Conversations With the Dead

There are these things in my head and they trickle like cold water into my heart. I suspect I feel more than I used to, yet less than I did yesterday when your letter came.

Reading your news, I could see what I needed to do, but the moment it was back in its envelope, I was back to normal. Is that normal?

Read More »

Not Just Fat

do00903_roxane_gay-e1498363399481

A friend sent me this animated video clip about Roxanne Gay and fat acceptance because it made her think of me. I don’t really identify with Gay although I admire her bravery. We are both fat women, but, just as I don’t identify with someone just because we share gender or race or nationality or taste in books or music, I’m not about to identify with Gay just because she is fat or because I agree with many of her opinions.

Gay became fat through eating in order to comfort herself after being gang raped. And she saw fatness as a shield, a way to protect herself.

I struggle with the way fatness is portrayed by the media and seen by the majority of people as a negative and repulsive thing, but on a personal level I don’t see fatness as a way of hiding and I’ve always had a healthy relationship with food.

In my opinion, Gay’s situation reinforces the idea many people have that fat people are damaged in some way. It’s more nuanced than that and of course there are many stories about fatness and fat acceptance, but I feel those who believe only negative things about being fat will tend to focus on stories like Gay’s.

Her book Bad Feminist is on my 2017 reading list and I will also read her latest book, Hunger, because I think we need to acquaint ourselves with as many different experiences of fatness as possible.

Fat people need to be seen as simply people, whose fatness is just one aspect of our lives, like the colour of our eyes or our hobbies. Our fatness is not the be all and end all of our existence. It is not the only thing we are. Although it tends to be how others define us, our fatness is not the only thing we are.

Fatness Update

I have not been blogging about my fatness because, frankly, I haven’t found it much of an issue. Is that because I decided I was going to call myself ‘fat’ and accept myself as being so that it has become easier? I’m not sure.

Maybe it has to do with the fact I am so much at home and not exposed to strangers looking me up and down and thinking ‘Fat’ in a negative way. Maybe it has to do with not having to struggle as much as I used to when buying clothes (I haven’t gone smaller, there are just more choices these days, in Malaysia).

I am aware that I am considered a small-fat in the wider context of fatness. Being a size 12-16 is not too much of a problem in the States or the UK. But here, in Malaysia, I am still considered a fatty. However, the other day I met some new friends for the first time and one of them said, ‘But you’re not even fat.’ I don’t know if I was imagining that she said it derisively. I do think we look at people and they often seem smaller than we think we are. She and I are about the same size. However, she thinks she’s fat and I’m not. It’s normal. We tend to be harder on ourselves, focusing on the tiniest flaws.

I still have days when I want to go on a diet and lose weight, but then I come to my senses when I see that the neighbourhood bakery has baked a fresh batch of buttercake loaves. Haha.

Jokes aside, I do think I am happier in my skin and happier with all my wobbly bits than I used to be.

Try Harder, Little Boys

It’s easy to separate the men from the boys. 

The boys will get offended when you don’t give them your number. 

They will immediately try to offend you by mentioning your age. 

‘Why you so stuck up, old woman? You fifty years old. You should be ashamed of yourself.’

As if being old was a bad thing. Little boy, I’m fifty and that’s precisely why I won’t have anything to do with children like you. 

‘Yeah I’m old enough to be your Mama. Maybe you should just stick to fucking her.’

Free Advice

I’m just gonna jump straight in (and I may or may not add to this list from time to time):

  • Do NOT ask me how I am/how I’m doing/if I’m OK unless you are truly interested in my answer. If you are hoping/expecting that I will respond with the standard ‘I’m fine/OK’, you may be in for a surprise. There are days when I will just say I’m alright regardless of how I really feel, but most of the time I will tell you how things actually are, and if you don’t want to know then it’s best not to start the ball rolling.
  • If I say I’m worried or stressed or unhappy, do NOT respond by telling me to ‘Relax’.
  • ‘If I say I am struggling to pay my bills, do NOT reply, ‘Almost everyone has money problems’ and ‘There are a lot more people who are worse off than you’.
  • Do NOT call me Daph if you have only just met me.