Coming out of my cage…

The R number is going in the right direction & phase 3 is here. Is everyone else as excited as I am? I’m still going to be staying at home rather a lot, but at least now I have options.

Obviously, I chose the boy & his Mama for my first excursion. I’m elated to know I can also see other people I’ve been missing like crazy. Today we tried out Cranside Kitchen , a lovely outdoor bar & restaurant. It’s entirely outdoors, but has a some shelter if required. I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to relax, but I actually felt very safe. The tables are nicely spaced & the staff have gloves etc. It was so lovely to sit in the sun & eat some yummy food (that I didn’t have to make). I even had some new purchases to try out making it an excellent Friday.

Brunch food
Plus size woman reading toddler a story
Plus size woman in beer garden wearing sheer dress with yellow skirt & crop top underneath
Sheer Dress – Monki
Kimono- Boohoo
Skirt – Primark
Crop Top – Primsrk
Sunglasses – Where.light
Sandals – Next

The boy seemed to enjoy being out in the world again. He loved his sausages & was very taken with the Finnieston crane. We followed up brunch with a trip to an almost empty bookshop. Again I was pleasantly surprised by how considerate everyone was. Hand sanitiser by the door, everyone in masks, folk very careful to keep their distance. I’m hoping Glasgow is going to smash easing lockdown sensibly.

Toddler in shorts & rainbow jacket looking at books on shelves

Books purchased & nap taken there was just times to hit the park. We had it mostly to ourselves & I discovered a kids toy that makes my aching back feel much better. How do I go about having one installed in my garden?

I don’t understand how it can be, but this is most comfortable I’ve been in weeks.

You keep making me ill…

Body Positivity has crept into the public conversation. On the surface it seems body diversity is gaining ground. We see larger models in ad campaigns. The high street is beginning to pay a little more attention to fat customers. Social Media is awash with bopo content. However, if you scratch the surface virulent fat phobia still thrives. Any progress is good, but the dangerous aspects of weight stigma remains strong. Medical bias against fat bodies wreaks havoc. As a chronically ill fat woman I frequently face this issue. In ten years of battling illness and the medical community, I have seen little improvement.

When I began having health issues, I accepted the consensus that was fat was bad and thin was good. I was in the process of some seriously unhealthy dieting when I initially experienced quite serious gastric pain. There were other symptoms, vomiting & difficulty eating, but pain was the standout. I progressed from short bursts to hour long stints of excruciating pain. My GP said it was most likely indigestion and/or heart burn. They could be surprisingly painful, I was told. Change my diet, lose some weight and things will improve. I tightened up my already drastic diet and continued to lose weight. My symptoms did not improve. In fact, they worsened. I began to have prolonged periods of pain. It would last for days at a time, leaving me unable to eat or move or sleep. It felt torturous. By this time, I was being sent to A&E by my GP and attending myself when the pain become unbearable. Drs continued to tell me it was heartburn/indigestion. They all said the same thing, change your diet and lose weight. I was prescribed omeprazole but had no investigation. No one listened when I told then I was hardly eating. No one cared that I was losing lots of weight. All the DR’s were dismissive of my pain. Most were patronising. Some were hostile. No one helped. This continued for over a year. On my penultimate visit to A&E I was in so much pain I could barely talk. I had thrown up so much that I was only bringing up bile & blood. I saw a deeply unpleasant man who vacillated between me being an hysterical woman and being convinced I was an addict seeking drugs. He gave me a cup of peptac (which I promptly threw up) and sent me home. I felt utterly beaten that night. I knew something was very wrong.There was no way I could feel this bad and there not be problem. But no one would listen. I was tired of being judged and looked down upon. I went home and cried.

Luckily, my mum visited me a few hours later. She was shocked when she saw the state I was in and insisted we return to A&E. With someone fighting (& I do mean fighting) fit to advocate for me I was finally taken seriously. A Dr finally ordered the simple blood test that would diagnose me with pancreatitis. By the time those bloods results came back my body had gone into shock. Had I not returned to the hospital that night I would have likely died. I spent 7 days in HDU. I was catheterised. Fed only fluids via drip and given a morphine pump. I don’t even recall that first week in hospital.

