So I am an average woman, maybe a little bit bigger than average, or a little bit more.
I have long lost the sense on what “average” is and I am not interested in it either. We are all individuals, so the thought of average is absurd to me.
If I look back on who I used to be 12 years ago, I feel like weeping. Weeping for a young woman, so indulged in her lack of self-confidence, so desperately trying to be loved, over compensating my sadness with dieting and shopping and maintenance of my unmanageable hair.
I was trapped in a marriage in which the number one goal was to keep me as slim as possible and by all means.
Naturally I am more the amazon type than Kate Moss so my struggle was even peppered with more rocks than stepping stones. My then husband nourished his own self confidence by having a constantly shrinking wife who wore at least two dress sizes smaller than the wives of his friends.
You may now think why not leave somebody like that? Why even get involved with someone like that in the first place? Of course you are right.
I wish I had been brave enough then to realize that this man had never really loved me, that I should have turned on my heels and run for my life. But with my dress sizes shrinking so did my mind, my soul, my heart, my love and hunger for life, the passion I once used to live with, my creativity.
Trying to ignore the tears that choked me minute by minute.
After all didn’t I have to be happy? I was slim, I was married, I had a beautiful child, I was young and life was full of opportunities.
Was it really?
God forbid though I had added one or two pounds in a week. Seeing that on the weekly scale time with my husband watching the figures by my side was a secure way to ruin the next seven days. No love, no care, mean looks and indefinite head shaking was on the agenda until next week Sunday morning I had lost those two pounds again and hopefully a few extra.
Looking back on those images in my head and the connected feelings towards them I feel ashamed. Ashamed of myself for letting it all happen to me. Of allowing someone to train me like a puppy and I wonder why it took me so long to figure out what was going on.
Eventually I did find out though.
I told my husband I was tired of the constant dieting, of cooking for the family but not being able to eat what I had just made with love, I felt drained and I was constantly exhausted. So I started eating and then over eating. The point of where I couldn’t care less if he’d stay or leave me for the way I looked had come long ago.
He stayed, surprisingly.
All the love that was not given to me by the man on my side I tried to suck out of food, of cake, chocolate, Belgium pralines and secret frenzies where I wolfed down anything I could find in the fridge. I don’t think I need to mention what that did to my body or my soul.
Within a matter of a year I added about 60 Pounds.
Still I wasn’t happy—in fact I was anything but happy.
My man calling me a monster did not help either. Leave, run away, my mind cried out day by day by day but my heart was still weirdly attached to something I once felt, that I thought to be love. If only I could be just five pounds slimmer, just two pounds. Then it will all be okay—it never was okay.
What you guys can see already now took me years but finally I managed to escape the marriage that had cost my health. The first year was like floating in space. No borders, I felt so free but also nothing to cling on to anymore. I added another 20 pounds.
Through crying, sleeping nights after nights on the floor because the bed seemed so big, allowing myself to feel the grief of a lost dream which would never come true, through looking into the mirror again, through asking myself what I really wanted in life, realistically getting to know me, listening to the responses that my body gave me on feelings, on food, on sleep, work and rest.
I realized one thing: I wasn’t a monster. I am not my dress size. I am not even my body—although it is part of me.
I started waking up with this almost overwhelming feeling of freedom. It became the most treasured thing that I had and I knew despite life was financially more than challenging I would never ever go back to being trapped and tied to someone who doesn’t love, but instead manipulates in every way possible.
I was given a second chance, a new life, the chance to be me.
Being loved has nothing to do with how slim or big I am.
Being attractive has to do with what I radiate—with the fire that burns in me and with the passion that I allow myself to have for myself and my life.
The sparkle in my eyes is back, but the 80 pounds stayed. My hair is allowed to be as wild as I am these days.
Funny enough I have never been more in tune with my body, in more acceptance of my body, never been more thankful for my body or had more chances with men than I do now.
Over the last years I have started to eat healthier than I ever have before but I also allow myself to enjoy what I eat. I feel sensual and full of life and hope that women realize that when your man loves you only because you look a certain way it is not love and believe me you are better off without him.
I promise you, you are better off without him!
There are other men out there that really do love you the way you are now—not for what you could be. Don’t think so? I didn’t either but I am lucky to experience it now and so will you beautiful curvy ladies out there. If you allow it to happen.
Be brave to say good bye—it is worth it.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editorial Assistant: Jess Sheppard/Editor: Catherine Monkman