FAT AND EASY: TOTALLY NOT SYNONYMS


Hold on to your britches ladies, shit is going to get real on this here blog for a minute or two.



I remember the exact moment that the concept of someone finding me attractive became even a remote possibility. I was 20 years old (TWENTY), talking to a friend when they said with a snicker, “Can you believe Henry thinks you’re hot?!?”
This sentence came to me as a question because “Henry” was not one to be flattered by. He didn't have girls lining up to date him and he didn't possess any qualities of a good catch, but these details were lost on me. I was still shocked and stunned by the fact that ANY homosapien on this planet would find my body attractive.
Growing up, I felt so desexualized that the promise of any sort of physical appreciation was inconceivable, even in my future. Yet here I was. A male found me sexy. It was within this moment that my wheels started turning -- and thus began my two-year stint with reckless and hedonistic debauchery.
Dun dun DUN!
I really wish I could say that I never stepped foot into the word of endless one-night stands based purely on attention toward my body. I wish that I grew up thinking that I was beautiful NOT ONLY on the inside, but on the outside as well. I wish that I was raised to celebrate, love, cherish and appreciate my body for all of the wonderful things that it does and is, but I wasn't.
I grew up mortal enemies with my body; so much so that I was completely and utterly detached from it. Me and My Body were separate entities all together; fused only by physical proximity. My body was the friend that people tolerated so they could hang out with the rest of me. My poor body. So hated, reviled, ignored, camouflaged, shunned, demoralized and loathed. My body was neglected and famished for attention and so I jumped at the chance to be with whoever would have me.
Self-esteem is complex, diverse and impossible to fully understand. What I do know is that our personal views on ourselves are comprised of every interaction we have ever had in our whole life. The associations from your early childhood (especially infancy) count more than the rest. If you learned, even subconsciously, that you were not OK, well my friend, it's an uphill battle for the rest of your life.
“Fat women learn early that they should take male attention wherever they can get it, because what self respecting man would want to fuck a fat woman? Not only does this knowledge reinforce the idea that fat women do not deserve to be seen, but it also positions fat women as targets for men looking for an easy lay- she’ll take what she can get, regardless of what she actually desires, and consider herself lucky. The idea of such a woman saying no is inconceivable.”  -- Lesley Kinzel (Two Whole Cakes)
When it comes to sexuality and body image, life is especially hard on women. Overweight women are taught that we have failed at something that is unforgivable, and that failure decreases our worth as human beings. We have committed the worst sin, should be punished, and if we get any attention we should be eternally grateful that the fat gods have smiled down on our pathetic sub-human selves.
I believed it. Thanks to the shitty self-esteem I accumulated throughout my previous 21 years, I was easily seduced, fucked, discarded and then used as a ladder to get to more attractive (read: worthwhile) girls while enjoying the climb. All of this would start and end in quick succession, and I had no idea that I should have been bothered. I was just amazed that I got so much attention.
I am not concerned about the number of people that I slept with. Grown-ass adults can sleep with as many (or as few) people as they damn well like. This doesn’t make me ANY of the crass names that people like to call sexually active women.
But I am concerned about the intent behind my escapades. I wasn't purposefully giving my awesome woman-ness away, I was letting anyone and everyone take it. I wasn't bestowing upon, I was being stolen from. I didn’t value myself and so therefore the interactions themselves had no value.
I don't like the way I treated my body back then. It has nothing to do with being perceived as a "loose woman" (being a loose woman can be fun!), but rather everything to do with the fact that I deserved better. Better intentions and better care. I wish I would have said yes when I wanted yes, and no when I wanted no. That simple.
After those debaucherous years and the following few wherein I dated asex addict (sex equals love, right?), I started to catch on to the fact that I was being duped. When each rendezvous ended, I was left with just as much self-hatred as before. I started to see that physical lovin’ wasn’t my cure for self-loathing. I slowly and consciously started to learn how to say yes and how to say no, giving both my psyche and body the chance to choose what they actually wanted. I started liking myself a little more each day and soon after and attracted/captured my Him. With his support I have dabbled with the concept of falling in love with myself, an idea that had never been in my periphery before.