Afterwards I discovered that although I didn’t fit the usual profile for pancreatitis (often older men, big meat eaters, heavy drinkers), I did have classic symptoms. The pain I had been describing was textbook. The onset and progression of symptoms was exactly what was to be expected of pancreatitis. Had someone taken a minute to listen to me I could have been diagnosed on my first trip to A&E. I really believe if I hadn’t been a fat woman, that’s probably what would have happened.

I had several more bouts of pancreatitis and a number of gallbladder issues were diagnosed in the subsequent months. Ironically, I was to discover that my weight was not the problem. The most likely culprit was spending my 20’s yo-yo dieting. The fad dieting & resultant weight loss that Dr’s had always encouraged made me ill.

Almost dying because medical professionals wouldn’t look past the size of my belly wasn’t horror enough, I have also since been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. A condition I did not suffer from before all the trouble with my pancreas. Pain specialists have told me that the physical and emotional trauma of such a prolonged period of undiagnosed severe illness is likely to have caused the fibro. So, I not only had to suffer multiple times with acute pancreatitis, I will now deal with chronic pain for the rest of my life. I wonder how different my story would if I were a size 10.

Near death experiences aside, almost every medical interaction I have involves some discussion about my weight. With multiple chronic conditions I am a complicated case. Every new symptom no matter how unconnected involves answering questions and listening to lectures about how fat I am. I must push for investigations & interventions because the first advice is always ‘lose weight’. Often, I must identify possible problems via my own research. You would be shocked at the number of times professionals have dismissed my concerns only for my theory to be confirmed when they finally do the necessary tests. I have my cholesterol, blood sugar and pressure tested an inordinate number of times and am usually met with shock that they all measure within ideal levels. When I tell medical professionals that I do not wish to discuss weight loss, my request is usually ignored. Explaining that I endured years of disordered eating and misery related to trying to reduce my size has no impact. My mental wellbeing seems entirely unimportant. Even when I am brutally honest about the fact the I used to starve myself, purge & use appetite suppressants Dr’s still advise diet plans. When my eating was at its most disordered, I was never dangerously thin. So, I was never considered at risk. The sizest attitude towards eating disorders is a whole safety issue in itself. For the record I am vegan with digestive issues that limit my diet. It would be difficult for me substantially change what I eat even if I was inclined to. All this falls on deaf ears. Weight loss remains a priority for almost every Dr I see. When I have stomach flares and lose weight because I can’t eat, I am congratulated. When I am in hospital unable to stop vomiting nurses will joke, they wish they couldn’t eat for a while. It is relentless and exhausting.

*

It really doesn’t have to be this way. Fat does not necessarily mean unhealthy. Even for those who would benefit from lifestyle changes will not be motivated by harsh judgement. The impact on mental health of all this fat shaming is enormous. We know that diets do not work. Most people regain all the weight they lose and more within a year. We also know that yo-yo dieting damages our bodies. Medical weight stigma makes people less inclined to seek medical advice. If you know you will be shamed and belittled and ultimately get no help anyway, you stop asking. This bias against fat patients is dangerous on so many levels. It’s a risk to our mental health, to our physical wellbeing and to our very lives.

* health-and-the-fat-girl.tumblr.com

The sky is more blue…

I left the house yesterday. It was the first I’d been out in months. Since the First Minister gave the nod to relax lockdown I was allowed to spend time with people in real life. It was a glorious day for sitting in the park. It felt delicious to have the sun on my skin & sublime to see this boy.

We found a lovely spot that offered shade for me & sun for my sister. There we had a natter whilst the boy ran around. He picked some buttercups, blew some wishes and made his auntie so happy.

For my temporary return to the world I had a brand new outfit. I bought this Boohoo co-ord a while ago, but hadn’t bothered trying it on as I had no where to go. It’s in the sale now, if you like it snap it up fast. I sized up because their tops are always small (especially cropped). The 24 skirt is on the big side, but a smaller top would never have accommodated my boobs.

Plus size women wearing paisley print skirt  &  crop top in a park
Skirt & Top – Boohoo

I think this might become a fav if we have another hot summer. I am useless in the heat. This light floaty number will be great for long sunny days. Perhaps by the end of the season I may be able to see more of my people.

Trees and grass in sunny park

Ain’t no place like home…

We’re not going anywhere & lots of are finding much of our work has vanished. If like me your anxiety is spiralling distraction is just the ticket. So, here’s a bunch of things I have been enjoying. Hopefully they’ll help you pass some time.

