I also remember thinking, you have come a long way since wearing evans shapeless v neck jumpers, and awful ill fitting jeans, and giving up trying to find any clothes that represented how I felt on the inside. I was always really happy with the way these came out, and most of all, they celebrated my fatness in a way I hadn't really done before, so that is why I chose this picture to accompany my tweet for the #WeAreTheThey campaign.
It had been a mixed week for Plus Size bloggers, 'Plus Sized Wars' had just aired and I was expecting an awful backlash, and for my friends to be heavily edited and it to be rather negative. All day I had been anxious about it, and then when I watched it I breathed a sigh of relief and cried at the end. I was so proud of my friends, and I had a flurry of texts and Facebook messages from friends and family saying they had watched it and it had moved them. Even the girls at the post office watched it and told me how they felt so good watching it.
But then the think pieces and discussions came. I don't really get upset over comments by celebrities or famous personalities regarding health and fat and plus size. I will put my two pennies worth on twitter, shake my head and think, well there isn't anything we can do to change the minds of these people. It's like my motto - never read the comments; no good will come of it. But when I read what Jamelia said on Loose Women (a show I try and avoid) I sat down in my workshop and cried. A woman had said that she wished for people like me, outside of the standard dress sizes, to feel DISCOMFORT, i.e. to feel ashamed, to hide away, to feel anxious, to feel a physical and or mental feeling of pain, and why? So we can take all this awful feeling and harness it so we can lose weight? So we don't have to disgust other members of the public by being in their sight, relegated to the handful of shops that do plus sized ranges, hidden away in the dark recesses of the unit, filled with black clothes that are created to look 'slimming'? Or so we can take stock and realise that we are fat and therefore - unhealthy?
I got news for you Jamelia you saying things like this isn't going to shock me into losing weight, your throw away comments aren't brand new revelations to me or the hoards of other plus size people, WE ARE FORCED TO THINK ABOUT THIS EVERY SINGLE DAY OF OUR LIVES. Ask any plus size person if they have ever dieted before, because the answer is yes. You ask the most put together body confident fat accepting person if they ever have creeping doubts and down days about their appearance, they do. You ask a fat person if they ever worry about their lifestyle and their future and their health, THEY DO. All your comments did was reveal that you are thoughtless, you spoke about plus sized people as though they were things, fat disgusting objects who have no lives, feelings, relationships, who shouldn't be allowed out of their houses to do a basic thing like clothes shopping.
So #WeAreTheThey happened, these comments were the straw that broke the camels back, Already high on the waves that Plus Size Wars had bought us, it was easy for the plus size community to morph together to make a fabulous fat globulous force to be reckoned with, spearheaded by the Plus Size Queen that is Debz from Wannabe Princess. Within all the Facebook groups and blogs, Debz encouraged that we tell the world that plus sized people are not a faceless 'they' we are people with feelings, that want to wear amazing clothes that make us feel good, we are the they that people were talking about. And people took notice. Within hours #WeAreTheThey was trending on twitter, and the next day I was in the Daily Mail (something I never thought I would say) and there was little old me and my tweet and my fantastic chub picture, then the Mirror had picked it up, then the Yahoo front page, and the Daily Edge and then countless other media outlets! I don't know if I have been selective in my reading but I haven't read a negative piece yet!
Yesterday, Debz messaged me on Facebook to tell me that #WeAreTheThey had been picked up in Now Magazine and my picture and tweet had been featured. There I was, on the same pages as Tess Munster and Amber Rose, ME! Charlotte who once upon a time was so desperately unhappy with her life and weight as a contributing factor to that, that suicide had been an option.
I know I have gone on a lot in this post, and I hope that some of you have got to the end(!) but it occurred to me today that if I was not fat, then I wouldn't have made the fat bitch necklace which launched Black Heart Creatives from small etsy hobby into a thriving making my living business. I wouldn't have judged a show at Bristol Fashion week, I wouldn't have started my blog six years ago, and I wouldn't be in Now Magazine and national news papers. Not everyone can say that can they?
A huge thank you to Debz, you were one of my first customers and have championed me in so many ways, whenever I am talking to other Plus Sized babes, your name always comes up and no one has a negative thing to say about you. I honestly don't think the PS community would be in the place it is in now without you.