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Seeing my photos (Wicked Wednesday 282)

It’s ironic that this week’s Wicked Wednesday prompt is Mirrors. Monday I posted a snippet of For Love of Snow White, which included a mirror scene. Today I’m going to talk about photos, both sexy and not.

I hate having my photo taken. I never like what I see. I hide behind the camera more often than not, preferring to take photos of others. So it was one of the most difficult experiences of my life to decide to do a boudoir photo shoot—it wouldn’t be just photos of me, but increasingly nude photos of me. Would I like some of them, or would my self esteem be shattered by photos that reflect the negatives and imperfections I see in the mirror after nearly 40 years of being subjected to a media barrage that my value lies in how fuckable I am (and at times in my late teens/early twenties I based my self-worth on whether people found me fuckable).

About a month ago, I posted about doing a boudoir photo shoot. I purposefully wrote that before I’d seen my photos because I was worried that my own insecurities in looking at photos of myself might taint my memory of the shoot.

Well, I’ve seen the photos and we selected 16 to keep. Here are two examples of photos I’m really happy with…

I can honestly say that the experience is very high on my list of things I was terrified of, but am so glad I tried. I have been very self conscious about my body for decades and to see photos where I actually feel like I look sexy is new and a little scary. It calls what I see in the mirror most days, and gives me a hint of what my husband sees that I can’t.

 

wicked wednesday

 

I’d definitely do this again, and not just because it gives me a glimpse of what’s on the other side of the looking glass.

I did a boudoir photo shoot

*This is not a sponsored post. I was not asked to write this post. I received zero discounts or perks.*

I’ve wanted to do a boudoir photo shoot for a long time now. As an amateur photographer I’m fascinated by sexual photography–naked or nearly so bodies, fetish photography, the whole nine yards. I longed to be a model in one of those photos, but the voices in my head that said I’m not pretty enough or thin enough drowned that desire in a bog of self doubt. I generally hate how I look in photos, with the exception of my wedding photos (which the voices remind me was twenty-five pounds ago). But beneath all of that was a sense of inevitability.

Several months ago I was introduced to Groupon (remember, I just moved back to the US–I’d heard of it but it wasn’t as big a deal as it is now when we left in 2010). One day I was idly scrolling through offers in my area and stumbled across a discount for a boudoir photography shoot with two photos for a steep discount.

My partner turned forty last year and I turn forty next year. No matter what the voices in my head said, he has always found me beautiful.  decided to push my boundaries and do this shoot for him. Or at least I told myself it was for him.

I booked my date and because of childcare and travel issues had several months to dread and second/third/hundredth guess my decision. Initially I made up a bogus appointment to explain why he needed to take the kids one day while I went into San Francisco. I’m a terrible liar and my excuse fell apart, so I told him what was up. He was incredibly supportive and together we crafted the four looks I would shoot with.

The price of the shoot was just the beginning. I hadn’t thought about all the details.

In the months before the shoot…

I’ve had back surgery, and was told heels were off limits for me. But I wasn’t about to wear flats in a sexy shoot. I bought three pairs of heels and a pair of dominatrix boots.

I bought a new piece of lingerie.

I bought new lacy panties.

I bought a man’s white shirt as mine didn’t look so fresh, and I wanted a better fit.

Celebrate Your Sexy sent me an email to ask me questions, including how do I feel about photos of myself and what are my concerns. (Top concern–I’d hate the photos and it would wreck my fragile self esteem).

The week of the shoot….

I got my eyebrows, lower arms, under arms, and full legs waxed.

I got a pedicure and acrylic nails.

On the day of the photo shoot…

I couldn’t find one of my outfits and had to rethink an entire look. This totally freaked me out. (It was on top of my bureau so I wouldn’t lose it–which I discovered that night.)

I had my hair and makeup done.

When my stylist asked what I wanted done with my hair I said “make it look like I just had really good sex.” My straight hair was curled and teased. Since I was (mostly) going to keep my glasses on, we added fake lashes and just did some liner on my eyes. I did a blood red lip (fiery liquid lipstick from Stila–it is my go-to and the only red I’ve ever tried that didn’t look pink-y or orange-y).

All of this added up to way more than the photo shoot cost. A more secure/more cost conscious person could probably do without these extras, but this is my journey.

