Credit: Amanda Areias

A first-person account from off the beaten track,
as told to Anne Ford.

“A lot of people have a lot of pain attached to the word ‘fat.’ But I don’t anymore. When I was in grammar school, I went through a lot. My mom, she was a drug addict, and she relapsed into drugs when I was, like, six years old. I was going to Catholic school, and my uniform would be dirty, my hair wouldn’t be combed. Staff members would pull me out of class and berate me. Then when I started gaining weight, I got made fun of really bad, like after-school-special bad.

“When I started my blog, Fat Shopaholic, I was kind of in a ‘fake it till you make it’ stage. I still didn’t really know what my style was. I wasn’t as confident as I would pretend to be. The more I blogged, the more my style evolved. The better it got, the more anything that I had gone through didn’t really matter. I wasn’t even mad at anybody anymore. I had never really thought of myself as desirable. And then one day I realized: I’m fine.

“I get a lot of my clothes from thrift stores. At least half of my wardrobe used to belong to somebody else. My style is very 90s-inspired, so thrifting helps. You can never have a vision when you go into a thrift store. Whenever I say, ‘I’m gonna look for this,’ I never find whatever that is. There have to have been fat people in the 80s and 90s. Maybe they didn’t think their clothes were worth donating.

“Because you don’t have a lot of options, you have to be more creative. Be patient, look through everything, try on things you think might fit you even if they don’t say a size. A lot of bigger clothes have the labels cut out.

“Some plus-size brand executive said a while ago, ‘All of our clothes are usually a year or two behind trend, because we know that the plus-size customer is usually a year or two behind trend.’ I can’t speak for everyone, but the people who read my blog, they don’t feel like that. They want trendy clothes that look like the same clothes small girls get to wear. They want them on time, and they want them to be good quality, and they want them to be affordable. And they want them adjusted for fat-girl bodies. Don’t just scale up the measurements.

“I got a lot of compliments at Pitchfork this year. This girl told me, ‘You look so cool,’ and I said, ‘Thank you,’ and she said, ‘Do people ever make fun of you because you look like that?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know. Maybe they do, but I don’t really hear them anymore.’ I wear headphones a lot.

“More often I get stared at. I was on the bus with my friend, and this lady was staring at me extra hard, and I said out loud, ‘I really hate when people stare at me.’ She turned to whoever she was sitting with and said, ‘I was just looking at her shoes. I really liked her shoes.'”