Those who trespass against us…

Were you taught to forgive & forget? I think forgiveness is a virtue that most children are encouraged to embrace. If like me you went to a Catholic (or any domination) school you likely had whole lessons on it. Parables, examples of Jesus forgiving all sorts of bad behaviour and even the big man himself wiping the slate clean a plenty. Forgiveness was a given.

White stone with words ‘I forgive you’ lying on sand

That all feels fairly reasonable as a kid. I bought into forgiveness being the decent thing. Then of course you get older. The stakes get a little higher. The religious teaching no longer hold sway and the concept of forgiving becomes very different. It is much harder to offer absolution to people who do terrible things & cause real harm. It gets complicated. Do we forgive people who never genuinely apologise? What about those who repeat the bad? And what about the whole forgetting part? Is it wise to wipe our memories of knowledge that may well protect us in the future?

Then there are the people who will tell you that forgiveness is solely about you. You forgive the trespasses, no matter how bad because it’s how you heal. Not forgiving is carrying the toxicity with you. Many times I hear supposedly wise folk advise that forgiving someone doesn’t mean what they did was ok. We do it for our own health. We can forgive and walk away. The key to our own peace is in the forgiveness.

None of that has ever made sense to me. If you remove the ‘what would Jesus do’ element (which I very much do), surely we offer pardons voluntarily? If we don’t feel remotely forgiving, why should we force it? To me, forgiveness is a two person activity. First of all, someone has to be sorry to even qualify. Secondly, they have to actually take steps to do better. Without these factors forgiveness is meaningless.

I don’t buy the forgiveness is for me spin either. It’s entirely possible to remove someone from your life without forgiving them. A person can move on without forgiving. People who hurt us don’t necessarily have to play a part in our healing journey. They don’t have to factor in our future lives at all. I do not believe that forcing myself to absolve a person I do not consider deserving of that mercy will bring anyone peace. If it feels right, it’s probably right. On the other hand, there are things in life that are unforgivable. That’s ok.

You don’t need my (or anyone else’s) permission, but if no one else has ever said it, please know you do not have to forgive. You can carry on, fix anything that person damaged, learn whatever lessons the issue presents and live a lovely life. I’ve done it. I have judged the actions of someone I once loved unforgivable. I won’t ever forgive that person. They did a heinous thing. They never offered me a satisfactory apology. Never made any effort to correct their behaviour. My refusal to discharge their wrongs hasn’t hampered me in any way. I removed them from my life. I had therapy. I had time. I took note of the signs I missed, the acts I accepted and I moved on. I don’t feel anything at all about that person now. I rarely think of them. When they occasionally come up in conjunction with other things I am unbothered. I’m good.

View of sea and cliffs off mull

Forgiveness is optional. It can’t be demanded or guilted from you. Choosing not to forgive is valid. It won’t make you bitter or stunt your healing. You are allowed to build a healthy and happy life on your terms. Never mind JC. Ask yourself what you want and do that.

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I am anything I want…

I’ve had another sleepless night and I used the extra hours to clean up outstanding admin. One of the tasks I enjoy the least is dealing with the angry dms/emails etc I get from random followers who hate fat, single woman being happy & online. Recently there has been a sharp upturn in the number of messages telling me I should be ashamed, i’m a bad influence, should have more self respect… To those I say, SUCK IT,

close up of red haired woman with retro glasses &  septum piercing sipping straw in iced drink

You’re not a slut (unless you like that term) if you enjoy lots of sex. Nudity is not inherently sexual and even when it is, it is not dirty. No one has to justify their sexual agency. I’m a grown ass woman with a healthy sex drive & I give zero fucks about what anyone thinks of that.

I have a sex life. Fat women are desired. I’ve had various partners. Some were great ideas others not so much. I’ve shed some tears, discovered things about myself, been frustrated & had a fucking ball. I’m am sick & tired of the contempt for female sexuality. I’ve regretted some of my sexcapades, but I’ve never been ashamed. In fact, I’m delighted to offer some high(& low)lights in service of the sex positive feminist agenda.