I’ll kick off with excellent things you can stream. I’m new to Amazon Prime & not sure I’ll keep it, but I do recommend that you take advantage of the free trial to watch Hunters. It is all kinds of awesome. Set in the 70’s it follows a group of Nazi hunting crusaders. It has a slight Tarantino seasoning & lots of nods to the current political climate. Well worth a watch.

Hunters poster

Netflix is sheltering a few hidden gems at the moment. Wasteland is a revenge heist set in a distinctly unglamorous council estate. It’s clever & engaging. Hangman is a mostly unnoticed serial killer thriller. It features a decent turn from Al Pacino & enough sentiment to balance the gore. Finally there is Thanks for Sharing, a romantic drama/buddy movie about sex addicts. It’s much more uplifting than it sounds. Give it a bash.

I used another free trial to have a gander at Shudder. I used to find horror films too scary, but for some reason I have come around to them. As streaming apps go, shudder is disappointing, but I did find one cracker. Revenge sees an underestimated young women seek retribution against three gross men. It’s very full on, but has a satisfying ark (TW – Sexual Assault).

Revenge poster

The i player has both series of Shrill, which are definitely binge worthy. Based on the book of the same name by Lindy West it follows a women’s body liberation journey. Amazing watch for those on the Bopo path and brilliant primer for slim folks wanting to understand some of the fat experience. Oh & it is funny, sexy & smart.

Shrill poster

All 4 has a gorgeous new comedy by Mae Martin. It takes a bittersweet look at love & addiction. It’s funny & sweet with some proper touching moments. If you liked This Way Up (still on there if haven’t seen it yet) this is the one for you.

Two women dancing in neon lit room

You’ll have to pay a couple of quid, but The Kitchen on Sky Movies is worth it. It’s a gangster flick with a twist. Strong female leads all turning in tip top performances plus thrills & spills without a depressing end.

If you are all tv’d out it might be time to switch mediums. My new favourite relaxation method is getting in bed & firing up a podcast. I am currently obsessed with three. All Killa No Filla is fueled by the genius of stand ups Kiri Pritchard McClean and Rachel Fairburn, Both are hilarious & their woke take on the true crime genre is even better. If you’re interested in serial killers, but sick of the sensational & often misogynist approach these are your girls. Episodes consist of well researched information and random (unbelievably funny) sidebars. I eagerly await each new offering.

All killa no Filla logo

Myths & Legends does exactly what you would imagine. Each episode takes you through a different myth, folklore or legend filling in all the details you might have previously missed. If you’re interested in the origins of the stories you half know, give this a listen.

My newest discovery is Behind the Bastards. Journalist Robert Evans invites a guest to delve into the lives of histories biggest bastards. Intensely researched & surprisingly entertaining there’s even a some nonsense with machetes. What more could you want?

Instagram stay home logo on black background

Maybe I’m amazed…

International Women’s Day is coming right up and that feels like a great excuse to celebrate women helping women. My March charities of the month are two awesome organisations doing amazing work for women in Glasgow.

SAY focus on providing semi supported accommodation for young survivors of sexual abuse who have no safe place to live. They also have a resource centre to provide practical & mental health support. Plus provide training for other orgs working with women who have experience sexual abuse and/or domestic violence. This is vital work. Escaping sexual abuse leads to homelessness for too many young women. Having a soft place to land can save and change lives. I am in awe of the work SAY is undertaking.

Glasgow Women’s library logo

I am equally impressed with the amazing Glasgow Women’s Library. This inspiring institution is the only accredited museum in the uk that is entirely dedicated to the lives of women. They maintain a wonderful lending library that is open to all. Whilst also running an exceptional education programme. Many of their courses and events are open to all. They also provide opportunities more tailored to specific groups. I can not shout loud enough about this inclusive, safe space. So often the achievements of women are ignored, it is refreshing to discover a place solely dedicated to recording our history.

SAY glasgow logo

These are two of many organisations working hard to support and uplift women. Women fighting to make the lives of our sisters better is a truly beautiful thing. Please give generously if you can.

Check my nails…

I’m finding all this stormy weather a bit of a style block. It’s hard to look put together in a gale. The desire to stay even somewhat warm & dry is cramping my sartorial creativity. I have therefore expressed my individuality on my finger nails.

The Baba helped me select a new sparkly polish & I used it to full effect on this shatter design.

