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11/26/12

The Challenges of Being a Visible Bright-Haired Tattooed Fat Woman

I work with a mainly conservative dressed group. I see the scornful looks and I get questions and comments about my clothing, hair and tattoos that other people may not. Half the time, I think they are genuinely interested and the other half of the time I feel like I am being judged and they comment only because I have caught them eyeing me and they have to say something polite. And that is fucking annoying. So those times, I might just be having a bad day and I don't appreciate being treated like an oddity. I like when someone is genuinely feeling my vibe and says something nice while we are interacting. I would rather not be randomly approached or accosted by strangers who want to scream how pink my hair is, even though it is purple, or grab me and look deep into my eyes to tell me they have a tattoo and like mine without really saying which one. Try introducing yourself first you scary stranger!

A client that was not happy for reasons out of my control, commented about how I knew about shooting guns and that I was a tough chick with tattoos, as he hurled insults at me. He was very threatening and it immediately made me feel uncomfortable. My appearance can make me vulnerable to personal attacks. One can easily make assumptions or insult me based on what they see. Visually, I have a lot to choose from - fat, bright haired, tattooed, pierced, outlandish or whatever you want to call it. By the way, that guy was not cool and I really felt unsafe at that moment and went to get a manager to finish the transaction with him. On the other hand, children react like they are seeing something of wonder. They are not afraid. They usually stare with curiosity until they run into the back of their mother's legs because they haven't been keeping their eyes on the road. I haven't scared the shit out of a kid yet.

But, I sort of do stand out! I am 5'9" and at least 300 pounds. I take up space and I don't blend in with the background. I tend be the tallest and biggest person in the room and If I am wearing a hot pink dress with my heaving cleavage as an accessory, I get noticed. Assholes that hate fat people because they are fat, and do not approve of my existence, will try to pretend that fat people never did and never will exist. I have to say that I get a little satisfaction from being impossible to miss. I am fucking real. My body works 40 hours per week, dances, eats, fucks, creates and you will just have to accept my jiggling and rainbow of hues when you see me walking in public.

So why do I dress differently? Just like other aspects of my life, I become the woman I want to be. If I want to look like I walked off the set of Grease, Hairspray or Laverne & Shirley, then dammit, I am going to. If I swoon over candy colored hair and lips, then I am going to gravitate towards that aesthetic when making my own fashion choices. Yes, I could dress differently but I have balls and I am going for it. When it comes down to it, I am joyously comfortable and happy being who I am. It is more risky for me to walk this planet for the benefit of other people than it is to tease my hair a mile high and pull on a skin tight dress. If I allowed myself to follow other people's directions and become a subdued version of myself, then ultimately I will be disappointed. I would never live up to their standards and I would have none of my fucking own.

Because I have made the decision to give myself this freedom. A freedom to decorate and glorify my body the way I choose, I am always evolving. I rarely feel stuck with my closet or my size or my haircut. I get to be creative and with each week always comes a little bit of change. Whether it is because of an item of clothing or accessory that I thrifted or a newly dyed coif of purple goodness, a new possibility and style is revealed.

Making your own fashion choices is empowering. Self-care plays a huge role in your confidence and view of your body. You don't take care of something that you hate and you won't likely hate something that you have taken care of. It might be a radical idea for some, since we are so programmed by media to cover up, follow trends and present yourself as others would like to see you. That's bullshit! B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T. Fuck flattering, appeasing, blending in and trying to be somebody you aren't. Let's stand out! Fat people don't want to hide in the corner so everybody else can pretend we don't exist. Well, we exist, but as a problem. What about existing the way we are, being visible as a permanent fixture and not a work in progress or a "before" picture. My fat is not a cocoon and I'm not going to fucking emerge as a skinny butterfly anytime soon! Start accepting me as a special butterfly now, dammit.

If I was faced with a life of not being noticed and unhappy compared to my life now, I would not change. I could do without the awkward encounters but being exactly who I am makes it all worth it. Yes, I realize I have it good and there are women that live in fear of being rape or murdered because they don't dress or behave a certain way. I definitely come from a place of privilege because I have the freedom to express my individual style, as well as the access and resources. I don't take that for granted. Also, I have never even shot a gun in my life. So there.
- Rachele

34 ♥ COMMENTS ♥:

Tori said...

You're a wonderful role model - nobody should feel bad about their weight, the way they dress or the colour of their hair and I love that you have the courage to just be who you are. I'm a little jealous actually.

Susie Mann-Paro said...

