I’ve always been told that it’s impossible for someone with my size to find love. In fact, I’ve heard it enough times that sometimes I feel like the “lucky fat girl” just because I managed to get a boyfriend.
Thinking about relationships used to always lead me back to haunting memories. I was the unwanted fat girl of the class, the subject of the “big mama” jokes in seventh grade, and dealt with heartbreak after heartbreak. I was told, “I would never date you,” and scared off a few guys. When my friends wondered who I was crushing on I brushed off the question by saying that anyone liking me was a joke.
And to make it worse, I was told, “you won’t get married looking like that” and “boys don’t like fat girls” over and over again. My family taught me that being “slim and pretty” is the answer to getting into a relationship, receiving opportunities for careers, and overall genuinely enjoying life.
To comfort myself, I grew a secret obsession for the romance genre. Movies, shows, Tumblr posts, heck I even wrote some cheesy romance stories myself, which makes me cringe to this day. I thought that if I saw love in these stories that I’d eventually believe that I could find love too.
Yet all over my social media and the big screen I only saw slim girls with fit guys with thin lips swallowing each other’s faces. I didn’t see a little bit of cellulite or a single stomach roll. I never saw myself being represented in these examples of romantic and healthy relationships.
So, I felt like I didn’t deserve to experience butterflies. I created lists of reasons why I wasn’t good enough, how ugly I was, and how I was meant to be alone. I thought that if I ever got to be in a relationship and I got mistreated that it’d be expected since I’m not a “slim and pretty girl”. It’s all I ended up with in my imaginary scenarios.
Fast forward to present-day me and I’m actually in a relationship for the first time with a guy who isn’t a jerk. However, I’d be lying if something about him wasn’t bothering me at first. It wasn’t his height, hair, or his corny jokes, all of which I love, it was that I couldn’t figure out why he liked me for me.
My boyfriend isn’t afraid to hold me and kiss me. I’ve never met someone like him who wanted to take the time to get to know me and learn about the girl beyond those curves and stretch marks. Yet, he doesn’t try to ignore the fact that I’m plus-sized. He doesn’t try to hide me in front of his friends or even try to control how I look either.
Now I’m not saying that all he’s supposed to be body-obsessed, but let’s be honest here! Most straight guys, whether they publicly express it or not, love to focus on the shape of a girl more than her actual personality. Despite all of my great qualities, I’m usually written off as “not worth it”.
I’m not society’s preferred version of thick girl. I have many curves, stretch marks, really thick thighs, and to top it all off cellulite. To me, he wasn’t supposed to like me more than as a friend so when he confessed that he liked me back I was shocked.
Because I grew up with this idea that skinny girls always get the guys, when I was with him sometimes I felt like I wasn’t not supposed to be this “lucky”. Was I wasting his time? Was I too much for him? Was embarrassing to him? Did I make him look bad?
I knew in the back of my mind that he cared for me and liked me for the way I was, but my insecurities about myself and my body kept me from enjoying the relationship at first.
I was afraid to express to him about how I was feeling for a few months. So you can imagine how confused he was when I accidentally accused him of being with me out of pity. Deep down I knew it wasn’t true, but I was swirling into a dark hole of self-hate that night, and I took it out on him.
I almost ruined my relationship because I didn’t want to communicate my feelings. I felt like sharing my insecurities was a burden. During that moment I knew if I lost him that I deserved that. He wasn’t only confused but also hurt that I’d ever say he was with me all this time just because he felt bad for me.
Instead of walking away, he took the opportunity to open up the conversation on my insecurities. It was hard since I didn’t want to open up, but over time he let me explain the flaws I saw and why. For every flaw I mentioned, he fought back with something he loves about me.
It’s hard to not think so low of myself. There are days where my self-esteem is so far down the toilet that it seems pointless to try and get out of it. It’s a learning process and thankfully he’s there for me every step of the way.
He’s one of the people that are teaching me that size doesn’t determine who will love you, if you should love yourself, or if you can even be loved! Love is so amazing and big that it can come in any size.
I just hope one day I’m able to fully believe in that and genuinely enjoy life without feeling like I can only do it as a “slim and pretty girl”.