We need to chat about my fat that you're staring at...

Bethany Roach

I was recently contacted by a company that asked if I wanted to try out and review their shapewear on social media. That’s pretty cool, right? It’s kind of dreamy because if you look at social media influencers, it seems like they are living their best lives. They get to try cool stuff, talk about what they love, and share things that matter to them. What’s not to love about that? It sounds like a blast! I’d love to do this! However—and maybe it’s in bad form (...a little pun for the punsters)—I don’t want to talk about shapewear. And, at the risk of never having any opportunities to share any cool products throughout my blogging career, I want to tell you why.

I’m fat, so it definitely seems like I’d be a good candidate to talk about shapewear! I know a lot of people really love shapewear, and I think that’s awesome. It’s just that I’m kind of tired of being contacted by people who think that, as a fat person, I’ll obviously love their get-skinny product. My body and I? We’ve been through some tough shit together. I’ve had several really traumatic pregnancies that have made my hormones go kind of bonkers, and my last one was especially difficult. I had a very severe pregnancy condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum, and I felt like I was clinging to life most days. Post-pregnancy, it’s left a painful aftermath of tooth decay, throat ulcers, and some tough days for this fat body.

I also have severe postpartum anxiety and depression, and my medication has helped me add on the pounds. I have a lot of disordered eating habits that involve me barely getting enough calories each day. I have an almost post-traumatic response to eating, because my brain now associates eating with spending the night in the hospital receiving bag after bag of fluids. When I’m most anxious about this nexus of body issues, I become hyper aware of the space that I’m taking up. If I bump my cart into something at the idiotically re-organized Target, suddenly I’ll have a twinge of if I weren’t so fat, I wouldn’t have knocked my cart into this end cap. Or wow, I’m at Ulta and the employees are asking all of the skinny women if they want help but no one is offering to help me...BECAUSE I AM FAT.  

In those moments, I have to remind myself that it doesn’t matter how much space I’m taking up in the physical realm because it’s my spirit that wants to feels small. It wants to feel like it’s shrunken up and wrong and it isn’t worthy. Who is my consciousness that it gets to tell my spirit, my beautiful human spirit, that it’s unworthy?

And who is my spirit to tell my shell, my armor and protection on this planet, my body, that it’s unworthy?

I’ve been with my body through my darkest hours. It’s been my companion through my miscarriages, when I hated it and I wondered why it hated me. It helped me as I drove myself to the hospital in the middle of the night to the hospital because my ex-husband didn’t care that I had appendicitis. My body is the body is that many, many parents have wrapped their arms around while they are giving birth, while they writhe in pain and press their cheek to my chest to cope with a contraction in a moment of intimacy and vulnerability they didn’t expect.

So when it comes to my body, my heart’s chassis, I just can’t bring myself to try and distort it. I can’t tell my saggy belly that it’s wrong. I can’t tell my chins that they don’t belong with my boobs. I can’t tell my butt that it needs to be all packed into a casing so it’s shaped like a different butt. I just have to tell it “thank you for helping me be strong and for being with me when I really needed you the very most. I won’t pack you into crap.” Sorry, shapewear!

Bethany Roachnew, reference, babel