I’ve been told during countless occasions how “beautiful” I was, and how I had “enviable” features: Heart-shaped lips and an “ideal” nose. Freckles and beauty marks meticulously placed near the most sought-after areas, and long, envy-worthy eyelashes – no curler required. People (family and strangers included) praised these physical attributes and gushed over how “exotic” and “retro” I looked. But, these were all niceties aimed at the neck up. Never once did they compliment me on my figure.
Being fat or overweight has always, for the most part, been assumed to accompany plainness or ugliness. So, despite being told I was beautiful, I had the immediate notion of believing I was ugly just because I didn’t fit into a size 4 dress or a size 4 anything, for that matter. I just couldn’t understand how I escalated up to a size 16 in jeans so quickly. I remembered being 150 pounds when I started high school and thought I was fat even back then. After graduating college, I soon ballooned to 200+, and I think my mom was more disappointed in me than I was with myself. “If only you got back to the weight you were when you were in high school, and you thought you were fat back then!”, she would tell me almost on a weekly basis. While mixed messages of “love your body”, “size is only a number”, and so on would be constantly emphasized on fashion and self-love campaigns, I still had, in the back of my mind, the urgency to lose weight, no matter how empowering these mantras seemed.
Looking in the mirror fully-clothed was one thing, but looking at yourself completely naked tells an entire story, from beginning to end. I saw rolls on my bag, rolls in between my thighs, red stretch marks on my stomach, and arm fat (which I hate the most). Everything I saw made me uncomfortable and even disgusted. I feel like I never really noticed my naked self until I gained so much weight. Even now, I still look in the mirror to reassure myself of the progress I have made (or lack therof).
To this day, I’ve never had a serious relationship with a guy. I’m too self-conscious and too pent-up with self-hatred of my outer self to even go to places like bars and clubs. For now, my eating is normal or can even be considered too scarce. Gym time is limited, and my mom continues to bash me on my stomach rolls and how wide I’ve become. It’s only a matter of time before I’m fully comfortable with myself. My mother’s opinion is still another story altogether.