For much of my adult like I have been a big girl. The plus size section has been my home, when it comes to shopping.
Once, I proudly pronounced that I was a size 14. Now, I am a size eighteen, if the jeans are kind, and my boasting has ended.
As a teen, I was never petite. In fact, I don’t remember a time when my thighs didn’t touch and booty didn’t jiggle. My cleavage has become more impressive over the years, but mostly the body I have today is one that I am used to.
Sometimes I love it. Sometimes I loathe it.
And no one ever told me I was fat. There was a girl in high school who informed me that I had child bearing hips. Twenty years later, my hips are bigger and I am still childless.
Somewhere along life’s journey, I learned that my size was a negative in finding love and happiness. Maybe it was my birth father always trying to get me to go the gym. Maybe it was that my first couple of serious boyfriends all leaving me for someone far more slender than I have ever been, or will ever be this side of starvation, and I never could understand how they could have ever loved me if they now loved on someone who was my opposite, size wise.
I am not my size. I tell myself this. I tell myself that the right person to start a family with will come along and that I am doing the right thing by waiting. That there are other things in the world besides having a family. Right now, I work three jobs to help pay off my debt so I can go back to school. When I am not working, I’m writing or trying to write which sometimes involves gluing myself to a chair.
I tell you these things; expose myself to you, so that you will understand that weight and body issues are not just about self-esteem. They are mixed up in all the stresses of modern life. The stresses of being single at an age when everyone is paired up, or grouped up, with significant others and lovers and I go to bed at night alone. (I love you, Luke, but you aren’t human and as much comfort as you give me, I need and crave human touch.)
I have also lived with depression most of my life along with arthritis in my knees and a heart that beats to its own beat. (Once, when learning to drum someone told me just to beat out my heart beat. My heart beats so fast at times, I can’t breathe. He never tried to give me another lesson.)
I tell you these things, expose these things, so that you will understand why posting a picture of myself in a form fitting dress on my Facebook page was probably one of the bravest things I have ever done.
I know how cruel the internet can be; I am a high school teacher. I have seen students fight over things they saw on-line. Hell, I have gotten angry over things I have seen on-line and laughed at things I never would chuckle at in real life.
At the same time my horizons have been expanded by reading more diverse materials including fashion blogs for plus sized ladies.
Tess Munster and Georgina Horne are two of the divine goddesses responsible for me coming out of my shell and reaching out into the world. They helped me see myself as beautiful and worthy of love. They have helped me open the doors to more self-love days and close the door on many self-loathing days.
My students asked me if I had a new man in my life. I told them no. I was happy to tell them that things in personal life hadn’t changed. They told me again that I was just different this year. Maybe I am. Maybe I am finally getting to a point of self-love where my inner self accepts the shell it was born into as a gift. It makes me shine. It makes me bold. It makes me a better me.
So I bare myself to the world, one Facebook post at a time. I know that one day soon some of the comments may turn negative, but love, I believe, always wins.