It’s my birthday!
Well, not mine. But it’s a whole year since I found myself sitting in my bedroom, writing my very first post, in my slippers and hat, at 10pm at night. I’d written the post, but I couldn’t think of what to call the blog itself. I’d come up with a couple of bad puns, the odd play on words, and even toyed with the idea of just registering it under my actual name, but nothing quite fit.
Eventually, I just plumped for “Fat Girl, PhD” because it just… Sounded right. I hit ‘Publish,’ and went to bed. That was it.
There is absolutely no way – no way whatsoever – that I saw it turning out like this.
You might think the highlights would be the features in the Huffington Post, on BBC local radio stations, and in the UK national press – and these are all awesome things. They’re a tangible way to measure success, and don’t get me wrong – I am super proud and utterly amazed that these things have happened. Trust me. I am in awe.
But they’re not the highlights.
No, they’re not even close. The highlights of the last year have come almost entirely from you guys.
For one thing, I don’t think you realise how much of an impact you guys have when you leave a comment, or send me an email. The replies on this post, for instance, made me honest to God cry. This one too. You people are utterly amazing, even though you break my heart sometimes.
And it’s not just when you say lovely, kind things – although obviously every single time that does happen, I go all warm and fuzzy inside.
No, I can safely say I’ve learned more about people in the last twelve months than I’ve learned over twenty years in the education system (gulp), and eleven years at work. And in all honesty, my attitude has fundamentally changed in that now, I’m pretty convinced that people are a lot more kind, more honest, and more amazing than I’d realised. I was a lot more cynical a year ago, and a lot more afraid of putting myself ‘out there.’
These days, it’s the absolute least I can do.
But I’ve also been alerted to a lot of issues that we don’t talk about enough. The fact that people have been so honest and open in their responses to some of the things I’ve said has given me a lot of insight into what it’s like to be a woman that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Binge eating, for instance. That’s considerably more common than I could have ever imagined. The scales, as much as it pains me, are always going to be a contentious issue. From the meaning of fat, to feminism and womanhood, via a crisis in body image and confidence that seems to me insidious and damaging, there is still so much to say.
Which is a relief. I’d look like kind of a fool if I ran out of steam at this point.
But it’s true. I know I’m not making a huge impact, in my tiny corner of the internet – and it feels like I’m shouting into the wind sometimes, when I pick up a copy of a nasty magazine, or see a particularly awful ad – but if I can get the message across to just one extra person that you can be strong, and that you deserve to be happy regardless of what the world, the media, and your own mind tell you, then hell – I’ll consider this whole endeavour a success.
Because that’s at the core of this blog. I might have lost some weight, and that’s great; but I’ve always said it’s not just about weight loss. I’m sure you’re sick of hearing it – but of all the things I consider important in making me a healthy person, my weight is just one little fragment. The psychological and social stuff is considerably harder to beat – but once you’ve got it licked, it’s a lot easier to get by in this weird, scary, big ol’ world we’re living in.
Living being the key word there.
Everyone who’s come to my blog this year – and everyone who’s been with me before that, including my family, my friends, Matt, and co – has given me another reason to keep going. You’ve done amazing things – and I really hope I can keep up with what you guys deserve. I’ll keep writing, but please keep sending me your emails, your thoughts, your comments and ideas – even if it takes me a little while to reply, I swear each one means a lot.
If you’re a new reader, or an old one, trust me – you are amazing. No matter what anyone else says, be they individuals or big, scary media corporations – you are amazing. And you deserve to be happy.
So to you – I’m raising my glass. Yeah, it’s water, but whatever. Thank you for being awesome. You rock.
Many happy returns, guys!