Don’t try to fix me: a reflection on rape, self-expression, your gaze and my fatness

Content warning: discussion of sexual violence and fat-phobia and fat-shaming.

Looking back

Being raped at the age of 18 by two men unknown to me was the culmination of an almost decade of being objectified and sexualised by men I did not know. My breasts are large – quite enormous really. I sometimes forget how big they are. They grew quickly during puberty. I was a DD by the time I was 15. I did not know what to do with my body nor my youthful sexuality. Church influenced messages around sexuality weren’t particularly helpful in the 1970s.

I did not know how to respond to their gaze.

I ate to hide my body. By the time I was 30, I realised what I was doing but I didn’t stop. Reading Roxanne Gay’s Hunger  bought me to tears. I understand what she did / does (?) to her body. It was me. It is me.

I couldn’t escape their gaze. I was a girl – a naive and clueless girl who didn’t understand the creepy graze of men. It was as confusing as hell. I didn’t ask for your fucking opinion on my body. I didn’t know how to fight back. I didn’t know I could say fuck you.

So I hid my body behind fatness. Fat was my shield. If you’re undesirable, they won’t look. If you’re undesirable they won’t touch you.

Other girls might love their curves. I didn’t know how to. I was ashamed of my desire. I did not understand it.

Self-expression

Being held down, with your legs forced apart, one stranger fucking you, while the other covers your mouth so you can’t scream is possibly one of the ultimate acts of silencing. Your self-expression is completely taken away. They rob you of control. You have no say in what is happening to you. You don’t know what else they will do. You scream, but no one can hear you.

But it didn’t start there. I learned early that saying what you think isn’t always welcome, and sometimes it gets you hurt.

Fatness and messages 

I’m surrounded (we’re all surrounded) by messages about weight and fatness. I hear it every. single. day. Being ‘not fat’ is the ultimate goal. We hate it. It’s revolting. If you’re fat you’re lazy, you make bad choices, you’re weak and you have no will power. You’re unhealthy. If you’re skinny, you’re normal.

If you’re skinny, you’re normal.

If you’re skinny, you’re normal.

My morbidly obese body is not welcome.

“I feel so fat.” Fatness is bad.

But fat was my protector. I used it to protect me.

I am not a victim. I had agency. I have agency.

I’ve started running and hiking. Running is hard. When you’re 130kg, every workout is hard work. But it’s okay. I’m doing it. I’m 48 years old, I’ve never liked exercise, I sometimes struggle with my balance, I spend all day in front of a computer, I have a persistent pain in my left heel, and my right ankle is held together with metal screws and plates. Running and moving will always be hard work, regardless of my weight.

But I love running. I’m obsessed with it. I think about it all the time. I read about it. I want to talk about it all the time. It fascinates me.

The unwelcome male gaze has been replaced by the unwelcome anti-fat gaze – the but I just want you to be healthy gaze.

You want to fix me. When you see me, you want to fix me.

When you see me, you know how to fix me. Move more, eat less. Simple.

It’s never that simple though is it.

I don’t need you to fix me.

I will keep running and hiking. I may lose weight. I may not. But I will keep running as long as my body lets me.

I will always be the slowest. I will always be the last one. But I will keep on running as long as my body lets me.

I do not need you to fix me.

Don’t police what I eat. I will binge. Maybe I’ll binge tomorrow, next week or next month. I don’t want to but I know I will. But I will not feel ashamed anymore. I refuse to hate my body. I will not hate my fat ‘morbidly obese’ body. I need it to keep running.

I will not hate my fat body. I need it to run.

I will not hate my fat body. I need it to build my business.

I will not hate my fat body. I need it to be a mum.

I will not hate my fat body. I need it to be a sister.

I will not hate my fat body. I need it to be a lover.

I am grateful for the body I have. It’s mine.

I own my life. I own my experiences. I own my choices. I own my fat body.

Don’t try to fix me.

See me as me.

….

 

6 thoughts on “Don’t try to fix me: a reflection on rape, self-expression, your gaze and my fatness”

    1. Hey Libby, thanks for reading and for your comment. It’s definitely not easy. I’m so glad you’ve started running. I’m enjoying it so much. It just feels good … even though it kills too. lol.

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