Hello and happy Thursday. My name is Camila and according to my OKCupid profile I’m “curvy.” I have never in my life been skinny and I don’t ever want to be. I first realized I was overweight when I was eight years old, and that’s what I’ve been my whole life. I’ve ranged from being borderline obese to almost having the weight expected for my height and age. It’s been a tough journey, but if you’re reading this post that means I finally sat down to write about it all: my body, my fat, and everything that comes with it.
I consider myself “curvy” on OKCupid because I think it’s the option that best fits me, although at times I also think I’m lying and someone will come at me for that. I’m not going to say I have “a little extra” because that sounds like I’m fetching for compliments of the “you’re not fat, you’re pretty” sort. I’m not going to say I’m chubby because I’m not. I’m tall and well-proportioned, and chubby is and adjective I wouldn’t use on anyone over the age of twelve. I’m not going to say I’m overweight in an online dating profile because that’s just about the most anticlimactic thing imaginable, and I’m not saying I’m “full-figured” either because it would be like pretending I’m in a club I haven’t gotten membership to.
I’m not a member of the “plus size” club, and I know this because I’ve searched for plus sized clothes when straight sizes have disappointed me only to realize I’m too small for them. So, what am I? I’m a big straight sized girl. I’m big because besides being overweight I’m tall, and I love it. I seriously love being big, and I discovered that thanks to my drama teacher at school. You see, she once told us that in order to be great actresses we needed to be big, that the world of theater didn’t admit small people. We needed big bodies and big voices, and that is a piece of advice I’ve made a part of my everyday life.
My sizes range between M and L. Sometimes I’m XL, and sometimes I find clothes that are marked S, which I’m sure have been wrongly tagged because they still fit me. I’m an 8 on top, and I range between a 10 and a 12 when it comes to bottoms. Sometimes after eating decently for a week or two and going to the gym I notice some of my clothes are loose and even though I feel good about it, I also dread the fact that I just got those clothes and now I can’t lose any more weight because then I won’t be able to wear them.
I wore my first bikini at the age of 23, and even as I’m writing this I feel like crying because I never thought something so simple like a piece of clothing would make me feel so good and sexy. I think I’ve told you before that I now collect bikinis. They’re all high-waisted to hide the roll in my belly that probably won’t ever leave me.
How did I get to love my body? This is by no means a step-by-step guide, especially because in my case it wasn’t a process I followed. I see my body-loving journey more like assembling a puzzle: I had some of the pieces already there, and there were some that I had to look for, or that appeared in random places. There were some pieces I that just wouldn’t fit, like they didn’t belong to the puzzle, and yet after years of assembling it, I feel like when it appears to be complete, it keeps growing and I need to keep working on it.
Graduating high school and being able to wear whichever clothes I wanted to was a first step, I think. At school I had to wear a uniform that made me look like a fridge: all rectangular, with no curves, no defined parts. In university, I was the kind of girl who always looked her best. Sometimes people would ask me whether I had somewhere to be, like an important meeting, but no, I just got pretty to attend my classes. When I was nineteen, I got into makeup, and it too helped in ways many people (who are against makeup) won’t even imagine. There’s something wonderful about looking at your face up close and noticing not your imperfections but all the potential you have. I’m thankful about my big round face because it represents a larger canvas for me to work on.
A couple of years after getting into makeup, I started taking Zumba classes, and discovered that there is something more important about weight, something that the scales won’t tell you, and it’s how you feel with your body. My legs and arms got toned, and I got a waist (it’d been hidden under a nice coat of fat and self-loathe for over twenty years. Who knew?). I shrunk alright, but my boobs didn’t, and so at the age of twenty-one I got a breast reduction surgery and it was life-changing.
See, most of the times we associate body-love with just our weight, and we don’t realize that loving our body is strictly linked with loving ourselves, and that entails much more than a number in a scale. I didn’t just hate my weight, I discovered: I neglected my whole self, and through makeup, exercise, surgery, and self-care in general, I was learning to love me.
I got to a point both internally and externally in which I felt good with who I was. I worked to have an attractive life, to become an attractive person. Everyday I ask myself, “if I met me, would I like me? Would I like to hangout with someone like myself?” And the question is yes because I love my life, and that attracts people to me. And here I’m not saying I’m attractive as a synonym of “fuckable.”
I’m attractive to the people I like. I feel sexy wearing lingerie and flirting, but by no means I feel validated by the men who are into me. And yes, I attract more men now, and I love it. But I also attract friends because I’m more confident and approachable. I strive to be the best version of myself and that means I own who I am and what I look like.
In the comments below, tell me a piece of advice you’d give to someone who’s struggling to love themselves.
Love, Miss Camila