As the mother of a daughter I want her to be empowered to express herself and be creative and have fun with her appearance. I'm in my 40s now, and I'm just getting an understanding of who I am, and I'm just now learning to express myself in a style that is all my own (without fearing what others think for the most part or fearing rejection based on my appearance, some days that is still a work in progress). What a boring world this would be if we all looked the same, keep standing out:)

Emily-Ann Hill said...

Sometimes I read your posts and I just want to hug you! My whole life has been a struggle with my body image. I went from being chunky as a kid to killing myself trying to stay skinny in high school to try to please the jerk I was dating at the time.... 110 pounds is not attractive on my 5 foot 8.5 frame no matter how you do it. I got piercings I didn't want and wore skinny jeans and "edgy" clothes to try to fit this certain image. I don't even like wearing jeans. These past two years have been a huge turn around for me. I am 25 pounds heavier and I feel better than ever. I eat what I want, I laugh, I wear dresses you might find in your grandma's closet, and my hair is always getting bigger. I love myself and in turn I love the people around me more, too. I feel like my relationship with my boyfriend works because he got to know me, not the me that I constructed just to fit his wants. He loves my little boobs and my big butt and hips and I do too. Yay for loving ourselves!


Emily-Ann
higherthehair.blogspot.com

Nessbow said...

"Start accepting me as a special butterfly now, dammit!"
I L.O.V.E love this!

Eartha Kitsch said...

Amen, woman! AMEN! You make a great point about children. It's really sad that often, we humans are prone to lose our sense of wonder and gain a sense of criticism as we get older. SUCKS.

Faith Bradley said...

"What about existing the way we are, being visible as a permanent fixture
and not a work in progress or a "before" picture. My fat is not
a cocoon and I'm not going to fucking emerge as a skinny butterfly
anytime soon! Start accepting me as a special butterfly now, dammit." <-- I LOVE THIS! You crack me up.



People also ask me why I have brightly colored hair, tattoos and weird piercings (I had a smiley for a while- that got a LOT of questions), and I think a big reason is that I want people to stop thinking these things are so fucking weird. I almost feel obligated to be a super awesome, nice person while at the SAME time being nonwhite, colorful, tattooed/pierced whatever. I feel like I need to challenge them to realize that it's whats on the INSIDE that matters, and that they really should stop giving a fuck about what I look like on the outside. People are so ridiculous in their assumptions and I think it's awesome to be able to prove them wrong. And wtf about guns? That doesn't even make sense! Talk about someone who feels majorly threatened by someone who's out of the ordinary.

Starling said...

I love not only the entire post, but your glorious description of your body being sexually active. I almost never hear any blogger mention -- even subtly -- doing the deed. Even the pregnant ones. It's bold and boisterous and... awesome. You are, in summary, my hero.
- Starling (superstarling.com)

Beth Manago said...

"What about existing the way we are, being visible as a permanent fixture and not a work in progress or a "before" picture. " This is why I read your blog. This is just what I needed to hear.

Sarah Clarke-McDougal said...

I happen to think that you are fucking gorgeous. Your style matches your personality and both are: sassy, smart, and lovely!

Hope Wickett said...

You are amazing. This posts sums up how I feel anytime someone makes a comment about my appearance or other people's appearances. I love this "What about existing the way we are, being visible as a permanent fixture and not a work in progress or a "before" picture. My fat is not a cocoon and I'm not going to fucking emerge as a skinny butterfly anytime soon! Start accepting me as a special butterfly now, dammit."

Roxane said...

It's so amazing how someone you have never met in person can be such an important figure in your life. I started reading your blog several months ago and up until now have been pretty quiet. Just reading, getting inspired to start blogging again and at the same time trying to get some of your confidence via osmosis :) I appreciate your blog so much and I hope you know that their are so many of us who accept you as a butterfly now. I love your style and I love to see you rock your body and hair and wardrobe.

Like I said I'm just getting back in the blogosphere but if you get a chance I'd love for you to check out my latest (insipired by you) and my older blogs.


RealPrettyChic
Momo-Mama

Mori said...

Is good to arrive home and read your blog... gives me strenght...thanks Rachelle!

Louise P. said...

The more I read your blog, the more I feel inspired! You really are an inspiration.


I wish people didn't judge others by their appearance, make stereotypical assumptions, or look down on them because of their size or the fact that they have tattoos or piercings. Those people are assholes. My Mum always used to tell me 'there may be seven billion people on this earth, but nobody is more or less important than another'. I really do believe that. It would be boring if everybody was the same- being unique is far more interesting! I certainly won't let any narrow-minded idiots stop me from being who I am. Keep being your awesome self!

