There was no one at the beach that day, other than us. Usually at the beach, I find a good place to sit down, park my bum, and stay there, hidden under a towel, or still fully clothed.
That day, there was no one at the beach other than us, so I took off my clothes (though still wrapped up in a sarong), and went for a walk with my sons to explore the rocks and whatever little animals we could find scattered around. I took off my clothes and went more than ankle deep into the water for now I had no fear of getting my clothes wet.
I am fat. Horridly fat.
Size 22 fat.
And quite frankly, size 24 is just around the corner.
That day on the beach, when no one was around, it felt like I had permission to be me, and wander around with my floppy bits flopping around. It felt like I was “allowed” out only when there was no one else to see me.
Like my body is only there to please others and if it can’t please others then it should be hidden away.
My body has done extraordinary things. Adventurous things like abseiling and rock climbing (before people started using safety gear *grin*), and traveling around the world and working overseas. Less adventurous things like going to the beach and going camping and reading books under the covers and dancing on bars. Regular things like playing competition sport, and irregular things like deciding one morning to pack some clothes and head to Sydney from Queensland. Sweet things like making love on the grass next to a creek and sour things like slapping the face of a boy who called me frigid. And life altering things like having two children, and getting married.
I am not a piece of artwork. I am the paintbrush. My body is not the art that you see, it makes the art that you see. My life is my art, not my body.
People judge me. That’s ok. I’m cool with that. Whatever. I know what I used to look like. Here I am as a teenager, around a size 10…
Pretty thin, and still teased at school for being fat. I thought I was fat!
Later on in life, in my early twenties, I thought I was fat too, at a size 12-14…
FatTER maybe, but certainly not fat.
Still, I cringed at the thought of wearing a bathing suit in public. Nothing stopped me as I loved to swim, but I cringed!!! It seems no matter what weight I am, I think I’m fat. At least now that I know it for sure, I can stop thinking about it all the time and just get on with living.
About a year after that photo was taken, I was pregnant, and gaining weight rapidly. I couldn’t move you see, due to Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, yet I had severe cravings for hot chips. I tried to exercise and failed, collapsing in pain as my pelvis literally came apart. I decided to do what I had to do to get through my pregnancy and after Nicky was born, I joined a gym. After going for a month, I had to give up because the pain was just too much. I was a size 18 and stayed there until I fell pregnant with Quinn.
I put on the usual pregnancy fats when I was carrying Quinn, and after he was born, I was a stable size 20.
Three years later, my stomach sort of just appeared like I was pregnant again. One minute I could see my toes, then the next I couldn’t. Even my GP noticed. I called my new stomach Isabelle. I figured if I was going to look pregnant…
The stomach, as you can see, has stayed, and now I am a size 22.
I’m not ashamed of my body. I realise I’m not sexy, but I’d much rather spend time with people who want me for my brain than for my body anyway. I understand that people assume I’m unhealthy – certainly every new specialist I see orders a diabetes test. But all my test results come back stating that I am in perfect health. My heart test results are even on the better side of average.
It is what it is. This is who and what I am. I am here not for your viewing pleasure, but to enjoy my life, and help ensure my kids enjoy theirs.
I am here to make art for ME. That top picture of my having fun with my child? Artistic perfection.