In my early 20s, I wore size 24 jeans and my enormous boobs demanded an H-cup bra, a letter no woman should have to associate with lingerie sizing. I couldn’t fit into restaurant booths or through the subway turnstile. I even once held up an entire roller coaster ride at Six Flags so I could get back onto the platform when the seat belt wouldn’t buckle around me — a character-building experience to say the least. I’d dropped out of college, didn’t have any job prospects and I was in a serious romantic relationship with a man who was actually gay (and a little nuts). It was a dark, lonely time in my life mired in lots of bong-hitting and double-cheeseburgering.
After surprising myself by punching said gay boyfriend in the mouth one night during a screaming match (to which he responded by pulling my hair for 20 minutes – so gay!), I met my own ugly rock bottom. What came next was a brief stint as a homeless, fat girl living out of her Honda. There was, as they say, nowhere else to go but up.
Carried by the pity of a few good friends, I eventually found a job, a place to live and I went back to college. I spent a couple years losing 100+ pounds, had two breast reduction surgeries, and poured my guts out to a therapist twice a week. The fog was clearing.
Then, like something out of a fairytale, and much to my dismay, I starting falling for an amazing guy who was falling for me too. We’d been friends for years, but I still couldn’t believe it was happening. He wasn’t gay. He wasn’t fat. He was hot. And wonderful. And he usually dated gorgeous girls. But he liked me.
Yes, I was excited, but a nagging sense of self-doubt plagued me too. I didn’t have a great track record for stable relationships and my personal history read like a rap sheet of stupid decisions and impulsive fast food binges. There’s no way this is gonna work out, I thought. He’ll realize I’m damaged goods any day now.
I was terrified of getting hurt and I just couldn’t see a relationship with this guy going anywhere — I had the impending disaster mapped out in my head: I’ll end up the cute, funny, chubby best friend who locks herself in the bathroom when he finally calls to say he’s engaged to an 87-pound socialite he met while waiting in line at a Parisian cafe. She likes her lattes with a lot of foam and he thinks that’s super adorable and — too late, I don’t wait to hear about the fabulous Manhattan wedding they’re planning because I’ve already snapped and am halfway down the block serial-murdering everyone with a pair of scissors.
Even though we always had fun together and he was always a gentleman, many evenings we spent in each other’s company ended in my crying in the cab on the way home, feeling totally inadequate, uncertain, and obsessed with the idea that I wasn’t good enough. I tried not to let on, but I over-analyzed our every correspondence and felt sick to my stomach whenever I saw him talking to another girl. Not to mention, my last relationship had been such a mess, I was plotting to psychologically cripple the next man who screwed me over. How inviting.
But as time went on, his good intentions became more difficult to deny. He was honest, sweet, everyone loved him, and he always made me feel sexy and smart. Then, New Year’s Eve rolled around. And we found ourselves celebrating alone together. We’d had plenty of other offers that evening, but we decided to share a bottle of wine in his living room instead. It was a meaningful step for a young romance.
We sat on his couch and made confessions to each other, the stuff we needed a new partner to know. All of mine were about my body image and my past. I was worried he’d be turned off, but I had to come clean, or continue being eaten alive by my own madness.
So I said my piece. And when I looked up, I saw these bright, blue eyes staring back at me with unmistakable empathy. He wasn’t judging me. He loved me. He saw in me a whole, unique person who made him happy. And it was in that moment that I decided to stop living in the past and get the hell over myself. It was like flipping a switch.
Four years later, we have a cozy home together, we’re the dorky parents of two adorable cats and we have so many plans for the future. I’m not the picture-perfect girl I always assumed he’d end up marrying – but who needs that bitch?
I was wrong about him. I was also wrong to believe that anyone else can decide whether or not I’m worthy. Of course I am.