1 August 2018 – the funeral day for Kate. May she rest in peace. Our love and support are with her friends and family today.
Growing up, I had the nickname “Miss Piggy” even though, looking back, I wasn’t a particularly large child. I was plump but in, what I now know, to be an adorable way. (Thank you very much.) But being short also, I understand how I got the moniker.
But that’s children.
They pick on something about someone, anything, then give it a label. Kids do that. I did that. Sensible and idiot kids alike do that.
Being said, I wasn’t particularly paranoid or unhappy with how I looked. Not even the day when mum made new, identical blue print dresses for me and my sister. My sister’s glided on effortlessly and mine… well, mine got stuck on something. The something being my arse. The solution was to alter my dress until it fit my shape. (The surgical solution to alter bodies to fit an incorrect size would become popular a decade or so later.)
No, the shame and paranoia came in high school, followed me to college and then into my first job in the over-the-top-fashion 80s. I flirted dangerously with an eating disorder during these times, alternating between eating too much and then too little. Here’s the thing, though, I felt fat whether I weighed a too low 6.5 stones or a perfectly normal 9st.
Some messed up shit.
The cycle of self-loathing never went away no matter how little or how much I weighed – the epiphany which saved me.
I threw away the bathroom scales, stopped weighing or journaling food and gave the finger to Slimming World and Weight Watchers. On the latter, I understand how the methodology works for some – it worked for me – except for the part where it really didn’t. I needed to stop (and have stopped) anything which put me in what I call a “dieting mentality.”
Having obsessed about the thing for years, I know perfectly well what foods I can eat and in what quantities for good health, which foods I should moderate and what my weight is telling me by the way my clothes fit.
Moreover, that eating and exercising for strength and wellbeing is the measure which, today, sees me healthier and happier. With that has come self-acceptance and self-awareness. For instance, I always carry fruit or a snack with me as I know, typically, I eat whatever is to hand when I am hungry, making what I call “donut choices” when I don’t even like donuts.
Often lamenting the many media mirrors we have today with which to compare ourselves unfavourably, we now also have people (Hurrah!) who act as the antidote to these false Gods.
I met one of these Goddesses, flame-haired Kate Sutton, at my first BritMums blogging conference about a year after Bronnie, my husband, died. Kate blogged fiercely and authentically at her travel and lifestyle blog ‘Wit Wit Woo.’
With a 1940s old-Hollywood style glamour, Kate and I talked for hours. Kate was bigger then, with talk of “losing some weight,” but what I recall most acutely was her dual quest for self-love. Someone pursuing better health, trying not to hate themselves whilst doing it, was a revelation.
A revelation which continues to be inspiring to her beloved blogging community. Kate’s notion of becoming “Bikini-Ready” was to buy a bloody bikini and put your body in it.
God, I wish I’d been more Kate growing up.
Kate died last Monday.
This post with, metaphorically and literally, my bits hanging out, is in honour of Kate.
And the blogging community is currently doing what it does best when we lose one of our own – we show up. And today, Saturday 21 July 2018, we are showing up in swimwear on social media to remember our friend under the hashtag #BeMoreWitWitWoo. It is also a funeral fundraiser to help Kates’s sons, Ben and Dexter.
It would make Kate proud to know her hashtag #BeMoreWitWitWoo is trending on her online home of social media, but more that it just might reach someone somewhere who is wasting precious time with false measurements when the only measurement which matters is self-acceptance. Self-love no matter what we look like, what we weigh or the piss-poor labels we and others give ourselves.
She would be heartened women and bloggers across this globe are today throwing off inhibitions, saying “Feck it” and donning bikinis and swimsuits in the spirit of Kate Sutton – may she rest in flame-haired peace.
- Kate’s friend and eloquent blogger, Nickie O’Hara, shared one of Kate’s posts on Twitter which articulates her voice wonderfully for those not familiar with Kate’s writing – ‘How Will I Be Remembered?’
- Kate wasn’t coy about money, mostly there never being enough of it. Help her sons Ben and Dexter raise money for her funeral fund.
- We have donned swimwear for Kate today under the initiative started by fellow blogger Tanya Barrow who blogs at Mummy Barrow. Thank you, Tanya, you have done our friend old-school blogging proud.
- Kate, Tanya and God are the only three people who could get me into a bikini top. Apologies to those of you eating.
- Look-see who’s being #BeMoreWitWitWoo on Instagram.