There was the Brazilian bus driver turned surgeon who was fun and precipitated an embarrassing incident.

The night club bouncer I fell arse over elbow for only to have him wreck my life.

The university professor who was kind, smart, committed & gorgeous, but just not the one.

The stunning aspiring stage actor who had the sexiest curves I’ve ever seen. She soothed my broken heart, boosted my self esteem and invited me to her wedding years later.

The film critic who gave great date and turned out to be full shit.

The part time novelist who was a talented writer (& lover), but wanted me much more once he couldn’t have me.

The librarian union rep who presented as the ultimate lefty. Unless it related to feminism, then he was the laziest of ‘not all men’ misogynists.

The post man who was just a terrible rebound mistake and had to get up way too early.

The student who’s very catholic Mum popped in when were having sex on the sofa. The 3 minutes it took me to find anything to hide behind were probably the most awkward of my life.

The bar manager who got clingy two dates in despite telling me she didn’t want anything serious.

The biologist who was fine really, but always thought he knew best. Good time in bed. Frustrating conversations.

The IT analyst who wanted to move way too fast. Very romantic, but scared the shit out of me with detailed future plans.

The tax man who started out a lot of fun. Settled into something comfortable. Ended up a huge cowardly disappointment.

The electrician who was a whirlwind. Crazy night outs. Cuddly weekends watching old movies. Fizzled out fast.

The newly divorced Mum who was actually pretty incredible, but really wanted to live the party girl life. I was just too old & tired for clubbing on a Wednesday.

The rugby player who was an entirely different person in front is his friends. I met a cool, sensitive guy. Every time we went to the pub I was with a rugby boy cliche. Big nope.

The lottery fund allocator who could have been perfect if i wasn’t so ridiculously bad at recognising the nice guys.

The mental health worker who was all erudite and kind. Big social conscious. Fostered rescue cats. Was also way too interested in my scars in bedroom. Creepy & ugh.

The photographer who was exciting & hilarious, but only because he took copious amount of cocaine. Pro tip ladies coke is no friend to the old erection.

And more.

I have a favourite who blew my mind. There were crazy hot folk, guys that others thought weren’t attractive at all, relationship, flings & the odd one nighter. It’s all fine. Every (consensual) sexual encounter was ok for me. Sex is fun. It’s natural. It can be as big or as little a deal as you feel it is.

ly is posing in black underwear with red faux suspenders tights . She has her arms above her head

Safe sex between consenting adults is A OK. Have as much or as little as you want. Talk about it or don’t. Your body is yours to do with as you please. Enjoy.

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Big is beautiful….

The Cosmopolitan website featured an interview with two fat women that caught my eye. Cosmo is not usually a publication I favour, but this interview was a rare beauty. An honest & mostly positive account of life as a plus sized woman. The article was a big hit with the plus size blogging community & a number of bloggers have answered the questions in their own words. I have decided to join the pack because the world needs more body positive voices.

How do you feel when other women around you complain about feeling/being fat?
This is a hard question for me because I have such mixed feelings. Of course it can make me feel bad when women who are much smaller than me complain about being fat, but I don’t think I have the right to police their thoughts & feelings. I am learning to love my body and I would like others to feel the same. However it’s not my place to tell others how they should feel about their bodies. I will always be supportive & body positive, but I’m not going to censure people for having insecurities.
How has your body image changed since high school/college?
I was slim when I was younger. I started to gain some weight at university, but I was far from plus sized. Despite that I always felt fat. I believed I was the biggest in my group of friends, wouldn’t wear certain types of clothes and generally didn’t feel very attractive. When I look back at pictures I realise this was nonsense. When I did actually become fat there wasn’t a huge shift in how I felt about myself as I already thought very negatively about my body.