I am still and will probably always be on the journey toward accepting my body. We’ve been enemies for so long that to expect an immediate truce would be asinine. I have both good days and bad days throughout the week and when the former outweighs the latter, I call it a success. I feel loved by my Him more than anyone else and it isn't because he only sees what's inside of me. He finds what’s inside AND outside of me beautiful, and that is what has allowed me to begin to feel the same.

You can let go of your britches now.

58 comments

  1. This is such a great post. Thank you for sharing this, and that amazing photo. <3

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  2. I totally agree with what you said about self esteem. I always personally prided myself for having a high self esteem, but in reality I only have a high self esteem because I fit into what society deems to be attractive. I realize now that if I was born a different way, I definitely would have had a harder time loving my body an appreciating myself for who I am not how I look.

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    1. I think a lot of people have high self esteem even if they don't have a socially acceptable body/mind/life.

      I think the deciding factor is whether they grew up in a validating environment or not... some are lucky to do so! Yay for them! YAY FOR YOU! I think that as the world currently sits, it is common for women who are fat to be raised in an IN-validating environment because those raising them are susceptible to body hate as well. Until this world changes, it is hard to see things improving this way.

      I'm so glad you grew up with a great self esteem!!! Seriously, so priceless. I'm okay with the fact that I had to work really hard for 25 years to gain mine... I hope you pass your gift along to others:)

      xoxo

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  3. Oh my gosh I adore this post! and you! every woman deserves a man that loves her body, no matter what the size, you've inspired me, I have to tell my story.

    meg

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  4. Jes, I just wanted you to know that you inspired me to write my own story. Thanks so much, this story has really done things to me this morning that I cant explain.

    meg
    guppyandwhaleshark.blogspot.com

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    1. Meg, thank you for letting me know.

      I write stories like this, not to process them (Though writing helps, I am already very self aware) but to share my stories with all of the other women in the world. I don't think that I am special or unique with these sort of issues... kajillion of females large and small struggle throughout life trying to figure out where they fit in. It is always my hope that I reach at least one person... you have made my painful night of writing worthwhile;)

      Thank you.

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  5. I feel like I had the same concept of my body as a kid. Growing up pretty religious will do that to you, I guess. I really started to find my body when I started taking bellydance classes. That probably sounds very cliche or like the tart to romantic comedy but there's seriously nothing better that moving your hips in a way you didn't think possible to change your perceptions of your own body image. Also being surrounded by women of all shapes and sizes bearing their tummies and putting so much pride behind their dancing is really incredible to watch.
    I love this post a lot. And you, Jes. You're pretty much the bestest.

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    1. Ive heard of the wonders of belly dancing... I totally believe you.

      If only I could move like that;)
      Good for you xoxoxoxox

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  6. My goodness, you are so honest it's refreshing!! I looove that you are not afraid to share on your blog. LOVE IT. So many times you see these seemingly 'perfect' lives through these 'perfect' bloggers and well...fuck that...I'm over it. I'd much rather read an honest to goodness post like this than see a pretty photo anyday! Girl, you are fierce. I LOVE IT!!

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    1. Yeah, perfection can kiss my ass;)

      Well, it could if it existed.

      Thanks for the love letter, I adore you as well and I JUST LOVE BRIDGING THE GAP between vintage/lifestyle/body positive/feminist/photography blogs. It completes me:)

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  7. Great post and amazing photo. I went through the same thing myself at Uni, and I still struggle with it. No more though! "I is kind, I is smart, I is important!"

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  8. Jes, I just wanna tell you that I wanna smack those people who ever made you feel down about your body. You are beautiful, down-right hilarious, and overall a wonderful person. Also, the one quote in the first paragraph, the "Can you believe Henry thinks you’re hot?!?", that got a "Excuuuuuuse me" response with a whole lot of attitude. I hope you can picture that 'cause it's something to see, haha.

