies are treated… the breathing clears up, whether I’m a fatty boombaladah or not.

Fat bodies are sweaty and smelly.

Bullshit.  Every man I have ever dated and quite a few I haven’t have told me that I smell divine.

PEOPLE are sweaty and smelly.  Some are lucky and don’t sweat that much, some of us only really sweat out of our faces so we look like beets on hot days. (That’s me!  A waste of makeup some days!)  Fat bodies are no more smelly than thin bodies.  CLEAN bodies are the key.

Which leads me to…

Fat bodies are dirty.

No, dirty bodies are dirty, no matter what size or shape they are.  Clean bodies are clean.

People who have fat bodies hate themselves.

I don’t hate myself.  I used to, but I didn’t really hate myself because I was fat, I hated myself because I listened to people who told me that I should hate myself.  I don’t listen to those people any more, and my self loathing is cured!  It’s a miracle!

Fat bodies are disgusting/vile/gross…

Only to narrow minded people who have got nothing better to do than worry about what other people think.  Fat bodies are beautiful in their own way, in fact, ALL bodies are beautiful in their own way.

So there you have it.  Fat bodies 101, for dummies… and douchebags.

If you have a fat body, do you love it?  Do you struggle with loving it because of the vitriol poured towards fat bodies?  Sometimes our bodies don’t do what they want them to do, and that makes it hard to love them too.

Maybe we should share what we love about our bodies (no matter what size they are).  I’ll go first, you can all follow in the comments.

I love that my body is strong and healthy, and that it propels me through my full life.  I love that my body is a blank canvas for the tattoo art that I love so much.  I love my magnificent tits.  I love that I can hug and cheer and laugh and dance and stretch and sigh and smile with my whole body.  I love that little kids and pets all snuggle into my fat body.  I love that babies seem to get drunk on my body and get all woozy and happy and comfy.  And most of all, I love that my body knows what’s best for me, so long as I take the time to listen to it.

Your turn kids!

It’s Your BODY, Baby!

Published January 10, 2010 by sleepydumpling

Yeah I know, it’s been some time since my last post.  I have been sick this week just gone, swinging between wild nausea, thumping headaches and this horrible lack of energy thing.  Summer gets me every year for a bit, and this week seems to be it.  So of course I have some blogging to catch up on.

A couple of days ago I came across this post on Tumblr.  It’s from The Tummy Project, which aims to showcase all forms of tummies, regardless of shape, size, skin type, colour, hair or lack of hair.  An excellent body positive project.  But this post really worried me.  I’ll reproduce it here:

tummy

My tummy is on its way to being what my family calls “gobby fat.” See the pooch at the bottom, under my belly button? That will be gobby fat in ten or twenty years, maybe. All of the women in my family have big middles, and they just laugh about it and make jokes but I know they hate it and it makes them feel awful. I am tired of being scared of this happening to me. I am also scared that someone will know this is me in this picture, because I am the funny, confident girl who is always telling other women to chin up and be proud of their bodies and love themselves. And they’ll know that I am a fraud. But I don’t know what to do about any of it. I just have this tummy. I always have. At every size, at every age, the belly has been.

I’m still shocked when I see that photo and read the accompanying post.  This young woman thinks her tummy is fat??  What the HELL are we teaching young people if they could possibly think that they are fat when they are shaped like this?

That “pooch” below her belly button.  That is supposed to be there, it is her bloody internal organs!

Body image is so fucked up in Western culture that we seem to be thinking that our bellies MUST be concave or at least flat, that they cannot have any curves or roundness to them at all.  Not only is it an impossible goal for a healthy body to obtain, it’s also not even true in the pictures we see of models and actresses that do have stomachs like that.  Either they’re digitally altered so that it’s not there, or they do things like starve themselves the day before a shoot so that they don’t have a “food baby” or a bump from where the food and internal organs naturally sit.

What disturbs me even more from the post is that this young woman is being taught by the women in her family that a) her body is something to be loathed, b) to accept people laughing and making jokes about her body and c) that they can’t express their feelings about their bodies.  If they hate their bodies so much, why aren’t they helping this young person in their lives who HAS a slim body in not hating hers?

There are some inroads being made into body positivity these days, but we have so far to go that we need to really work with the young.  Right from tiny children, we need to be teaching kids and everyone above that our bodies are marvellous things.  Sure, they come in all different shapes and sizes, some of which are slim and commercially “beautiful”, but all shapes and sizes are beautiful in their own way.

Not to mention that our bodies are INCREDIBLE!  I mean, think about your hand just for five minutes.  Do some things with it – pick something up, wave, point, toss something in the air and catch it, click your fingers.  Isn’t it incredible that in a matter of seconds we can command our hand, and the rest of our bodies, to do all these things.  In the blink of an eye, our brains and our bodies work together to propel us through our daily lives and we  never even give that any thought.  How often do you thank your body for doing the work it does every day.

That’s just the stuff we can control.  What about all the things our bodies do on their own?  Like breathing, processing food and water, self cleaning, thinking, growing, repairing itself (the only part of the human body that can’t repair itself are the teeth!) and a myriad of things we don’t know about.  How awesome is that?

Instead of realising this, we focus on every single thing that we consider “flaws”, even those these things usually are just features that are unique to ourselves.  The next time you think of your body’s flaws, try and see them as a feature, rather than a flaw.  These are the things that make you, YOU.

Our bodies are not a bunch of “parts” for us to critique and obsess over.  They’re an amazing system and thing of wonder that we hardly even fathom the complexity of.

We need to take care of them, be kind to them, nourish them, move them and appreciate them.  Love your body, no matter what it’s shape, size or what it does and doesn’t do.  Love it for what it is, and what it does for you.

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