I have always wanted to fall in love. As a teenager and college student I prayed that I would only fall in love once and that my one love story would be with my husband, the man I would spend the rest of my life with. Now, it’s a given and I don’t need to pray it anymore. I am not here to date around. I’m here to get married.
With that endgame in mind, this was my thinking – one day I will fall in love with a guy and he will fall in love with me… despite my body. Nobody is ever going to see me from across a room and feel the love at first sight kind of thing, but once he gets to know me and is dazzled by my winning personality, then he’ll be willing to overlook my fat body in order to love me.
And this is coming from someone with a pretty healthy self esteem. I have made it to and part-way through womanhood with a below average number of negative thoughts about my body. I have never really wanted to be skinny (at least not enough to do anything about it), I had just kind of resigned myself to this body and this kind of incomplete love story.
It breaks my heart to think that there are beautiful and glorious individuals walking around this planet hoping that one day they might be able to charm someone into loving them despite their bodies. But that was my thinking and I’m not so self-important as to think I’m the only one who has felt that way.
Well, first, enter blogging. Remember blogs? They’re not nearly as popular as they once where, but in college and in my first few post-college years, blogs were a big deal and I ate them up with a spoon. When I found a blogger I liked, I would go back to the beginning of their blog and read everything they had ever written. I did that with Sarah Bessey, Brittany Herself, Jamie the Very Worst Missionary, and Beth Woolsey. Four women whose writing I still highly recommend to this day. It was Brittany Herself in her blog post about having sex every day for a year that really started to change my thinking about my body and its role in my love story.
(What? We can talk about sex on the internet and also be professing Christians? Yes. Yes, we can.)
Then I got on Instagram. And started following Brittany Gibbons (Brittany Herself), Tess Holliday, Dana Falsetti, Melinda Alexander of Mumu Mansion, Sam Rowswell of FattyBoomTatty, Tallulah Moon, Gia Natalia Narvaez, and effyourbeautystandards. And something beautiful happened.
I looked at Tess Holliday and saw her big arms and knew that they were beautiful. Which had to mean that my big arms could be beautiful too, right? And I saw Dana and her belly and knew that it was beautiful, which means my belly must be beautiful too, right? And I saw Melinda and her breasts that are uneven and point down and knew that they were beautiful. Which means that maybe mine are beautiful, too! Even if they don’t look like the breasts we see on TV. And I saw Sam’s flat butt and Tess’s back rolls. And it was good! It was all good!
And then! I saw them in love. I saw them in partnership with these beautiful men who love them and celebrate their women – all of them, even their bodies! I saw these women sharing their love stories and knew, just knew, that their men did not love them in spite of their bodies, but because of their bodies. Because their bodies are part of them and they are beautiful.
So, first I saw these women and knew they were beautiful (because they are – look at them!) and recognizing the beauty in them allowed me to recognize the beauty in me. THEN, I saw these women being loved and celebrated as whole human beings by their partners. These women showed me that my body is to be celebrated. First by me, then by my partner.
And that is beautiful. Just like us.