    Thanks for being on your journey to love. And you best believe that I love me more now too 'cause of your sass-iness that smacked me in the face and said "HECK, I'M GORGEOUS" (with some more of that funky attitude).

    Oh, and The Help. Hell yeah. You bet-cher ass I say that quote to myself a whole heck of a ton and whenever I get kids I'm gonna make sure they say it too.

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  9. "I am not concerned about the number of people that I slept with. As far as I believe, grown ass adults can sleep with as many (or as few) people as they damn well like. This doesn’t make you ANY of the crass names that people like to call sexually conscious and active women".

    I love you just for that. My goodness, it's so refreshing to see a woman who embraces her past. I've been called a hell of a lot over the past few years because I wasn't ashamed of my sexuality. Yeah, I slept with a fair few people. And what? I've never regretted any of them and I would do it all again.

    Oh, and guess what? It had nothing to do with my weight. In fact, I was pretty slim then. I wanted to do it, so I did. Take that, cynics!

    Becky
    xx

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    1. Rah rah Becky! Good for you for being just who you are. And on top of that, I love it.

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  10. Jes,

    WOW, ok. It is so refreshing to hear/read an honest, straight forward, no apologies, no excuses post. Do you think folks will ever have conversations in that manner again? You know, in life. I've been thinking about how my own approach to conversation and directness has been a handicap in Tucson. I'm mulling over a photo essay project showing and saying.

    Anyway, "Self esteem is complex"...you got that right. Thank you for an inspiring moment this morning.

    Cheers,
    Therese

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  11. While I've never had self esteem problems related to my weight effect my sexuality, I can relate to your struggle because of my sexual orientation. I have had some encounters with men AND women for the simple fact that I was pressured to just "try" it. I was told I don't know what I want and I couldn't know unless I tried it. I didn't know how to say, "Hey! You don't know anything about what I want. I am smart enough to know what and who I desire."
    I don't regret what I have done because I leaned a lot from it. I wouldn't have had the confidence to see what a great guy my husband was if I hadn't had the chance to experience what I did in the past.
    I love your blog! Stay awesome!

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    1. Thats a great point! How many of us do the same?!?! And I like your closing thought... I ALSO know how wonderful my Him is because of past encounters. I'm glad for the lessons learned, for that reason and also so I can share my experiences with those who feel like their alone in the body/self esteem arena.

      No experience is wasted:)

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  12. One of my favorite things about this post is that you take the time to point out that this is not a cautionary tale against "sluttiness." It's difficult and brave and sometimes unpopular to try make that distinction, to say hey - being a "loose woman" is okay, as long as it's for your own pleasure and enjoyment, not to fill a void.
    Am I making sense? I'm half a glass of wine in, and somewhat weepy over this post. Long story short - I loved this.

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    1. word up girlfriend. I wish we lived closer so our glasses of wine could hang out.

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  13. I am a little jealous of your experiences right now. I was a good little Christian girl and got married young and didn't experience being a single adult. Not that I don't regret my own experiences! You know what I mean.

    P.S. I am glad you came out loving yourself <3

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    1. I survived AND got my wild side out of the way. WIN!

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  14. You're a freaking rockstar, lady.

    I love all of this post. I'm sorry that you had to deal with what you had to deal with, but as a sufferer of terrible self-esteem for a long, LONG time I can relate and I think it's important to talk (er, write) about. We lived it, we continue to live it more times than we care to admit and there are others slogging away, trying so hard to make it in a cruel world - it's just nice to know you're not alone sometimes (though you wouldn't wish that feeling on anyone).

    Thank you for writing this. :)

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    1. "it's just nice to know you're not alone sometimes (though you wouldn't wish that feeling on anyone)."

      yes.
      totally.

      Which is why, since my life is what it is whether I write about it or not... I may as well reach out and give women a heads up, hug, or shoulder. Whichever it may be.

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  15. You are brave and beautiful. I am nearly twice your age, and your fearlessness and wisdom is profound. I wish I had a kick-ass girlfriend like you when I was your age. Say it loud, say it proud: "NO F-ing REGRETS!"

