Author: Sarah Giles
My butt wobbles when I walk. Thighs rub together, the friction thinning out the fabric of my jeans until they’re one wrong move away from busting open.
I have a fleshy belly that jiggles when I hop in and out of the shower. It’s soft and pillow-like; a boy might rest his head on it in a park somewhere and sleep soundly in the sunlight. Sometimes it spills over the waistband of pants that are a little too tight, and I disguise it with a carefully selected top.
My breasts are asymmetrical. Lefty is a fraction smaller than righty but only someone who got in close would notice. Perhaps they feel different, fit differently in the palm of a hand.
I like my hands with their long, but not spindly, fingers. Freckles are dotted sporadically over them and if you pay close enough attention you’ll feel the presence of scars from a childhood accident that peeled back skin. Thin white lines along the sides of my fingers where the flesh grew back together. Binding with new cells.
My big butt has been called a ‘ghetto booty’, in an incredibly racist way. You know, in the days before white people started appropriating black physical features. The boys at my school called me ‘thunder thighs’ and they’d make loud crashing noises when they saw me approaching.
The soft stomach I proudly bare has been compared to Santa’s ‘bowl full of jelly', and I was shamed, pre-puberty, for being flat chested. I have man hands. And cellulite that I have always been encouraged to cover up.
I’ve been told that I know ‘how to dress for my body type’ and that ‘some bigger girls just don’t understand that crop tops and mini skirts aren’t for them’, but apparently I know.
My body has always been a source of amusement, comment or discomfort. It has been a talking point and a joke. It is an object, and a weapon to use against me. My body isn’t mine. This body that I live in belongs to the people who lay eyes on it and I should always be doing my due diligence to make them comfortable.
Girls like me don’t get to be picky when choosing who we want to kiss. We should feel lucky to be kissed at all. And we don’t get to decide what we feel comfortable wearing. We are designated only large sacks that hide our back fat and muffin-tops.
I don't feel comfortable showing my midriff or thighs in public, I don’t like wearing tops and dresses that show too much cleavage and maybe that’s because of the way I’ve been conditioned to think about my body. But it’s up to me to decide. It’s up to each individual to decide how they want to celebrate their body and if that means a fat girl wears a crop top or a form fitting dress or a short skirt then the world is going to have to get the fuck over it because there is no ‘right way’ for a fat person to dress.
My body is my own. I am taking it back. I am claiming ownership, the deeds are mine and I will flourish in the curve of my waist and the shape of my breasts and in every dimple of cellulite I will find joy. I will dance to the beat of every step I take and when my thighs clap together I will sing because this body belongs to me.
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