The experience…

I was ready about an hour before my shoot, and I sat in my car so as not to sweat my make-up off in the insane heat wave that gripped the Bay Area a few weeks ago. This gave me plenty of time to contemplate if I wanted to take anxiety medication.

I drove to the location of the photo shoot with a carry-on suitcase full of clothes/shoes/props and texted the photographer that I was downstairs.

The photographer immediately put me at ease. We talked through my outfits and shoes. She let me plug my phone in and put on a playlist (regret–should’ve had a better playlist as it wasn’t something I’d really thought about or planned for). We talked about my props and which outfit they went with, etc.

We set up my four outfits, and I changed into the first one–a sexy red dress with red heels with a matching black lace bra and panty under it. The photographer started me off on the bed, moving the lights and herself around me. She walked me through poses, and told me to tell her when something was just not okay for my back or any other reason. Some poses were indeed uncomfortable, and I gained a small appreciation for what it must take to create ads and layouts in magazines (apart from photoshop).

My second outfit was a turquoise bra and panty under a white men’s shirt and black heels. I posed with a copy of Capturing the Moment. I wished I’d brought my own laptop, but the photographer lent me hers. I’m hoping I like one of these photos so I can use it here on the site.

My third leaned hard into kink. A nightie with a vinyl/pleather breast bra top, black lacy panties, and dominatrix boots that on my five foot two/three inch frame went nearly into my vagina. I posed with a riding crop with a sparkly handle and one with a heart-shaped surface.

My fourth? Mesh with nothing under it and black heels. I should have felt self conscious or uncomfortable, but by that point I felt comfortable with the photographer, with my body, and most shockingly–with the camera.

The photos…

I’m seeing them on Friday. I wanted to write about the experience before I saw them, and then I’ll write another entry about that experience.

Final thoughts…

I had such a positive experience that I volunteered to model in a plus sized lingerie show next month. It was a safe space.

After the shoot they give you a pamphlet with next steps and it’s not until you reach that point that you learn the ridiculous per photo costs. However, this seems to be a standard thing in the world of boudoir photography. So the selection process will be brutal, or at least I hope I like enough of the photos for it to be a difficult decision.

I’d definitely recommend Celebrate Your Sexy if you go into it knowing the photos are really expensive. They shoot all over the US.

Here’s hoping that I’ll have an excellent Friday morning.

Wicked Wednesday–Things Get Better With Age

I am thirty-seven years old, and will turn thirty-eight this fall. Despite the fact that my breasts are no longer perky, nor am I up for having sex twelve times in a weekend, I would argue that my sex life has improved dramatically with age.

I had sex for the first time at eighteen. My motivations were a mixture of fear of being left behind (I’m the last virgin in the world), being newly single, general horniness, and no small amount of let’s get this over with. My partner was someone I’d only gone out with once or twice, and when he invited me back to his parents’ house to “watch anime,” I was still naive enough to think he actually meant we would watch anime. When we started making out, it was fine. Then he wanted more, and I decided fuck it, why not. He got angry because I’d gotten blood on his sheets and his mom would be suspicious. He was in his twenties.

evangelionThanks for ruining anime for me, bro

I spent eighteen to twenty-five having a lot of sex with a lot of people. While not every choice was a smart one, nor was every experience a safe one, I ultimately have no regrets. Lots of indiscriminate sex allowed me to explore my sexuality. I came to terms with my bisexuality, although it wasn’t as simple as that statement might imply. Through AOL chat rooms (a/s/l?) I played around with identities and talked to people of all ages and kinks, which allowed me to explore things I never could have before the internet.

Although not universally true, the biggest theme of my first decade of sexual experience, though, was validation. I had experienced a lot of rejection growing up, and the appeal of acceptance–particularly from men, was a way to see myself as worthy. This was especially true after I graduated from college, and after my first attempt at grad school blew up in my face. I was no longer receiving grades for my academic scholarship, so I needed a new way to rate my own worthiness.

please clapSort of, but not as sad as Jeb!