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  16. I love you, Jes. I battle with feeling so ashamed of myself and the sometimes questionable decisions I've made in the past. It takes a lot of strength to love yourself enough to say no and to be enough for yourself. I've settled. I've hated myself for various reasons. That's over now and I look to you and other women making the same journey toward self-love for strength.

    -Jess

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  17. Thank you so much for this post. You have really hit the nail on the head. I shared this with a friend who is going through a similar thing now of not valuing herself. I see it in here and know since I have dealt with these issues myself. Everyday is a struggle to ignore society and love myself. I work each day to love and appreciate myself a little more than I did the day before. Its not always easy though but I can damn sure try. Thank you though! I only started reading your stuff this week and it truly moves me.

    -Hilly

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  18. i am fat girl and have been for the most of adult years and looking back i realize i had so much confidence in myself i misinterpreted all the attention i was getting. so many one night stands, shitty relationships and a wonderful husband later i realize i have been used mostly. but i am not sure if it is a bad thing because i never let a low standard man in nor i don't enjoy. i was enjoying myself and thinking i was sexy and have this aurora that man can't resist. looking back i was deadly wrong, good thing i enjoyed the ride while it lasted. i am so much lucky to have met my husband because now that i realize what's really going on i'd be probably depressed too much to function properly.

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  19. Great post!
    I was an easy fat chick too!
    In a perfect world, I would have learned to love my body in more constructive ways, but unfortunately (or not) that's how it had to happen for me. I had to see other men love my body to let go of a lot of self-loathing.
    But you know what? I still had control over who I could say 'yes' or 'no' to. I have good instincts and met some fantastic, funny and cool men. I was "using them" as much as they were "using me". I don't regret it; it was fun and I learned a lot about myself, including that confidence can get some pretty HOT boys to snog you! haha.

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  20. I thank you for being who you are and for being honest and lovely - the first time my man told me he loved my tummy, I gawked at him. Now when he says it, I wrinkle my nose. It's not my favorite thing that he says, but I guess I'm getting there. And he's helping a lot.

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  21. I thank you for being who you are and for being honest and lovely - the first time my man told me he loved my tummy, I gawked at him. Now when he says it I wrinkle my nose. Maybe it's not the ideal response to his love, but I'm getting there. And he's helping me a lot.

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  22. I just stumbled across your blog and you are quite the amazing young woman! What I do find interesting, that I was once a skinny girl, all through school and college and until my 2nd child. As typical with women in their 40s, I put on a lot of weight. I am now 80 lbs overweight, size 18, 5'9" so luckily my height does stretch out the weight a little. Back to the point, many of your topics not only effect larger women/girls but also skinny girls too. I grew up in a home with very little positive reinforcement, not abuse, just not a lot of emotion. So when boys began to sniff around, you know what I mean, I was so surprised that I jumped on any and every compliment like a cat on a mouse! But I was skinny....wth? So when I read your article about fat=not easy, it rang true, even to a skinny girl (at the time) Interesting huh? What do you think?

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  23. This sounds SO much like my story and I was about 110 pounds, an amazing set of tits, and an amazing rear to follow it all up. I was just always told that I wasn't good enough and that's what I thought. My stint started a LOT earlier and lasted a lot longer but I finally got it! It made me who I am so I'll try to let go of the guilt. Now I am about 60 pounds heavier than when this started and I feel no need to sleep around. I have all the love I need at home. Real love. True love. But, alas, I went through it too. I totally relate!

