travel

'"You’ve never lived in a body like mine." A letter to my thin friend, before our trip.'

Dear Thin Friend,

We’ve been planning this trip for months, and the day is finally here. I’m so excited to be embarking on this adventure with you. It fills me with joy to be travelling with you to far-off lands to experience new cultures and reach a level of relaxation neither of us has felt for months. The prospect of getting out of our comfort zones makes my soul tingle, as does jumping headfirst into new and exciting territory with you. I just want a cocktail in my hand and you by my side and I will be a happy person.

Before we embark on this journey together, though, I think we need to chat.

These women are owning summer, and looking fabulous while doing it. Post continues below.

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You’ve never lived in a body like mine. Your view of the world and of experiences like travelling are viewed through the rose-coloured glasses of thin privilege. For this I do not blame you, but I know from living in a bigger body my entire life that there are things we need to consider when travelling: things that might not have occurred to you. I hope that after reading this you will go on our vacation with freshly opened eyes and a newfound respect for what it’s like to be a fat traveller.

Flights are uncomfortable for everyone. I understand that. Sitting in one position for thirteen hours is never going to be comfortable. But do you see me? Note how I sit with my legs crossed and my arms folded, and how I’ve pushed myself up against the wall of the plane. I know you feel my thighs; there is not enough room in my space for all of me. So my thighs have spilled under the armrest and into your assigned seat. I pray that you don’t draw attention to this. I am aware of how much space I take up, trust me. I am uncomfortable and self-conscious. I won’t get up during the flight. It’s awkward for me to stand up and get you to move, and I don’t want to draw attention to myself. I am consciously trying to take up less space. So just shuffle over a little and we’ll get through this together.

Speaking of transportation, we’ll need to rent a car. Please don’t make me explain to you (in public) why the hatchback that is so low to the ground is not the right choice. Cars that low are so hard to get in and out of, and I don’t want to have to ask for help. It’s embarrassing. Can we please just get a midsize car or SUV, something with wider seats, more legroom, and longer seat belts? I don’t want to be jammed into a similar seating situation as on the plane, and we both know that we have over-packed so we need more room for our bags anyway. Let’s get the jeep and live out our Clueless fantasy instead.

 

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We are going on so many adventures on our vacation. You are the booking queen! I am beyond excited to push myself and experience new things, but I have to ask: Did you check whether any of the activities have a weight limit? It’s okay if you didn’t, because you’ve never been close to weighing so much that you weren’t allowed on the ride, but I have been publicly weighed at tourist destinations and refused entry because of my body. This is not an experience I want to relive. So would you mind checking with the companies, please? Let’s save ourselves the embarrassment.

Do you know what I am most excited to do? I am excited to get outdoors, to go hiking and breathe in the air around us, air that is free of the city pollutants we breathe every day. Do you know what I’m not excited about? The prospect of you constantly reminding me of just how steep the hike is. I know; I researched it, and while I appreciate your concern, if I didn’t think I could do it, I would tell you. I know my body’s limitations, and hiking isn’t one of them. I’m fitter than I might look. So please don’t judge me and my fitness level at my size. I’ll beat you to the top of the mountain, and you can buy me a drink later to congratulate me.

I have to ask you a question. Have you ever noticed how you talk about your body? You tell me every day that you feel fat, or that you’re having a “fat day.” While we are away together, I would very much appreciate it if you were able to think of different ways to describe your body in front of me. Fat is an adjective. I am fat. Fat is not a feeling. When you stand in front of the mirror and tell me that you feel fat, you are in fact comparing your body to mine and telling me that, in your mind, having my body is the worst possible state to be in. How is that supposed to make me feel?

My dearest Thin Friend, I know that you are so excited about your new vacation wardrobe. It’s full of colourful matching sets, new bikinis, and dresses that show off your body. My suitcase is full of colours and crop tops, mesh skirts, and bikinis, too, but they won’t fit you. Nor will your wardrobe fit me. So let’s not engage in the charade of optioning each other’s clothes, and please don’t make me try to squeeze into your wardrobe. I am just as fierce as you, but there is no way my curves and swerves are fitting into that dress and that’s okay.

We haven’t travelled together before, so I want to let you know something — people stare at me, but that’s not always a bad thing. Some of them will stop and ask to have their photos taken with me. People will call out “Yas, queen!” as we are walking down the street. Society isn’t used to seeing fat people confidently owning their space, let alone fat people with a wardrobe like mine. I’m okay with the staring; I like to talk to people, and I don’t mind having my picture taken, either. I love you, but you don’t need to defend me. I’ve got this. I have been defending my life and body for as long as I’ve been alive. I do welcome your support and I love that you care about my wellbeing, but haters gon’ hate, and I can deal with that. Watch me.

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Travelling together is going to be great. After two weeks of adventures and new experiences we will learn new things about each other, explore our differences and similarities, and come away with memories that will last a lifetime. I hope that spending time with me in my bigger body gives you a new appreciation for your own body and respect for me in mine, because I can do everything you can do — and I can drink you under the table.

So get on the plane and let the adventures begin!

Your Fat Friend,

Lacey-Jade Christie

This post originally appeared on Medium and has been republished with full permission.

Lacey-Jade Christie is a fiery Melbourne-based plus-size influencer and host of The Fat Collective podcast. She combines her life as a nurse with her own experience of mental illness; she is a strong advocate for safe spaces for the BoPo and Queer community to come together through the podcast and at various events she hosts throughout the year. Not one to shy away from the controversial, she is a well-known LGBTIQ+ activist, feminist, and published writer, having featured in The Guardian, The Age, and Archer Magazine, and many more. Lacey’s passion for inclusivity and celebrating diversity shine through her, much like the glitter she is constantly covered in.

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