Have you ever tried dieting? What happened?
Yush! I have dieted on & off for years. I am very successful at losing weight, but have never been able to maintain the loss. This is mostly because dieting always becomes very extreme for me. I start off trying to stick to a healthy eating plan, but it descends into a crazy regime. I usually end up restricting myself to about 500 cals a day, which anyone will tell you is not sustainable. I have also occasionally resorted to making myself sick. I’ll be honest, I feel fantastic when I lose huge amounts of weight. It just isn’t worth what I do to myself to achieve it.
Do you think in your case your weight is partly or entirely genetic?
I don’t think I have the kind of body that is ever going to be skinny, but no, my weight is not genetic.
Do you consider yourself healthy? Have there been instances where people assumed you were unhealthy?
I’m not healthy, but that has nothing to do with my weight. I am plagued by a number of chronic conditions, which greatly impact my life. On the other hand my cholesterol level is very good; my blood pressure is low and so on. Losing weight would not improve any of illnesses I suffer from.
Are your parents both supportive of the weight you are at? Have they always been?
Neither of my parents is ever cruel or forceful about their desire for me to lose weight, but I am aware that they would prefer me to be smaller. They have both been very happy when I have lost weight in the past.

How do you think retailers can improve clothes for plus-sized people?
Basically, I want the same clothes as smaller women. Just make all your clothes in bigger sizes & let me decide how I want to dress instead of making assumptions about what fat women want to wear. The only retailer I am aware of who do this are ASOS. I highly recommend their curve range. Oh & stop charging me so much.
Do you think plus-size women are judged differently than plus-sized men?
Yes. There are so many visible fat man on tv, films etc. Large men are portrayed as successful and attractive. You often see very fat men with gorgeous partners and fulfilling lives. On the other hand fat women in the media are usually the joke. They’re the stupid big women who thinks someone might be attracted to her (haha, gross) or the miserable failure. Male actors are allowed to be fat in a way that women are not. There is one version of female beauty in mainstream media and it is not fat.
Do you think there is an assumption made/stereotype that exists about plus-size people? How would you respond to it?
Lazy, unattractive, unsuccessful & unpopular. I respond to that by living my life complete with friends, accomplishments & hot men.
Do you think there is ever a right way or time to express concern about someone’s weight?
Do you suspect that someone has an eating disorder? If not, no.
What are the worst things people have said to you about your body?
I think I have been lucky in that I don’t often get negative comments about my weight. I’ve had men I’ve turned down resort to fat slurs. Similarly I have had a few people throw some names at me during arguments/disagreements. That doesn’t happen often & I tend not to keep folks like that in my life.

What have people said (or do you wish they’d say) that would complement your body or appearance?
I want to hear the same things as anyone else. I don’t need specific compliments because I’m fat.
Do you find yourself hanging out with women who are closer to your size?
Nope. I have friends of all shapes and sizes. Physical attributes have no impact on whom I form friendships with.
How has weight affected your sex life, if at all?
It hasn’t. To be honest I think I have a more active & exciting sex life than most of social circle.
When you’ve been single, has your weight affected your dating life?
Only in that I haven’t always felt attractive. I get the same amount of romantic attention fat as I did thin. It hasn’t stopped me dating anyone I wanted to date. Nor has anyone I’ve been in a relationship with ever had a problem with my size. I am sure there are people who look at me & think yuck, fat. Since I have no desire to date anyone harbouring those feelings it has no impact on my life.
Do you feel weird if the guy you’re with only dates larger women?
I would if he was only with me because I was fat, but that goes for any other single attribute. I want a person to want all of me. Having said that I have no problem with someone being attracted to larger women. If I did I would be saying there is something wrong with being fat. Why shouldn’t folk prefer fat women? As long as that’s not the only attraction, it’s fine with me.

Do you feel weird if he’s only dated slimmer women before?
No. I’m not really interested in who he’s dated before. He’s with me now; he clearly likes & fancies me. Who cares about the past?

You can find the original interview here
http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/fat-women-real-talk