"I am a big, big girl in a big, big world, ..."
I can still hear my bullies chant the lyrics to "big girl" from Emilia to me while standing on the stairs to the classrooms. Their eyes were filled with hate, they wanted to hurt me and made the lyrics even more clear and hurtful to me by making gestures of big bellies.
I actually wasn't that fat as a kid, I was just a little bit more taller, curvier and developed earlier as a women than the other girls. I was different on top of the fact that I had a stubborn and strong personality. It didn't sit well with a group of my classmates.
The bullying stays with me even until this day. The only thing I could see was a girl not as the others, too fat to be beautiful, populair or even being liked. I worked so hard the last decade to get rid of those feelings and take up my space without guilt or insecurities. I am getting so much better in it, but still I can't walk past a group of men (most of the time just boys) without feeling afraid and insecure. Thinking they are talking about me and any minute one of them is going to insult me. 99 procent of the time it doesn't happen. But when it happens, and it still does. I feel so bad, disgusted, hurt and angry for days.
As a girl I thought I needed to change to fit in and to be liked. years I spend tons of energy on changing how I felt about myself. But what would have happend if I read just one story as a little girl that I was just okay the way I was?
Sofie de Moor, a wonderful fat, happy and cheerful woman herself wrote a children's book for first readers. A book about a fat girl playing basketbal, but also being bullied because of her size.
When I received the manuscript from the publisher I felt excited and emotional. There was so much recognition! I felt blessed to be the one to draw the images of this story. I could relate to all the feelings, the questions and the insecurities of the main character named Kaat. A girl who plays basketbal and loves the sport.
Something I had as a kid as well, I loved sports!!! I loved the strategy of basketbal, football and so many other team sports. I loved the intensity and the thrill of moving your body, testing limits. But I let it all go and stopped wanting to play sports because of the fear of being bullied. There was always a voice in my head saying I was too fat, I never could be good enough.
I was 27 when I felt strong enough and finally decided to face those fears and started doing fitness. But only because I could go to a fitness only for women. (And only after I could find a descent sports bra and terribly unflattering sports clothes in my size)
What would have been if there was just one story or idea in the world telling me as a little girl that no matter what size, I could just go and play a sport and be good at it.