Superfat Fears

I’ve written before that I can’t always count on finding clothing in local, physical stores in my size.

Last night’s dream?  I was hours from home and somehow didn’t have my pants.  I had bra, panties, and a top – but no bottoms.

And no stores had my size*.   In the dream I was in strip-mall hell and didn’t even see any clothing stores.  There was a Rite Aid, which had some basic tops and bottoms, but not in my size.   Target?   Fred Meyer? Ditto.

Eventually dream-me went into an alterations shop to ask if I could buy a few yards of fabric to make a sarong.  And then my car was stolen and … well, it was a dream.

Needless to say, this was a bit of a twist on the “no pants dream” trope.

*Depending on cut and the manufacturer, I wear between size 28 and 36.

14 thoughts on “Superfat Fears

  1. I wear a size 44W in petite in pants so I understand how difficult it can be to find anything, anywhere at all let alone in a brick and mortar store. I’ve had a similar dream to yours. Mine was more the classic wearing nothing while everyone else was dressed, but it still featured that I was much larger than anyone else. I understand these dreams are expressions of feeling vulnerable. Well duh! Living in a society that is making war on me and people like me just might be a taste scary…

    As an aside, I was recently trying to explain to my husband about thin priviledge. He just didn’t get it. Then this last weekend we were away from home. He damaged his pants and needed a replacement pair. He popped over the the closest mall and came back with a suitable new pair in about an hour. He knows how hard it is for me to find clothing. I simply asked him, “What would I have done if I had needed the pants?” And finally he got it.

  2. When I was in high school my parents demanded why I was skipping school; in retrospect, maybe going to school with giant gaping holes in my pants and the same two shirts every day had something to do with it.

  3. I actually lived this, at least to a degree. I had to move in the middle of high school, but got a Xmas flight back to see my friends one year. I had no carry-on except a book or two, trying to travel light. The airline lost my luggage. I had the clothes I was wearing and nothing else.

    At that time I was at my smallest-ever size, but still could not find clothes to fit me in that (small) town in that time period. Lucky for me, my friend’s mom had gone up and down in size and had some jeans, shirts, underclothes, and a heavy coat she could lend me. That (and frequent laundry) kept me in clean clothing till my luggage finally arrived many days later. Without that lucky stroke, I would have been wearing the same thing for days, or had to drive to a big city hours away to find my size.

    I never forgot that panicky feeling. And I now wear sizes much harder to find than that! So when I fly now, I *always* fly with 1-2 changes of clothes, and extra underwear to boot…just in case.

    Another thing I’ve taken to doing is keeping a small overnight bag in the back of my car and DH’s car. I live in an area that could have a natural disaster with no warning, so I want to be prepared for an emergency. Imagine if there was a disaster and your clothes got ruined or covered in blood and you had no alternatives for a long time because the disaster ruined your home or you were stuck far from it?

    Keeping a bag of emergency clothes and equipment is a good idea for everyone, but perhaps especially so for people of size. These dreams are about feeling vulnerable, yes, but the truth is that we *are* vulnerable in some ways. So be proactive and be prepared.

  4. I live in a world where the stores do NOT carry my size. I range between size 6x-10x depending on the cut. I do not even know what size I am in the 20s-40s world. I have acouple coats that don’t close that are 4X. I have dreams about losing all my clothes too. I live in fear of the two online places I buy clothes from going out of business and closing up shop. I can’t sew worth beans. Yes I have tried. Yeah, I am in the size range, where they do not make clothes in my size, and I haven’t been able to purchase clothes from any brick and morter store except underwear from Catherines-size 16, worn under my stomach in YEARS. For us fat people not being able to find clothes is frightening. I hold on to clothes til they are rags and have dresses that are 15 years old I still wear. Seriously. This is one reason one never finds fat people clothes at thrift stores, though one of my close friends made a score of 4X clothes at a estate sale–I can wear smaller shirts and coats. You’d think they would be trying to meet more of our needs. To the commenter above, speaking of disasters, I know, I get scared what if disaster happened, its not like people in very large sizes can obtain clothes so easily. I dreamed once, I was stuck wearing a sheet.

