Not to blame…

As this pandemic continues to wreak havoc there is an increasing need for a scapegoat. Predictably, fat people have become a convenient target. Navigating this strange new world is hard enough without all the finger pointing.

Magnified image of covid virus

If you’re feeling hounded, I get it. I’m fiercely fat positive & always prepared to fly the body liberation flag. Even I am finding the constant barrage of fat phobia exhausting. With our feckless PM giving credence to a BMI/Covid link and the tabloids eating it up it is understandable that we feel attacked. When the government makes weight stigma policy it absolutely feeds the trolls.

For the record, losing 5lbs will not make you less likely to contract covid nor will it effect the severity of the virus if you do. Like much of the Tories covid 19 response it is not rooted in science. In fact, it is too early for any studies to provide reliable data on the impact of covid on fat bodies. Especially when the intersections with poverty, disability, poor medical care etc are often not factored into research.

Fat phobic newspaper headlines

You are not irresponsible for living in a fat body. You are not a burden on the NHS. You are deserving of the same care & respect as anyone else. If you need help reinforcing these facts or dealing with others who refuse to accept them I highly recommend checking out the resources below. I have linked to their Instagram accounts from which you can find all their links/books.

Jess Campbell (haes_studentdoctor) is as her insta implies a student doctor with a Health at Every Size approach. She shares excellent information in a really straightforward manner.

Dr Natasha Larmie (fatdruk) is a GP in the UK who campaigns to end medical weight stigma. She shares her own experience along with insightful analysis. Definitely a must follow.

If you aren’t already aware of Dr Joshua Wolrich where have you been? He is an NHS surgical doctor who promotes HAES, debunks junk weight loss science & has a much anticipated book due very soon.

Lindo Bacon is a body liberation author, speaker & researcher. Their first book, Health at Every Size completely changed my understanding of how my body works & the effect of dieting. I cannot recommend their work enough.

Image of book,  health at every size lindo bacon

I only recently discovered HPWAS (Health Professionals Against Weight Stigma) and I am so glad. As a fat person it can be difficult to deal with the medical community. It is therefore very reassuring to know there are professionals trying to change things from within. They are currently collecting lived experiences of medical fat phobia. Please do consider sharing if you feel able.

Big fat love to everyone struggling.

I wear it like a tattoo….

Body modifications have always appealed to me. I have only gone so far as piercings & tattoos, but more extreme mods still interest me. I’ve experimented quite a bit with piercings from traditional ears to belly button to finger piercings. I’ve had a fair few rejected piercings, but seem to have finally got the found exactly which types my body will accept. I consider my body art to be a big part of my style. I think they perfectly compliment my quirky tastes.

At the moment I have 13 different piercings & I thought I’d give you a look at the more interesting one. I shall start with my scaffold. I’ve had this one for around 3yrs & I love it now. However, it is definitely not the easiest of my piercings. It is a little painful as its two holes through cartilage, but the main issue is healing time. Mine took a long time, well over a year, to be completely healed. If you’re looking for low maintenance perhaps not the thing for you. It does look pretty striking though.
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Next up, my boob piercing. I tend to be drawn to anything that’s a tad unusual. I don’t want to look just like everyone else, which is probably part of why I indulge in body mods in the first place. This is my favourite piercing. Mainly because I’ve never seen anyone else with one & I am told it’s pretty damn sexy. This is a micro dermal, so it’s semi-permanent. My body is unlikely to tolerate it forever, but they can last for several years. I wear a diamanté and I adore the tiny sparkle when wearing low cut outfits. It adds to funky twist to a little black dress.

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I have another couple of micro dermals sitting just below my collar bone. I had the first done in Brisbane & it was so cute that I decided to have another when I got home. These beauties have kick started the piercing bug again. I expect I will end up with them dotted all over my body. I wear plain silver jewellery in these as I think the simple look is more effective.

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Tattoos are very personal for me. All of my body art means something very particular. As a writer & an avid reader I have always found the written word to be the easiest & best way to express my feelings, therefore my tats are all text. I have another planned & it too will be words in the form of poetry. So far I have five tattoos. I am incredibly happy with all of them.

My first foray into ink was many years ago. I started with the word imagine on my right foot. I am always being told that foot tattoos are really painful, but that hasn’t been my experience. I didn’t find the foot to be significantly more painful than any other part of my body. I started small & classic, which I think was a wise decision. I am obviously a huge Lennon fan, but also fascinated with the power of imagination. I enjoy carrying a little bit of my hero around with me every day. More importantly I have a whisper of my ideals stamped on my body.

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Having dipped my toe into the tattoo world I quickly wanted to immerse myself. I suppose I decided to continue from my feet up, as my next tat was on my left foot. This one was more cathartic as it marks the loss of my baby. I wanted to commemorate my boy without being morbid. I opted for roman numerals of what would have been his date of birth. In the aftermath of my miscarriage I struggled with having very few concrete reminders of my baby. This tattoo helped with the healing process & allowed me to have him visibly with me, always. The art work of this tattoo is again simple, but I find it beautiful.

My next tattoo marks the life of an extraordinary woman. Jo was a very dear friend who tragically took her life. She fought hard against cruel circumstances. No matter how much pain she endured she always brought kindness & warmth to those around her. She saved me & many others; it is an enormous tragedy that we couldn’t do the same for her. Jo was a beautiful person. As a proud New Zealander she would routinely sign off notes & emails with the Maori greeting, arohanui. It means ‘big love’, something she always endeavoured to spread. I wanted a tribute to this remarkable friend & arohanui seemed right. I actually chose characters from a few complimentary fonts & put them together in the hope of making my tattoo unique. Aesthetically I think it works. As an act of love I feel it succeeds too.

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I am keen on an element of balance, so I placed my fourth tattoo on my opposite arm. This piece is inspired by favourite poetry & prose. The fact that this line appeared in two favourite works is a lovely coincidence. It makes the quote doubly dear to me. I studied the cycle of poetry, die schone mullerin by Wilhelm Müller at university and was struck by the beauty of the words. Shortly after my first exposure I discovered ‘the travelling hornplayer’ by Barbara Trapido and revelled in the way she referenced the poetry. This line stood out as it reflected the tone of my own life at that time. It accurately expressed things I had been scrambling to put to into words. The melancholy, romance & hope infused in the words sung to me. I knew I wanted to mark my body with it. To add a piece of me to the design I had the tattoo in my own hand writing. Again hoping that this ensured no one would ever have an identical piece.

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the stars are too high

 

My most recent body art is taken from the bible. An odd choice for a person who rejects organised religion. It’s taken from Isiah, but has no religious connotations for me. My gran was a practising catholic & this quote hung on a plaque by her front door. It’s something I vividly remember from my childhood. These simple words embody so much of what my gran meant to me. They say love, safety & acceptance. They also encapsulate the lasting influence our relationship has had on me.

 

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I will never forget you

I have carved you on the palm of my hand.

 

Sade Like a tattoo