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  24. I relate as well... as a young woman, I wasn't fat... I was actually JEALOUS of fatter girls, because their body type seemed like something they might have been able to change if they wanted to... I went through much body-loathing because of my height and how socially unacceptable it was. "fat" girls could lose weight, but I would always be six feet tall (unless a shark bit my legs off or something!)... so I revelled in the attention I gained through sexual escapades as well, mostly due to a single comment made by one of my high school peers to another friend about me. "I'd f*ck her, would love to see what it's like to have those long legs wrapped around me... but I wouldn't go out in public with her, or hold her hand and walk through the mall." Since those "dark days" I have learned to accept and love my height... yet gaining weight after childbearing threw me for another loop! SO, once again, I'm learning to love my new shape and size, and somehow have managed to quit caring if everyone else likes it too. I love your blog!!!!!!!!! <3

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  25. Wooow, I am so thankful I stumbled across a Pintrest pin with link to this. I have been here SO many times when I was in my twenties. It was to the horrible point I became the "other woman" for a while to a man I though I loved bug knew he could never leave her. But my self hatred lead me to that place before my self respect finally showed up & I could finally cut ties.
    Not to mention all the guys would attempt to throw me off with a wing man while they attempted to hook up with the more socially acceptable looking friend I was barhopping with -sucked.

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  26. Thought I was the only one who did this!!! Love you more with every blog I read... thank you for being so unabashedly honest and transparent!! <3

    Simply-Shonda @ http://simplyshondaslife.blogspot.com/

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  27. Another wonderful blog post! I find myself feeling more and more liberated just by reading your posts. I was the "fat and easy" girl when I was younger, too. I had sex to feel attractive, not for love. It was impossible to feel love for another person when I didn't love myself. I've learned since then that you teach people how to treat you by the way you treat yourself, and I am holding myself to a higher standard these days!

    Thanks again for your straightforward blog posts. You're like a breath of fresh air!

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  28. While reading most of this post, I was trying to figure out how you got in my head. All these feeling are how I've felt about myself, or acted upon, and within the last year I found my HIM, who loves me and for my sexyness inside and out. He has truely helped me to start seeing myself as worth-while and beautiful. The days I feel down about myself still out-weigh the days I feel good about myself, but we're working in a positive direction. Today I'm proud to say that "I AM BEAUTIFUL, even if the rest of the world can't see it!"

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  29. I just stumbled across your blog by chance this morning, and I have been sucked in since... I have sent the link to one of my friends in hope that she will see her own beauty. You are truly an inspiration, and I find this post to be especially truthful and thought provoking. There have been many a time I have found myself in situations where I knew that I was being lusted after "just because", or because the guy had "never had a big girl before"... You know, the usual crap. And while I'd like to say that I've refused all, there have been times that I let myself be convinced. But honestly? To say it was just the guy using me would be wrong. I think a lot of women also won't admit that while we know it's not right, and that it will not lead to the happily-ever-after we all seek by sleeping with the "hot guy"... No matter how many times... We are just as guilty of using them as they are of using us. I will stand up and fully admit that I have caved under the pressure just because I heard I was beautiful. And even if it wasn't true, I enjoyed hearing it and feeling important for just that time. If that's wrong, I'm sorry. But we all have that desire to feel "good enough". Gah. Sorry for the rant. Your blog has just made me think really hard about everything. I've always been overweight. But I'm slowly trying to accept myself and be more daring...

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  30. This sounds so familiar, it's scary.

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  31. It hurts to read this because it reminds me so much of myself. I just found your blog tonight and I'm addicted. Everything you say makes me feel a lot better about myself and the body I was given. You are an amazing woman. <3

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  32. I am glad to know that I am not the only one. Sadly it all started for me at the very young age. I never knew my self worth. I took whatever attention I could get. It was always just a very brittle band aid over a wound that would never heal. One after the other, I was careful thankfully. But I did end up in some pretty shitty situations...

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  33. Wow, I think I found my new best friend! What a cool lady!

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  34. very nice and sweet

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  35. Validation, I was also in my twenties when I started realizing I was pretty. I can't remember a time when I heard my parents said that to me. Intelligent yes, pretty never. No wonder I could not believe when guys would say it. I remember when I was 14 a person said to my mom that I was lovely and looked a lot like her. She said that was unlikely since she was stunning at my age.
    I'm hispanic, in our culture it is very important to be fit, to be pretty. I learned from a very young age I had to throw up, excersice, and be fit if I wanted to be worthy.
    I love your post. I still struggle with my self worth, from time to time, but I am getting better at loving who I am. Thank you.