Around the age of twenty-six, though, I hit a breaking point. I had spent so much time trying to mold myself into the person my boy/girlfriend of the moment wanted me to be that I was losing myself. Why did I pretend to like sports/cars/nature? Why did I hide my geeky side with some partners, and my girly side with others? Did I want to keep fucking partners indiscriminately (which is a totally a valid choice) or did I want something more long term and monogamous-y? I stayed single for about a year, which at that point felt like forever. In that time I began to come to terms with who I was and what I wanted out life.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that after that year(ish) I met Mr. Night. He was the first partner with whom I was truly myself, and with whom I didn’t play mind games. I said this is who I am and what I want, take it or leave it. To his credit, he was approaching our relationship the same way, which cut through all of the typical early relationship bullshit.

In short, we both came to our relationship with the same mindset.

im-getting-too-old-for-this-shit-quote-2You tell ’em, Detective Murtaugh

This is not to say that our relationship has been all rainbows and unicorn stickers. Marriage is hard, and adding kids to the mix is like inviting a nuclear explosion into your life. There have been times when we have more frequent sex, and we have also had droughts, sometimes long ones.

So what makes sex better at thirty-seven than eighteen? Not because my husband has the biggest penis or the tightest body of all the men I’ve been with, nor is he better at oral than most of the women I’ve been with. No, sex is better today because of confidence and self-knowledge.

I know what I like, what I want, and I’m direct in asking for it. I’m not going to expect my partner to be a mind reader, nor does he expect me to be one.  I don’t play I don’t fake orgasms.relationship games.

This isn’t just true inside the bedroom. I think I’m a happier person overall at thirty-seven because I’m just not interested in pretending to be something I’m not.

I am what I amLa Cage Aux Folles said it best

I’m looking forward to growing older. While I’m not excited about the hormonal insanity of menopause, I do look forward to the spike in sex drive and the loss of my fertility and period.

I’m looking forward to my daughters growing up and moving out.

I’m looking forward to retiring with my husband.

I’m looking forward to continuing to grow as a sexual person until the day I die. Preferably of a massive orgasm.

wicked wednesday

Fearless Hair

Ever since I first saw a bottle of Manic Panic hair dye in the early 90’s, I wanted to dye my hair. I wanted a bright blue streak. I wanted to dye my hair crazy colors. I wanted to use my hair as a canvas.

manic panic

So why not do it? For a number of years I couldn’t because my workplaces didn’t allow “unnatural” looking hair. The rest of the time? Fear. Mostly I was afraid of people looking at me.

As someone who isn’t thin, I’ve learned toxic messages. I’m supposed to fade into the background and not call attention to myself. That if people looked at me, they would only do so with the worst intentions. Neon hair pulls focus, and I was afraid of it. I’ve gained confidence over the years–I’m well aware of my great legs (see my twitter icon), I rock sexy librarian glasses, and I’m generally at peace with myself. Which is not to say I’m comfortable as the center of attention.

As someone who often feels like a fake in my upper middle class life, I wanted to fit in. I feel like a fake because I grew up poor and I’m the first person to go to university in my family. My mom is a single mom and I’ve never met my dad. However, I’m educated and well spoken, so people assume I have a background similar to the one I currently am lucky enough to have. I have cultivated a very proper exterior, which means I’ve done nothing more daring than blonde streaks in my hair as an adult.

I don’t hide that I’m queer, but as someone in a marital relationship with a person of the opposite sex I pass as straight. I use a pseudonym for my erotica. I don’t draw attention to myself as a whole.

hair 9

About three weeks ago my hair started falling out in clumps.  It’s always been thin and fine and not particularly voluminous. So when I looked into the mirror and saw the glint of my own scalp peering out at me between increasingly spare strands of hair, and when someone I was skyping with asked me if I’d gotten fades shaved into the sides of my hair I felt more exposed and vulnerable than ever. Now, not only had I committed the cardinal sin of daring to be fat in public, but I was even less attractive than before.  Fear took over because I had no real options other than to wait the hair loss out–it’s a very common side effect of severe medical trauma called telogen effluvium and the only real solution is time.

I realize that this was all taking place in my head, but that doesn’t make it any less real.

hair 8

 

I’ve cried so much this month. Granted that’s partially because blood work showed that I have severe deficiencies in a number of vitamins and hormones. Off kilter hormones are a bitch, and among other things will make you weepy. But it’s also because despite the fact that I’ve never loved my hair, I never wanted to have it fall out. But along with the tears I’ve felt a growing rage. Mostly at myself.

hair 7

 

How dare I have let myself get ruled by fear like this? For what purpose? Did I really almost die without ever having done something I’ve always wanted to do because I was scared? And now I’m being ruled by fear that people are staring at my thinning hair?