JesTheMilitantBaker said...

http://www.xojane.com/beauty/pixie-cut-doesnt-make-you-look

Thought of you.

unitedstatesofbecky said...

Oh-my-God that was an amazing and awesome post! Hell yeah! Occasionally I read a post of yours (like this one) that just screams to me and I love that you're really pouring your heart out onto the page. I really just love your attitude. All of it. And side note: when I got my first tattoos, I got several comments from some of the conservative people I worked with - specifically "If God meant us to have tattoos, we would've been born with them." And later, when I dyed my hair purple again, the same people told me flat out: "That's not a good color. It doesn't look good."

I guess some people will always feel free to ignore the "If you can't say something nice" rule. . . .

And you're so right. Kids are so much more open. Ah. When kids see my tats, they are delighted, fascinated by the "pretty art" and want to touch them and ask about the colors.



I've said it to you before and I'll say it again: I'm not quite as brave and confident as you. I still struggle with my weight, my self-acceptance and crippling self-esteem problems. But you really are an inspiration. Keep on rockin' that shit and shake your ass with pride.

Amanda Rose said...

FUCK YEAH!

Qaroline said...

Wow.

Rachele, I really really really admire your writing.
Apart from agreeing with everything you described in this post I think your writing skills set this blog apart from so many other blogs.

Love, Qaroline
http://qarolinesqonundrums.blogspot.de/

Jenny said...

You always are so empowering! Love the way your write!

Tiffany D'Angela said...

OH MY GOD YES!!! I love this, I needed this today. I totally understand where you are coming from. This post is amazing!! I just started reading your blog, it's a breath of fucking fresh air :)

Cattie said...

This article strikes me as a little angry (why all the fucks?), but for the record, I think you're adorable. I agree, dress like the girl you are inside, and the one you want to be. :) I'm sort of learning how to be that person myself! Here's to that journey. :)

Haley said...

I look forward to your email every day! I love all your spunkiness! Thank you sooo much for being you and putting it out there for all of us to do the same!

Rachele said...

I use the f word quite often in real life so when I am really writing something, especially when I am passionate about it, I use it. Not as much angry as I am fired up and have strong convictions. Here's to the journey!

Rachele said...

Yes, I know what you mean about loving the people around you more! I also don't tend to hang out with people just because they like me anymore, even though they are jerks.

zombot5 said...

Reading this, I found myself saying "fuck yes!", and nodding my head the whole time. I so admire your writing and your attitude and your power and your general awesomeness!

Sheissostrange said...

I love you! I love your writing. I want to pump my fist and yell "Fuck yes!" while reading this. Each time I read something of yours I feel better about myself. You are wonderful and inspiring. Thank you!

Tani said...

I'd kill for your confidence.

Patrick weseman said...

Always remember to live the life you want than the life that you think others want you to live.

Bobo said...

Rache, you are freaking awesome!

Elizabeth said...

I love this; thank you :)

Rachael MacMillan said...

This is a great post. Thanks for sharing. Someone once said to me that I shouldn't have got visible tattoos if I didn't want strangers coming up and questioning my reasons or the meaning behind them. Umm.. I am pretty sure that I am the owner of my body and I shouldn't and won't ever answer to anyone about my body. One of human being's first and greatest social-emotional mile stones in life is when we as little children become Autonomous..and unfortunately for the rest of our lives our sense of self is challenged by society. I am a tattooed teacher and I have learned come to ignore the questioning looks...here is my post on the matter.

http://theedumacationofmsmac.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-tattooed-teacher.html

Fat Heffalump said...

LOVE this post, I feel the same way myself. Visible, candy-haired tattooed fat women ROCK!

Julie said...

(Late because I have a lot of blog-reading to catch up on) Rachele, you. are. amazing.You make me want to be amazing. Reading your blog gives me the boost I need to do the little things that make me, well, genuinely me. From thrifting for clothes to cutting all my goddamn hair off and getting more tats, your voice helps me to quiet (not silence, but maybe someday) the other voice- the one that says "you don't deserve this" or "maybe when you lose weight". Thank you for being you. And let me just add that if you have the power to make this much of a difference for a complete stranger on the internet, then, damn, world, you better watch out. :P

Just Me Leah said...

"If I allowed myself to follow other people's directions and become a
subdued version of myself, then ultimately I will be disappointed. I
would never live up to their standards and I would have none of my
fucking own." BOOM! TRUTH BOMB. You fucking rock my socks.

Maicynne Elizabeth said...

Please write novels. I will read them all, I swear.

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