  5. One can become too fat to wear pants. I crossed that rubicon around the 450lb mark. I wore pants that were size 9x and 10x, that were sweat pants from the Big and Tall Men’s store for a time but as my leg swelled up more from lymphedema it was easier to just wear dresses all the time. That is something that happens to people too. My body does not have normal fat distribution which makes finding decent clothes even far harder. All the hip sizes are too small on most plus sized clothing. My measurements are 54-Bust, 60-Waist, and 84 on the hips, so you can see why I am not exactly an easy fit. I have the measurements memorized because I measure to make sure I am not gaining weight. Of course when I was fatter and the waist was around 76 inches and hips at 103 [that was the peak] finding clothes to fit was even more of a nightmare. It was 10x all the way. I still am upset about clothing places that shrink the clothing sizes down, that has happened to me.

    • (hugs) Last time I measured my hips, I taped 86″. I finally found a maker that makes pants I can wear — makingitbig.com, Favorite Knit Pants — but my God they’re expensive.

      I know, right? Just My Size used to be my underthings provider of choice, because their size-14s fit (snugly, but they fit). Last time I went underwear shopping I had to order 14s online, and when I got them . . . the fabric was flimsy, the construction was crap, and I swear they were sized down to about a 12.

  6. Wow…I want to thank Well-Rounded Mama for her comment about keeping a change of clothes in the car! That is such a simple yet brilliant idea. I have worried over the years about what would happen if we had an emergency in the night and I didn’t have time to get clothes out of my closet. I sleep in just my undies, so I keep a camisole and long nightgown/robe by my bed in case I need to get up in the night. But I’ve pictured myself wearing that nightgown for days in an emergency…yikes. Bag in car idea goes on my list to be implemented ASAP!

  7. Folks, you know about pluswoman.com, don’t you? They have clothes to 10x, but I wonder if they might be willing to custom-make something bigger. They are not cheap, so cost is an issue, but they will customize length, sleeves, necklines, and fabric choices on many things, so that’s why it’s more $ than off the rack.

    500 lb peep, I wonder if you have lipedema. That’s different than lymphedema, but lymphedema can be a later complication of lipedema, so it’s possible to have both. Lipedema is an abnormal accumulation of fat in certain parts of the body, especially the lower part of the body (waist down). The way you differentiate them is that lipedema usually affects both legs (lympedema doesn’t always affect both sides). Also, folks with lipedema have highly affected legs but not feet, so there’s a characteristic circle around the ankle, like the socks are too tight and left a ring. Also, folks with lipedema often have extreme sensitivity/pain to touch on their legs, esp the shins. http://www.lymphedema-therapy.com/Lipedema.htm/

    I have lipedema, and you’re right, it really can make finding decent pants difficult. I’m still able to find them, but they have to be loose, esp in the lower leg. Boots are impossible, at least for me. Socks can be very difficult too. I mostly wear ankle socks because of the lipedema.

    I’ll have to do a blog post about this someday. It’s a pain to deal with, but you just do the best you can and get on with your life. Try and stay as active as you can to minimize the risk of lymphedema or cellulitis, but it’s not easy with the lipedema, esp if you get lymphedema too.

  8. Hi Well Rounded Mama.

    Yeah I have heard of pluswoman and even used to shop at makingitbig, though I think making it big was the one who reduced their sizes but can’t remember. Some are just too expensive. Most of the dresses I get are in the 30-40 dollar range, I really can’t afford above that, though I do get clothes as gifts too from acouple friends.

    I wonder about the lipedema too. Now both legs are swollen to an extent, but one far far more. I have a history of SEVERE cellulitis, and have spent upwards of weeks in the hospital multiple times, from it, in legs and stomach. This year has been a bit better but I had to learn to rest and lay up and only had one leg infection all year as opposed to the usual 6-7 but they can come like gangbusters-like one minute you are fine and 20 minutes later the red spots appear and I carry emergency antibiotics in my purse. One thing with my legs and feet, my feet are NORMAL and NOT Swollen [as long as I have a steady TSH-thyroid] My legs hurt a LOT, all the time, I guess I always blamed the weight and the water. My weight distribution between upper body and lower is very extreme in the difference. I did give up wearing pants but the stomach on me is very large and they are hard to pull up, so that was part of it too. How did you get the lipedema diagnosed officially? I am *officially* diagnosed with lymphedema as well as congestive heart failure-[along with the multiples of other diagnoses discussed on my blog, so wonder if I could get more help with it. I have to balance activity, and resting to control legs and water and infections. It’s actually one of the worse parts of my health to contend with.

