I spend a lot of time complaining about all the bad things that come with being fat and the people who have been unkind and downright nasty because of my size. Something I forget to mention is that I have had one person my whole life who has been nothing but supportive of me. My mum.
Something my mum has always understood is the importance of clothes in a girls life. When I was a young, the school uniform shops didn't make any uniforms in bigger sizes and so my mum got a seamstress to carefully copy the school uniform so as you couldn't tell it wasn't bought from the uniform shop. Despite the fact we were very poor when I was growing up, she would scour the shops to find 'cool' clothes in my size for school discos so that I would fit in with the other kids. Then for my high school graduation she took me to the one plus size shop in Melbourne at the time and bought me a gorgeous skirt and top that she then had her friend alter to make it trendier and it was probably the first time in my high school life that I felt good about myself.
In more recent times she noticed my weight gain and quietly went about making me a number of dresses to wear in Hawaii, a dress for my friend's wedding and a dress for the Melbourne Cup. She didn't ever mention the fact that I had put on weight and had nothing to fit me, she just made them and casually said that I might find somewhere to wear them. She doesn't have much money, yet she has spent all her spare money on material and patterns at Spotlight to make clothes for me. She doesn't even really know how to sew, she just decided to follow the directions and see what she could do.
It wasn't only clothes, she always fought for me and my right not to be humiliated because of my weight. When we used to take swimming lessons at school and I couldn't pull myself up out of the pool like the other kids, my mum quietly asked the swim teacher to have my lessons close by the pool ladder. During bike education some of the safety vests were too small for me so my mum asked the instructor to hold aside a larger one for me each lesson. During the hellish years of PE at school my mum would blast my PE teachers when they made us weigh ourselves in front of everyone or when they would scream at me for being 'fat and slow'. Once I was so desperate to get out of a school cross country race that my mum organised for me and her to go to Melbourne for the day and go shopping so that I didn't have to go through yet another humiliating school sporting event.
Unlike a lot of people in my life, she has never made me feel bad or like I deserve less because I am overweight. She has never acted like any of my concerns about fitting in at school or wearing nice clothes were frivolous. There are just too many examples of how she has helped me to even mention them all here and right now my head is swarmed with funny memories of my mum doing crazy things to help me out. I honestly don't know what I would do without her.