That’s A Lovely Big Black Tent You’re Wearing / Being Fat, Wearing Clothes

She was a lovely woman, the costume designer. She walked into the office, carrying three bags. I had wanted to warn her or offer my assistance when she got the job of finding me a dress to wear on TV and it quickly became obvious why.

“I didn’t know it would be so hard to find a black dress.” she said, slightly apologetically, and pulled out three black dresses. Actually, that’s an exaggeration. She pulled out two black dresses and a black, oversized t-shirt from H&M. One of them fit. Almost. She pinned needles everywhere and assured me that she would make it look better.

“I cannot believe how hard it was finding a dress.” she repeated. I know. I knew. I’ve known since I started buying my own clothes at the age of 13. When my friends would empty a shop for clothes and I would take some size 14s and try them on, even though I knew they wouldn’t fit. Afterwards I’d claim the colour was wrong. Eventually, I would go on American websites and pay hundreds of pounds, just for the experience of actually wearing something I didn’t have to squeeze into. I knew because when I discovered the website ASOS, which had decent clothes in my size – and even bigger than that, I actually cried. I immediately bought shirts eight sizes bigger than mine, just to try and feel how being too small felt. I know how hard it is. I had known when she had said she was just going to go into central Copenhagen and find a dress. I had asked if she was planning on looking online and she had looked at me with a facial expression saying, that she knew most about this topic. That was now the look I was giving her.

“I bet you’ve never had to find anything for someone my size?” I asked. She widened her eyes and started telling me what I’ve heard so many times before. That oh, I’m not that big and either way, it suits me and it’s not the first thing people notice. I stopped her to let her know that I’m okay with it. We discussed shoes and tights and hugged goodbye.

I didn’t give it much thought, but it finally hit me. It’s a deep, deep feeling of relief and sadness. Like the first time I told my thinner friend that I always had music in my ears when walking alone, because I would get yelled after. Fat pig and stuff like that. And my friend listened and expressed surprise and disgust. After that, I was relieved too. A lot of these struggles are secret. Not intentionally, necessarily, but I’ve been taught to be ashamed of my body – thus making everything that happens to me because I’m fat my fault. I felt like I deserved to be yelled at and I have never felt like I deserved to easily be able to find clothes in my size.

When the professional clothes-finder struggled to find me an outfit and when it surprised her, it was an overwhelming feeling of being heard and having my everyday issues understood. Fatphobia isn’t per say acknowledged by the public. Not even most fat people are aware of this. It felt like another person isΒ now aware that it’s hard sometimes. It was the opposite feeling of what I felt last week, when a comedian laughed in my face and exclaimed, “What?! No one hates fat people!” which coincidentally, was two hours after he had said, “There’s no such thing as sexism in comedy.”

It never fails to surprise me how easy it is to silence a large (haha, large) group of people into not complaining. That is why it meant a lot, that I didn’t have to be the one to tell yet another person what it’s like being a fat person. She didn’t even get the full experience – of having clerks look at you with narrowed eyes, followed by them looking up and down your body and finally looking into the ground saying, “Sorry, we don’t carry your size.”

She just had to experience that because I am a size 20-22, her job became harder – and almost impossible to do. But only almost, because of her magic fingers, she did manage to turn a black tent into an actual dress:

10172576_10204199624492829_3785223362240980140_n

The amazing Debz has got a major kick-ass list of online plus-size clothing shops here!Β 

Β 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s