    Thanks for your help and advice and information. Please write an article soon, so I can show the doctor even at least.

    Five Hundredpoundpeep

  9. Hey peep,

    It sounds to me like you might have lipedema, with a secondary complication of lymphedema. Of course, I’m not a medical professional so I could be wrong, but it might be worth checking into.

    The problem is that even if you get it diagnosed officially, there’s not a lot of effective treatment for lipedema. But it still may be worth it. I think that medical professionals are a little more understanding if they get that there is a medical problem there and it’s not just a matter of a person eating poorly or not taking care of themselves. So it might be worth diagnosing and having in a chart even when there aren’t really good treatments for it. You might get better understanding from the docs if they “get” that cellulitis is a common complication of this, yadda yadda.

    There are a number of decent articles about lipedema online. Like any internet info, though, the quality varies. And of course, many of them have plenty of fatphobia and diet advice, so you have to sift through with a jaundiced eye and emotional armor. But look through them, print one or two out (esp with pictures, which tend to really get the docs’ attention), and take them in. I use the link posted earlier as an introduction to it because its pictures are useful, but it does have some annoying fat-phobia in it too. I overlook that because I think it’s a decent intro to the topic.

    It sounds like you’ve really had a rough time with cellulitis. I’m so sorry you’ve gone through that. I hope you have talked over antibiotic dosage with your care providers so that you are getting the type of antibiotic and the dose that’s appropriate for you. Some antibiotics need to be weight-dosed and some don’t. That’s still an emerging field, but even among those drugs with a documented need for and guidance on adjusted dosing, the info often goes unknown or ignored. One study I wrote about recently found that only ~5% of “morbidly obese” folks in the E.R. got the correct adjusted dose of certain antibiotics for their size, and that was in a hospital that specialized in treating very fat people. So, since this is a frequent issue for you, this is something you might want to read up on so you can advocate for yourself on it.

    http://www.wellroundedmama.blogspot.com/2012/08/obese-patients-undertreated-for.html
    http://www.wellroundedmama.blogspot.com/2012/08/lowering-risk-for-surgical-site.html

  10. Re dreams, sometimes I dream I’m at the foot of an incredibly long flight of stairs and there’s no way I can climb that high. Maybe it’s supposed to represent the physical and emotional barriers we fat people face. Sometimes in my dreams I’m stuck there at the bottom while everyone else passes me by or sometimes I’m stuck there alone. Sometimes there’s also a turnstyle and I’m too fat to fit through it. But sometimes I can turn sideways and lift my big hanging belly enough to squeeze through. And sometimes I find a hidden switch that turns the staircase into an escalator or I find a hidden elevator nobody noticed. Maybe it depends on what kind of day I just had and how creative I feel. I hardly ever dream I’m thin. Maybe I’ve just been so fat for so long it’s hard to think of myself any other way and life is generally good to me so I’m comfortable in my own skin but do wish the world could be more fat friendly. Fat is a major part of my life but I’m so much more than that.

    I’ve had some real-life wardrobe disasters like ripping a dress or a pair of pants but they were close enough to home or we were on vacation and I had plenty of spare clothes so I could hurry up and change into something else. One formal night on a cruise I was getting up from dinner and my dress caught on something and rrrrrip! Talk about embarrassing! We hurried back to our cabin holding my dress together, and after we got there I let go of the tear in my dress and stood there catching my breath. My husband said seeing me standing there breathing heavily in a torn dress with some major peekaboo fat hanging out was incredibly hot. We didn’t make it to the after-dinner show. ;)

    Great blog. I love being reassured we can survive and thrive living while fat.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s