The Vagaggle: Say Hello To My Gremlin
I’m going on my first group holiday, exciting right? I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to do it - it’s going to be a week of sun and fun. But there’s a reason it’s taken me this long, and that’s because whenever I contemplate going away I can’t help but feel like the token fat friend. Well that, and a whole load of control issues to do with planning that would take years to write about, so we’ll just stick with the fat one for the moment. I have always felt like the fat friend, even when I was a size 12; for some reason I only seem to make friends with people who look like supermodels.
Don’t get me wrong, I am excited, like beyond excited, I’m going with the most incredible group of people and we’re going to have the most amazing time. Also I just want to point out that none of my friends have ever made me feel this way, and that these are my own insecurities and doubts manifesting themselves, but we live in a culture of comparison and competition and by beauty culture’s standards, I’m losing the race.
Here’s the thing: we’ve been brought up to want to look anyone and anything but ourselves. Constant bombardment of how to get her legs, how to get his abs, how to get her butt, day in day out. No matter where you turn there are the forever pervasive red flags that your body is inadequate. Despite avoiding all women’s magazines with harmful messages and unfollowing celebrities that promote diet culture, it’s still ingrained in my brain, and it’s taking a lot of hard work to destroy those feelings of inadequacy. Stick to what you know, distract people from your body by being loud and cracking jokes. Don’t let them see the flesh that is dying to be unleashed from your cover up. Stay the funny fat friend who provides the comic relief for the group of supermodel humans you hang out with. Be the Lena Dunham of your squad (which, for the record, I am not the biggest fan of being).
I wish I could say that I’m strong enough in my body confidence to throw caution to the wind, put on my bikini and have a whale of a time, but, at this moment in time, I’m not. And that’s important to admit, especially when on my Instagram feed it looks like I do not give a fuck. I am not afraid to admit to you all that, at this moment in time, I do give many fucks. I am currently learning a new type of love and unlearning bad habits, growing as a person both inside and out. With that comes the slip ups, and the occasional breakthrough of the gremlin in my mind who tells me I’m not good enough, pretty enough, thin enough, brave enough. And the moment the message came through to say the holiday was booked, the gremlin reared his head and came gallivanting all the way to the forefront of my mind. And there he has sat for a while now.
At the same time, that gremlin is the reason I do what I do. It’s the reason why my Instagram feed is full of fat babes loving life in their bikinis. It’s the reason I’ve shared bikini posts on my feed. Because there’s nothing I love more than saying ‘fuck you’ to someone who tells me I can’t do something. And I hope it helps someone else to say ‘fuck you’ to their gremlin too. This piece may seem a bit drenched in self-pity, but trust me, I’m not looking for pity, or sympathy, or validation. I’m looking for your anger. Get angry at all the times your gremlin has held you back, feed that little motherfucker after midnight until it chokes on its words. Look at the world around you and get angry. Angry at all the times it’s held you back from doing something because you didn’t look the way society wanted you to. Angry at all the experiences you have missed. Angry at all the times you were made to feel ‘less than’ because of your appearance. Because I’ll be damned if I miss out on anymore cool shit because of my gremlin.
I wish this column could end with a step-by-step guide on how to get rid of your gremlin permanently but I can’t write that for you, because as of yet I myself don’t know how I’m going to do it. The only thing I can recommend is to keep going, keep that anger burning in your chest and don’t let the gremlins win. I’m going to have an amazing holiday and I will be sharing it with all of you, but if the gremlin had his way I would’ve dropped out at the first mention of it. Maybe I’ll get there and wear a bikini everyday and feel awesome, maybe I’ll get there and feel like I need to cover up. I don’t know yet, but I do know that both are okay, because at least I am doing it. Fuck the gremlins, and peace out.