“Can you pull over mate, I think I’m going to be sick!”
It’s 5.55pm on a week night and I’m in a taxi from town to Walton in the midst of rush hour traffic and a combination of crippling anxiety and travel sickness has seen me almost vomit at the side of the road with quite an audience watching. I’m going to miss my debut appearance on television and I’m praying that anyone I know will miss it too.
I’ll start from the beginning…
It’s my second day of FUNemployment, my catchy term for my current jobless status which I use to mask all the very valid fears I have about not having a regular source of income. I manage to get up early (10am is very early when you’re out of work, FYI) and head over to the gym as I’m determined not becoming too hideously lazy these days. While sweating away on the cross trainer I get a call from Granada Reports. Earlier that morning I had put myself forward, via the fantastic Generation Rent organisation, to speak to someone in the media about the renting and general housing crisis in the UK at the moment. If you follow me on Twitter you’ll be only too aware of my views about the matter. If you don’t then spoiler alert, I hate letting agents. Basically, if I saw one on fire and had a bottle of water, I’d put them out, sure, but only after they’d paid £250 to cover any ‘Administration Costs’.
I hadn’t really given much thought to all this when I put myself forward; I assumed it would be print media. I’m very happy to be a rent a gob just so long as no one actually sees my gob. With my face bright red from a workout, I’m on the phone agreeing to be filmed for Granada Reports, ITV’s North West news show, and they will be at my flat within the next couple of hours.
Over the next two hours the following happened:
- I had a minor panic attack about the thought of appearing on TV looking fat.
- I had my friend come half way across town to do my make-up as I still haven’t mastered how to apply foundation without getting an orange tide line. She was amazing. I suggest you all get yourself a friend who can contour and calm you at the same time.
- I didn’t shower. They can’t smell you on TV after all.
- I laughed when the Manchester journalist referred to my flat as a gaff constantly.
- I constantly had to move mess around the flat depending on where they were filming. Dirty dishes ending up on my bedroom floor at one point.
- I rambled on for quite a while about how this government has woefully let down a generation of working class people and have no intention of solving the housing crisis. If I had a quid for every time i managed to get a sly dig at Tories into any topic whatsoever, I’d have enough money to be a Buy to Let landlord.
- I cringed as they filmed me ‘naturally’ walking into my building about 10 times.
And then they left.
And then I panicked.
In a few hours I’d be on national (ish) TV and I was horrified at the possibility of looking fat on TV for all to see. While I should have been excited and proud of myself, I was, yet again, obsessing and worrying about my body. I’m aware how self indulgent and narcissistic all my anxiety about my weight and appearance is and I hate every time I let it stop me getting on with life or completing normal tasks but I can’t help it. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve cancelled plans, sometimes important ones, because I’ve ‘felt fat’. There has been so many occasions where I’m having a conversation with someone and I lose track of what they’re saying because I’ve seen their gaze move and I’ve convinced myself they’ve spotted a disgusting ‘fat’ part of my body and are revolted by me. Calling me fat is the worst and most hurtful thing you could ever say to me and I’m ashamed of that. I constantly bang on about body confidence and argue with Katie Hopkins types who think fat shaming and bullying people as ‘telling it as it is’ yet I’d rather be told my work is rubbish, or that I have a horrible personality, than I would be called fat. As much as I’d love to own a flat or house, I can’t be sure that if for some random magical reason I had the choice between being gifted some property or a guarantee i could be a skinny size 6 the rest of my life that I wouldn’t take the option of being slim for the rest of my days. Dickhead, aren’t i?
So yeah, even now, rather than writing up a piece that would tie in with my appearance on TV; discussing my experiences renting, what I think needs to be done to tackle the housing crisis and why I think letting agents can’t actually be human beings, I’m here waffling on about my weight and body insecurities, yet again. Worse thing is, all the clothes I was wearing when being filmed that day were a size 10 so I know I’m being ridiculous. I missed out on watching myself on TV with my friends and family because I spent all day being a weirdo saying i’d like to be alone and waited until ten minutes before it aired to get a taxi to my mate’s house. It took me a few bottles of wine before I could watch it on catch up and even now, I still haven’t got to the point where I can view it without feeling disgusted with myself. This isn’t the first time I’ve done something like this, I’ve got form. Back in October 2015 I was so excited to have a double page spread in Grazia magazine but it involved having a photoshoot featuring yours truly. Instead of buzzing about being pampered on a set and getting some professional photographs taken, I burnt everyone’s head out worrying that I was going to look fat and almost didn’t buy a copy of the magazine the day it came out. Like I said, dickhead aren’t i?
So I’m going to pledge two things:
- I’m going to work on my body image issues as hard as I work at going to the gym
- I will get round to writing a piece about renting and in the housing crisis
In the meantime, here’s where you can watch me looking like a huge whale* on TV if you so wish and a few links to some pieces that sum up the experiences of being a private tennent in the midst of a renting crisis:
And, if like me, you’re part of Generation Rent, here’s a piece that cheered me up:
*I promise that’s the last self depreciating gag about my body.