A few months ago, whilst engaging in some heated debate on Twitter Dot Com I was met with the remark “Big Fat Fruit.” by a nameless, faceless account who had taken to disagreeing with me. Now I’ve always been a bigger person (literally) and have always had issues with my weight ever since I was a kid, and being a little camp queer kid didn’t help with the teasing or the body confidence issues. I was often told I was too flamboyant, too loud, too excitable etc.
So I learned how to be quiet, how to tone it down and hide it away lest anyone else see it. I made it my mission to blend in during secondary school, to not draw too much attention to myself. Yes I had friends, and I was a studious and sociable kid, but I would often get changed in private before PE lessons should anyone make fun of my size, or call me a faggot or a gay bastard. I was convinced that they could see something within me that I didn’t want to acknowledge and tried with all my might to keep it obscured from the view of conservatively minded parents.
I became an expert in hating myself, I had a Masters degree in self-disgust and self-loathing with a minor in negative self-beliefs. When you’re told almost every day that you’re too fat, that you’re too gay, that you’re too loud and obnoxious it becomes a difficult cloak to shake off.
I have always had mental health battles, and body image issues, that have plagued me all of my life. I’ve lived with depression, anxiety and recently I was diagnosed with a personality disorder. My weight and my gender have both fluctuated over the last few years and I now identify as a non-binary person, even going so far as to describe my body type as ‘Bear’ which I would have shied away from previously.
That random, faceless twat on the internet may just have been the best thing to happen to my self-esteem in a long time. They managed, in one fell swoop, to sum up every single thing I hated about myself in one phrase: Big Fat Fruit.
I thought about that for a while and came to the conclusion that if an anonymous, nasty troll on social media can see what I’ve been trying to hide about myself for so many years then why was I wasting so much energy trying to convince myself? I am a big, fat fruit. I’m a fifteen stone, large arsed, flat footed, baldy, tattooed queer bear who loves wearing colourful clothes, dramatic earrings, and dancing like a freak in the clubs (when they eventually reopen). Why am I so ashamed of that? Well of course growing up in a body-conscious, misogynistic and heteronormative dominant society will do that…but I shouldn’t be ashamed of who I am or what I look like.
Since embracing those facets of myself and learning to love them I’ve had the most wonderful summer – bathing topless in the sea, wearing clothes that compliment my shape rather than hide it, enjoying the occasional and casual flirtation and positive comment rather than batting them away as undeserved. I deserve to love myself, I owe it to that little flamboyant queer kid who hid behind the quiet, nervous and self-conscious persona that the world told me I had to adopt if I wanted to survive. These days I do my best to look in the mirror and appreciate the body that I have, and not to focus on the parts of it that I used to detest – and I no longer try and outsource my validation and self-worth to others by comparing myself against others. I will never be six foot, seven. I will never have a six pack and washboard abs, and I will never be masc or butch. But that’s okay – I don’t need to be any of those things because I am a Big Fat Fruit.