As a chubby girl, my goal in life was to blend in. I’m not sure when I adhered to this line of thinking but all I can remember was getting attention never equaled anything good. Because I didn’t see myself, it made it that much more difficult for others to see me; therefore, I never had a real, meaningful relationship. I dreamed about finding The One but ultimately, that dream seemed unrealistic and just out of reach.
This didn’t keep me from dating; I dated but because I was broken, I attracted other broken people. It’s no one’s fault that I was broken; it was just the perfect combination of wallflowerness mixed with chubbiness that convinced me that I wasn’t worthy of anything good. This lack of belief caused me to make poor relationship decisions in an attempt to get what I wanted, which was wholeness.
Not the wholeness of being in a relationship but the wholeness of not feeling badly about myself. I didn’t want to look in the mirror and cringe at my soft tummy or heavy thighs. I wanted to see someone worthy, beautiful and lovable. For those of you who don’t struggle with this, I understand it may be difficult to relate but for those of you who do understand…it’s an everyday struggle to not hate who you are, especially when you don’t look like mainstream standards of beauty.
I continued to date while also trying to love myself. Not necessarily the best combination; only because when seeking wholeness, one will look anywhere for it. Therefore, if someone is willing to give validation, the broken person will take it out of desperation. And that’s what I did: any bit of validation I could receive from guys, I took it, trying to mend my own brokenness. Trying to feel good about myself through their eyes and not my own. Clearly, dating was turning out to be a disaster. I was hooking up with guys, thinking it was the only way to get them to stay. I didn’t have standards because truthfully, I didn’t think I was worth it. My fear of rejection far outweighed my desire to stand up for myself. Plainly put: I was thirsty! This thirstiness told the Universe to send me any guy willing to take advantage of a girl in my situation and it did. Heartbroken and exhausted, I stopped trying to find The One and started discovering myself.
I wanted to start with self-love. I can’t give you the exact steps I took in order to achieve this. I had good days and bad days; I struggled, made mistakes and cursed the heavens for making me a plus-size princess. It was difficult but through the angst, I began to see changes. Day by day, I started giving myself a little more consideration, a little more love and kindness. I’d try to eat better to feel better, I tried to work out to feel the satisfaction of accomplishment. I de-cluttered people in my life who made me feel less-than; I said “no” to men who had no intention of romantic pursuits but instead hid behind the tired line: “let’s be friends”. Day by day, I started to see myself for who I was: smart, beautiful and worth it.
Seeing myself differently in conjunction with reading body-positive blogs, following body-positive Instagram pages and tons of meditation and positive-self talk did I begin to let go of the old way in which I saw myself. I began saying “yes” more to life, trying new things, laughing and letting go of any toxic ways of thinking that brought me down. I surrounded myself with positive people who loved me for me, preferring quality friends over quantity.
Like the words of Olivia Pope “I choose me!” I’m not focused on finding a man but creating an interesting and meaningful life. My goal is to go for my dreams no matter what, to put my happiness first—a happiness that’s not contingent upon whether I’m single or in a relationship. Instead of giving my energy away to men who don’t appreciate it, I keep it for myself. All of the encouragement, motivation and compassion I’d give away to some guy because he showed me attention has now been redirected toward me. I encourage, love and support myself. I have wonderful things to say to myself.
I recently went out on a date with a guy I met online. He was funny, smart, and into social justice issues—just like me. Something was different about this date; I was different. I was myself—no representative, false agenda or bad intentions. I paid attention to his answers, following up with mindful questions. At one point he said, “Wow, you’ve really got it together” and while it came off as a compliment, I felt like it made him a bit uncomfortable and unsure. There was something about being whole that put him off. Within a day he “friend-zoned” me, claiming he didn’t have “time to date”. A few months ago I would’ve accepted this and worked at being his friend requiring nothing from him in return. In my broken state, I would’ve called and invited him out and he would’ve blown me off or gave me an obligatory friend-date. I realized I didn’t have to force a guy to spend time with me so instead of beating myself up because he didn’t choose me, I continued to choose myself!
I believe that when we choose ourselves, we adjust our energy. It’s more involved than just loving ourselves (which is a great place to start!). We can tell when a man chooses a woman—he puts her first and she knows it. Choosing ourselves means we put us first no matter what; it’s not selfish, it’s self-care. I believe by doing this, the Universe grants us with copious amounts of positivity so we can create full, meaningful lives that will ultimately possess everything we’ve ever desired for ourselves. If you’re feeling a little beat up by the dating game, take a break and choose yourself. Despite what society tells us, we can have kick-ass lives without a man by our side. Like Carrie Bradshaw said, “The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you, you love, well, that’s just fabulous.”
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