Juliette Burton: Size matters

Juliette Burton. Picture: contributed
Juliette Burton. Picture: contributed
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DOES size matter? Ask comedienne Juliette Burton, who brings her new show Look At Me, to the Gilded Balloon. Although her answer might not be the one you expect.

I’VE been a size 4 and size 20 thanks to eating disorders. I’ve lost more pounds than Edinburgh City Council and gained more than their tram works budget.

When I was thin I took up less space. When I was fat I took up so much space Russian astronauts kept trying to dock me.

At size 20 clothes never fitted. At size 4 I could shop in Hollister and Baby Gap.

As a large girl, I couldn’t see my own crotch. I didn’t want to. I was so depressed I wasn’t interested in sex.

Being skinny’s the same. When you’re underweight you’re not interested in anyone lying on top of you.

Not for fear of being squashed. My starved body worked overtime to pump blood to vital 
organs and – contrary to what some men think – organs between our legs aren’t vital.

When skeletal, the state got involved: I was sectioned. As a suicidal obese woman, no-one cared. I appeared to be a jolly girl who maybe had shares in McDonald’s.

To the NHS, weight matters more than how psychologically disturbed you are. Most eating disorder treatment is like lads’ mags; a woman’s body is more important than her mind.

Ultimately, being anorexic and a compulsive overeater are similar: my mind was unwell in both bodies, however differently-shaped they were. Now, I’m grateful to be in recovery with even better support than the massive sports bras I used to wear.

There’s hope – and that isn’t dependent on size.

• Juliette Burton: Look At Me, Gilded Balloon, until 25 August, 2.45pm, £8-£10, 0131-226 0000