I can never get enough of that glossy black polish.

The non stop downpour inspired me to get a little nautical. There is certainly more romance on a wild sea than a drenched city street.

All those grey skies called for a little colour.

If a little colour feels good, one might as well go for a lot of colour too.

January girl…

January is turning into quite a challenge on both physical & mental health fronts. Mood dips at this time of year are predictable, but this feels like it’s edging towards more than that. Thus, I am doing the sensible thing & taking a rest.

I’ll be still be sharing other people’s cool stuff & perhaps bits from the archives. There’ll be a pause on new content. If you begin to miss me, you can find me here & here.

Black and white cat lying in back with text, paused for inner maintenance

Tits the season…

It’s not xmas without a bit of velvet. This year I have been eyeing up various wide leg velvety trousers. I love the look, but I rarely wear trousers, so I’ve been wary. Well, I finally settled on an excellent pair & today I wore the hell out of them.

I don’t know what I was so nervous about. They are bloody awesome. The paper bag high waist is very cute. They’re cosy & comfy. Even better they’re versatile. For my first outing I went casual with my amusing Xmas tee.

Plus size woman in black velvet trs, black t shirt & yellow cardi

Trousers – Elvi

T- Shirt – The Paper Press Ireland

Cardigan – Asos

Boots – Gift

All black was a little too calm for me so I flung on the brightest cardi I own & stuck some glittery baseball boots on my feet. I absolutely love these boots. They were a gift from my Mum a couple of years ago. Unfortunately neither of us can remember where she got them.

ly h Kerr Xmas t shirt

Earrings – Accessorize

This year’s take on the Xmas jumper is wee bit cheeky (like me). I got plenty of compliments on my ‘Tits the season’ message. I’ll be donning these velvet beauties again for the big day. Stay tuned for the luxe styling.

My week (ish) in pictures…

It’s been a bit up and down of late. Thankfully the highs are good enough to get me through the dips. Plus Xmas is close & I’m definitely beginning to feel merrier. So, let’s have a we round up of goings on before I get swept up in all the festivities.

Last week I had some Xmassy cocktails with my favourite man. I took a trip to the very rainy seaside to do some giggling with my lovely Lisa & her equally lovely boy. I checked Edinburgh’s pretty lights on the way home. Of course I spread a little #projectpostit wisdom as I went.

I did a whole bunch of rascalling with my middle nephew; including cinema trips & fun in GoMA studio. Hung out with all three boys together & did some excellent FaceTiming with my big muffin. We got started on all things Santa & I even wrapped the first of the presents.

This week involved another Edinburgh visit for an exciting meeting. Followed by a lost bank card, lots of stress & some big glasses of wine with my favourite man to save the day. It was a perfect winter day; freezing cold, but crisp & dry. The light was dreamy.

Back home I lost a battle with some frost & my driveway. Snuggled with my puss cat & put the tree up.

I had a little sister time. Got seasonal with my nail art & snapped all sorts of things that took my fancy.

Oh Christmas tree…

We’ve hit December and it’s officially Christmas season. It is time to get festive. Most of us are lucky enough to have people to share food & love & gifts with. It’s incumbent upon us to think of those less fortunate whilst we enjoy our jollies.

With that in mind I’m going to suggest more than one charity this month. Pick your favourite, donate to all or just do whatever you can. First up, Giving Tree. It’s organised by Kids Out, a charity who aim to give disadvantaged children (many in refuge to escape domestic violence) positive experiences. At Xmas they do giving tree to give children who may not otherwise receive presents a gift that they would like. I saw this one at Braehead in Glasgow, but there are tonnes of similar schemes all over. You take a tag from the tree & buy the requested present.

Christmas tree with gift tags

Instructions for giving tree

I absolutely love this idea, but reading the tags broke my heart. All of the requests are so modest. I couldn’t help but think of how often I buy my little ones treats for no reason special reason at all. Every child child should be showered with love & blanketed in safety. Beyond that they shouldn’t ever have to wake up to disappoint on Christmas morning. Nor should any parent have to face the task of explaining why Santa isn’t coming.

Gift tags with present requests

I couldn’t resist picking up two tags. The thought of this baby still waiting for their first book was too sad. There are still lots of gift tags awaiting a kind soul. It’s so easy to make life a little brighter for these wee ones. Please help Santa reach them if you can.

Giving tree gift tag