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  36. I'm sort of thrilled beyond belief to discover you have a blog, and to discover you live in Tucson. Even though we moved up to Phoenix. Still!

    And I might have cried a little at the "yes" and "no" part.

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  37. I'm sort of thrilled beyond belief to discover that you have a blog, and that you live in Tucson. Even though we moved up to Phoenix. :(

    Also, I might have cried a little at the "yes" and "no" part.

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  38. Such a powerful post! You're awesome!

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  39. Amazing post. I think anyone who has had body issues can totally identify with this. We are all worth it... and you are helping us realize this. :)

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  40. This post had me tearing up. I am a year shy of having shed the exact mentality that you are posting about, I am overweight because my thyroid died and that paired with my already low-self esteem was a recipe for disaster. It was really sad, because I felt that I didn't have anyone around me that could relate to my struggle, especially when it came to men. I took their attention and ran with it when I got it, and it didn't matter; knowing that deep down what I was doing was all WRONG for me and left me feeling empty and even worse inside. I think that your post was so beautifully written and perfectly expressed what I feel so many women go through. I learned later on, that it's not just a "fat-girl" problem it's a problem I believe all women share. It's almost as if society is set-up to put down women. Thank you so much for this post, it really is so inspirational and we as women need that, we need these things to be said and to support one another!

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  41. This post had me tearing up. I am a year shy of having shed the exact mentality that you are posting about, I am overweight because my thyroid died and that paired with my already low-self esteem was a recipe for disaster. It was really sad, because I felt that I didn't have anyone around me that could relate to my struggle, especially when it came to men. I took their attention and ran with it when I got it, and it didn't matter; knowing that deep down what I was doing was all WRONG for me and left me feeling empty and even worse inside. I think that your post was so beautifully written and perfectly expressed what I feel so many women go through. I learned later on, that it's not just a "fat-girl" problem it's a problem I believe all women share. It's almost as if society is set-up to put down women. Thank you so much for this post, it really is so inspirational and we as women need that, we need these things to be said and to support one another!

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  42. I got to your blog along with the 2 million other viewers who saw your Attractive & Fat shot, and am currently reading ALL THE POSTS, but this one resonated with me the most. I was convinced throughout my teenage years that I, as a "fat" (though, at the time, only slightly overweight) girl, was not an attractive, let alone a sexual being, and could only hope to connect to other people through my wit and personality. I became completely disconnected from my body, until I discovered, in my early twenties, that there were actually men willing to have sex with me. That helped bolster my self-esteem for a while, but sometimes I wonder: Will I ever find a person who admires me for my mind and soul who is at the same time not just reluctantly willing, but actually desirous to have sex with my body? Your post gave me food for thought, and it's such a relief to know other women are dealing with the exact same problems, except many of them don't ever talk about it. (And now I'm crying again.)

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  43. i just recently found your blog ( ty pinterest) and i have fallen in love with it. this post has hit home with me. i used to be the easy fat girl. don't get me wrong, i had a lot of fun and some awesome experiences i get to to carry with me throughout life, but i used to feel ashamed that i let myself get used like that. it always seemed like a powerful thing that the hot guy wanted to go home with me at the end of the night. i realize now at this point in life, that the guy was a horny douchebag. anyway, it's hard learning to love yourself but i really think we all will at some point really learn to love ourselves and our bodies. beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all women are beautiful. life is too short to hate yourself. live, laugh and love!

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  44. Holy God, this is absolutely fucking %100 IT. I'm 49, I've lived and have been trying to articulate what you are saying here for my entire fucking life.
    I love you.

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  45. Holy God. I just found this blog via a friend's FB post.
    This entry here is %110 the absolute TRUTH. I'm 49, and you have written my life and experience and what I have been trying to articulate for 41 of my years.
    You are the absolute fucking shit and I love you.

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