Thursday, 9 April 2015

Being The Fat Kid In A Thin Family

My family are all very slim. They are also all fair haired, green eyed and look like their ancestors were ravished by Vikings and carried over the North sea to settle in the deepest darkest Midlands.
I am not very slim, even as a child I was curvier than my siblings and look nothing like any of them. Sure the occasional expression could mimic a likeness and my voice and mannerisms are carbon copies of my mothers but looks wise I am the anomaly,the round bodied, brown haired, snub nosed exception to the Nordic looking rule.

Yes we are related

None of this  mattered when I was a child, I wasn't massively overweight and aside from the odd comment by people saying I must belong to the milkman (this was the 1970's, people said things like this and we just laughed it off rather than lectured them on inappropriate comments) it was never an issue. My family didn't care, to them I was just me. The things that set us apart were the normal things,how loud we were (my brother) how obsessed with My little pony we were (my sis) how much of a goody two shoes we were (me definitely)

Yep I belong to them

I only realised that my appearance was seen as an oddity as I grew older. My mother who is a blonde Joanne Lumley alike would introduce me as her daughter and jaws would drop. It seemed unlikely that such a petite blonde creature could create someone as, well fat,freckled and brown haired as me.
Did this ever bother me? Absolutely not. It astounds me that even now people will occasionally say "oh you aren't alike" the sentence often heavy with the subtext of "but she's fat and you are all really thin" but because I have always been treated by my family as beautiful and clever and part of a clan it has never poked at my soft parts.
I feel no vulnerability, rather I quite like to see people processing the information that a slim green eyed blonde woman can have a really fat dark haired blue eyed child. 
Why am I telling you all this? because it illustrates that difference is only felt as a negative if we are taught it is a negative. 
Being a plus size woman in a family of slim people could have been awful. The constant comparisons, the feeling of not being the same and yet because my family are all rather marvellous and to be honest all quite eccentric and far too clever it has never been even for a second a point of conversation. 
No one cares and that has allowed me to grow into a really secure adult and for that I thank them.
The irony is that I now have my own child who is a bonsai version of me-A mini me but with brown eyes. Isn't it funny how things turn out.

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Photos by Nicky Rockets

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  1. I too grew up as the only fat child, yet I was bullied by not just my siblings, but also my parents to lose weight from ever since I can remember. Even though I was on the swimming squad, the diving squad, hockey and lacrosse teams, I was never "good enough" to be mentioned to aunts and uncles,
    To this day I'm still labelled as the "fat one", even though my sister is bigger than me now, as I have managed to lose 5 and half stone (go me!). I'm still a luscious curvy woman, just now as curvy as I once was.
    Despite all this, I'm confident with a go to hell attitude and tend to brook no shit from anyone. I think this is because I had alll the negative comments at home, so when at school it was water off a ducks back :)

    1. Raven Im so glad to hear about your go to hell attitude-you sound totally bullet proof which I love xx

  2. Your little girl is so gorgeous and every time you talk about her, share your photos of her and take her to events I want to shout "This is how to raise your child!" Coming from a family situation of fat shaming, first my mum for years who thankfully has stopped after seeing my blog and being proud of me to my sister, who was fat, now thin and takes great pains to point out that my stomach is much much bigger than hers and that she believes in fat shaming. The tales you share are proof that a normal, accepting family unit exists and it gives me hope that one day, maybe all of my family may accept me. Thank you xx

    1. Thanks Vicky-I'm so glad your mum has come around, so much of it is about education. With love and acceptance the world would be a very different place and the best place to start is within your own four wall isn't it.

  3. I know EXACTLY how this feels! I am the only fat person in my family and I mean my entire family including extended family members. It can feel rather isolating sometimes especially when they have no idea how hard the battle of the bulge is. In my case I had cousins and a brother who used to tease me for it. They of course thought they were being harmless but in truth their comments used to really sting. It was also tough to have everyone around me telling me that I would be so much more attractive if I shed my additional weight.

    I have to say finding bloggers like yourself who are on my page and understand how I feel when it comes to most things plus size is so refreshing and the community feeling we all have has been a huge help to me. Thanks for being fabulous Betty you're a hot chick with style who rocks!! xxx

    1. Thanks Mayah-It can be isolating being the only fat person in a family of slim people and I agree spending time with other plus size bloggers and body acceptance activists is just such a good feeling. x

  4. I wasn't fat when I was younger but my mom called me this. Even as a size 6 vodka drinking chain smoking dancer she still found fault in who I was. Over the last few years I have finally started to love myself and the body I have. This of course doesn't mean I don't have moments of pure self loathing only today after watching myself on television I have found myself back into the negative head space. Believing I was not or will never be good enough. I know how much my childhood has affected me and how much I have wanted different for my girls.

    Yet society is overriding me right now, my teenage daughters are stressing over thigh gaps etc.

    My only hope is that body confidence will return to them once the teen years have passed. I am just going to focus on reminding them how beautiful they are, how unique, intelligent they are and how much I cherish their sweet kind hearts.

    1. Thats all you can do. Just because my mum was super accepting of me didn't mean I didn't have horrible times of wishing I was slimmer, dieting etc but when you come out of that the core values your mum gave you do remain and your daughters will always have your example-bravo.

  5. You are an incredibly lucky lady to have been raised within such a loving an accepting family unit. And it shows... It has carried you forward to being an amazingly confident woman and a fantastic mam.

    For me it is a constant battle. I'm not the only fat in my family (although I'm currently the fattest) but I have always been the biggest on my dads side and unfortunately its that side of the family who take joy in putting people down. I'm rather proud of how far I've come though... from the fat 11 year old (my dad took me shopping with his super skinny girlfriend for no other reason than to laugh at me and prove that she was skinnier than me even though i was still a developing child), to a somewhat confident, happy woman whose insecurities only surface every once in a while and are quashed by a loving husband and adorable children.

    The key is clear. As long as you surround yourself with people who love you for exactly who you are, you'll do alright. Of course having a community of awesome blogger babes helps a million too ;) xx

  6. Can your family adopt me? My sisters took after my mum- all 3 are slim blond but tanned where I took more after my dad and a lot darker. Unfortunately my dad is also super tanned and a fit builder where I'm fat.
    So I look like the odd one out- everyone says I'm the milkmans because personality I'm completely different but my family aren't quite as supportive.
    Every other day my mum suggests a diet and if I want to go "normal clothes shopping" or when I'm going to "get married and live a normal life" rather than be career driven. It sucks- I want your family!!!

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