I am the wrong side of 50, definitely larger than life, epileptic and have arthritic knees (so sadly am no longer designed for bounding like a gazelle across the plains). I also wear glasses and have recently become wheat intolerant thanks to OD’ing on Ibuprofen. And if you think that I sound like a complete crock, I am starting my biog like this for a purpose – to show that I have a degree of personal expertise when I write about what it’s like dealing with life, trains and airline seats from this side of the divide. I should also probably point out that I probably have little more wrong with me than most people my age, but we rarely discuss these things openly until they reach crisis point.
What else is important about me? I’m passionate about travel and writing. I’ve written and edited over 30 guidebooks and quantities of articles for magazines, websites and newspapers (some award-winning). I grew up in Zimbabwe and get back to Africa whenever I can. I also teach English as a foreign language, which I thoroughly enjoy, live with my partner in a pink medieval house in Colchester, have a cat called Muesli and a dog called Cello. Oh – and I really love ice-cream!
If you want to know more about me, please go to www.melissashales.co.uk.
World @ Large
By profession I am a travel writer, I have been to an awful lot of places in the world and I do tend to attract attention. My size is not small (except in Miami, where I felt positively sylph-like). Small children and old men across the world from Manchester to Mumbai feel it is their God-given right to walk up to me, look at me and say, often in very considered tones, “I think you are very fat.” My answer is usually simply “Yes”, though I made great friends with some children in Marrakech when I managed to persuade them I was the fattest woman in the world (not true, I wouldn’t want to usurp someone else’s hardwon title). Some also offer gratuitous advice on going to the gym or diets. Men in Africa and the Caribbean get very over-excited. Women in Europe are self-consciously over-sensitive and wonder about glandular problems, while the English invariably mention Dawn French (God bless Dawn, her company makes great fat lady clothes). But everyone comments. You learn to develop a thick skin and get the joke in first.
I would love to hear from you. Please do write in and have your say via the comments sections or Contact page. However, very sadly, I have come to realise that sizeism has become one of the last bastions of hate crime and bullying unprotected by law and I have seen far too many vitriolic statements against fat (or indeed very thin) people. I am happy to publish constructive criticism, but, both for legal reasons and on the grounds of sanity, I do reserve the right to moderate comments before they are published and not to publish anything that I consider to be abusive, libellous or gratuitously unpleasant.