Photos: Sung-Hee Seewald
During interviews, the question “Did you always feel good in your body?” is usually one of the first questions. As if it was a masterly performance to be satisfied with yourself or as if I should rather lie and/or be ashamed of it – because I’m fat. And I should feel bad about it. Thanks!
Of course I know that it’s not the easiest thing to look at yourself (especially naked) in the mirror and say “Hey, I’m awesome the way I am!” if everybody and everything is telling you all the time that you’re not – unless you change this and that and most important: you lose weight. Because only as a thin person you’re a valuable part of this society, accepted and tolerated, beautiful and desirable. If you’re fat, the best “compliment” you can expect is that you have a pretty face – usually this is weakened by a passing “If you were thin…” plus a random positive development you could achieve in your life. Be it with men, at your job, anywhere: if you’re skinny, you’re automatically better. And then, when you’re thinner, you notice that it wasn’t that much worth it, because if you’re not fundamentally happy with yourself, the few sizes less won’t change anything. Only the diet industry will be cheering loudly cause they recruited another disciple, a new member of their “sect”, for which counting calories or “points” is as holy and will bring you the same light as twelve “Ave Maria”. Isn’t it sad to think negatively about food and yourself all the time? Is that really worth it?
Now I’ve certainly been a lot thinner 8 years ago when I started this blog. I wasn’t skinny-skinny but a lot skinnier than today. Back then, I wore an average EU size 38, today it’s 44-48. For some who approach me about that from time to time, it seems to be a catastrophe of a horrible dimension, they’re horrified and convinced that it should be some kind of apocalypse for me, they can’t understand at all how something “like this” could happen, and they’re left pretty confused when they see that I’m not as distraught as they are. Cause for me, it’s really not that terrible.
When I look back at the beginnings of my blog, I see a young woman who experimented a lot but not by any means had arrived, neither at herself, nor at a specific style. Of course, I still love to experiment today but I’d like to claim that somehow, I found a basic style for myself. And some time ago, I also found myself – with 30 kgs more, especially around my hips, but also my belly and thighs. And a little double chin. “OH MY GOD, did she just say double chin?” – If that’s not a reason to run away screaming, I don’t know. A double chin is generally known to be the death of a pretty face. By the way: I don’t think so. And who the fuck demands that we have to be pretty? While everybody feels it differently…
So when I say that I’ve always felt good in my body, I mean it. Because there is no reason for me not to. My body works perfectly (except for that little detail that my stupid pancreas decided to stop producing insulin after 10 years) and I’m thankful for that – for this alone, I just can’t hate it but only feel love and gratitude. This body carries me through life and that’s a pretty great thing! Now there may be more fat inside of me than in some others (but from another perspective, less than in another one) and of course this brings a few disadvantages. Yes, I’m not a stairs sportsman, who arrives at the fourth floor in under 10 seconds. Yes, I’m already panting at the second floor as if I were 96 years old. But when I think about it, these are the only two “problems” I see – which, in my opinion, are actually caused by me not doing any sports at all so my stamina is below zero. And because this sounds like justifications, I definitely want to emphasize that: this is my problem. Mine, all mine. Cause on the stairs, you can easily walk past me if you think I’m too slow for you.
And yet, we’re living in a society that with fat people strangely enough feels an urge to do as if they attended medical school all the time. Favorite words from Doctor Self-Proclaimed: unhealthy, heart attack, morbid, diabetes (check – but sorry, only type 1). Real interest in the health of fat people by Doctor Self-Proclaimed: none. Because it’s just about being better. “Look, she’s soooo fat, I’m gonna tell her cause she certainly didn’t notice!” – Whut? I’m fat? For real? Didn’t notice that at all. By the way: is Doctor Self-Proclaimed interested in my mental health? No? And my long-time result of my diabetes illness I didn’t cause by eating too much crap? No? And what about chain-smokers? And those who keep drinking too much alcohol all the time? And those who like to drive fast, not only on the highway? And those who leave their houses in the morning? Cause there might happen something, too! Haha, no, bullshit, only the fat ones will be really sick and you have to point it out to them (they’re also dumb, didn’t you know?). Stupidly not only by Doctor Self-Proclaimed but also very likely by actual doctors. For example: I’m at the practice with a bleeding hand cause unfortunately the knife slipped when I was cutting my bun in halves (yup, that actually happened to me when I was a kid so that’s the example I just found in my memories) and of course and the only logic reason for that can only be my weight which I should definitely reduce. It couldn’t have been the sharp and jagged knife’s fault, no! The fatty is so fat that her hand is bleeding, that’s obvious! Ha!
Another favorite word that you have to hear as a fat person over and over again is “not flattering”. Especially when you’re wearing something that let’s everybody see that you’re fat. As if it would disappear when you throw over an oversized and shapeless sack. We’re not at Harry Potter and the invisibility cape – whatever I wear, I’ll never look like a size zero model. I’ll always be the same Lu that wears a 44 on top and a 48 in pants, in any piece of clothing. Surely, there are some outfits that maybe make me look like a size 42, but why do we have to call that “flattering”? Why does “flattering” always mean “looking skinny/skinnier”? And doesn’t it conversely mean that if you tell me “that’s not flattering” you’re actually calling myself not flattering? Because after all, when I wear something tight, what you see is what you get. You can see that I’m fat. And that’s not “not flattering” but a fact – which I willfully don’t want to hide. And if you don’t wanna see that? Not my problem. Life’s too short to think about in which outfit I don’t make my fellow human beings’ eyes hurt. I wear what I like cause I’m the only person who’s supposed to like it. Knowing that others could possibly like it is a nice goodie. Knowing that I could inspire others is a great gift that makes me happy and also proud. But even if the majority doesn’t like what I’m presenting (and that applies also to the people I meet on the streets, so totally not staged or any reaction wanted), that’s okay, cause I’m dressing for myself.
I’m grown tired of feeling that I have to excuse myself for my body, my appearance, in any form. I’m fat and that’s okay. Fat is not a swear word. And I’m not an insult. I don’t want to justify myself in front of strangers why I got fat and if I’m okay with that. I don’t wanna look into astonished faces when I say that I find myself beautiful. I don’t wanna hear that I’m brave when I show myself in tight clothes. Even less when I do it in beachwear during summer. And especially not when I’m naked. And that’s why I’m posting these photos. Cause that’s me. Unapologetically.
About these photos: I’m so happy to be a part of this amazing project by Sung-Hee Seewald called “Female Diversity – Die weibliche Vielfalt”. When she asked me if I would like to visit her at her studio for the shoot and to be naked, I instantly knew that I have to do it. These pictures are so important and so strong. Not only mine but of course, I love them in a different, very special way, because of the rawness and vulnerability and at the same time the feeling of power and that I’m able to change something by showing me like this, showing my body and his “flaws”, the fat rolls and the cellulite, the stretch marks and irregularities. Some years ago, when people kept telling me that I’m fat and disgusting and that I’m always wearing “not flattering” clothes and that I keep putting on stuff that’s too small for my size, I kept yelling at home that I should show myself naked so people have nothing left to criticize. I was pretty naïve back then because being naked is actually even worse and scary, especially when you’re fat. I want to change this image. Because it’s also extremely liberating. And it was very important to me to do it in a non-sexual way. I didn’t want to do erotic photos. I didn’t want to look sexy. This is a serious topic and I love these pictures for being so “real”. As usual: no Photoshop, no retouching, no changing of who I am.
If you’re around Munich (Praterinsel) next week, there will be the exhibition “photo17München” from November 17 to 19 and Sung-Hee’s project will be displayed, including “my” photos.