I have zero fucks left to give.

If they’re staring, let’s give them something to look at.

Let me do what I’ve always wanted to.

My colorist warned me that stripping the color from my hair to bleach it could make it break. Well, there is no better time to be blasé about that possibility than when it’s already falling out. Luckily, given a lighter bleach and toner, it was as healthy as it was when I walked in the door.  With the addition of color, it looked even better.

hair 6

 

 

 

Today I smiled one of the biggest smiles to cross my face in the past almost four months. My husband thinks it’s sexy, my daughters think it’s cool (Ms. 3 kept trying to force the cat to see my hair, which makes me glad that “her” cat is extremely easy going), and I feel like I’ve given all the hair related tears of the last month the middle finger.

To be fair, there’s part of me that’s a little concerned about what happens when I have to go be a parent at school. Singapore is super conservative (once my colorist realized exactly how crazy I wanted to go, he was thrilled because he rarely gets to do so here). Will the vice principal take me seriously when I’m complaining about a boy bullying Ms. 6?

But that’s a small voice, and once that will quiet with time.

hair 2

The hormonal stuff and vitamin stuff are harder to deal with. Like regrowing the hair that fell out, it will take time to resolve. I’m taking supplementary vitamin and hormone therapy and we’ll repeat the blood work in a few months.

What has gotten me down the most about this, apart from feeling unattractive about my hair–the outward issue–is that every time I think I’ve put my illness behind me, some new side effect rears its head. The septic shock and threat of death were over in April. The crappy immune system, the lost muscle tone, the lost core strength, all of those were starting to resolve and were things I could actually fix. Each week I swam I saw muscle tone returning to my legs. I was ready to move on. Then I got blindsided by the hair loss, which was the motivating factor behind getting blood work done. Having gotten the blood work done, I now have the new host of issues to deal with. While it’s good to have a label to apply to the problems that were already present, it also feels like I’ve been dropped back at the starting line of the world’s longest marathon all over again.

hair 3

I’m not actively worrying about this, but I also know that if my hormone and cortisol levels don’t improve in two months, I could be looking at a round of tests to see if my adrenal gland has stopped functioning properly. So while it’s not something I’m obsessing over, I’m wary of what might be next in the unending list of what happens after you almost die from septic shock.

The hormone I’m deficient in is what controls the female sex drive. Which is a cruel joke for nature to play on an erotica author.

As I said in my last entry, I’m coping with a lot of personal, medical drama. I’m going to cycle between present and absent on social media, and between productive and unproductive when it comes to writing. I appreciate you guys sticking around while I deal with this. Unfortunately this is one of those things that will resolve over a long period of time.

hair 5

But at least I have cool hair.

Healing

I haven’t updated in a few months because I haven’t known what to say, which is difficult for someone who makes their living as a writer.

I got out of the hospital in late April and spent the next chunk of time just trying to cope with what had happened, and what the illness had done to my body. Weeks in a hospital bed had stolen away muscle tone. Medication that helped save my life also made me brutally ill with nausea and vomiting. Coming to terms with my own mortality left my psyche in tatters. I began to fall back into a pattern of disordered eating as a way to feel like I had some small bit of control over a life that felt wildly out of control.

Sex? What’s sex?

About a month ago I began writing again. Not erotica, but small things here and there. Some of it was very private; self therapy to go along with the counseling I’d sought out. Then I moved on to non-fiction freelancing that didn’t require the kind of emotional investment that fiction does.

Last week I stumbled across an itemized list with all the anthologies I was thinking of contributing to. For obvious reasons I’d missed every deadline between April first and July first, and I felt defeated. Going from 2014 during which I’d done a lot of writing and had some publication successes to 2015 which had started out so promisingly with the Siem Reap novella had ground to a dead end. There was one last anthology on the list, and I decided I had to submit something. Even if it were to get rejected, submitting would mean I’d gotten back on the proverbial horse.

Santas reindeer

I had a rough draft from several years ago–if you read my story “New on the Naughty List,” (published in Coming Together: For the Holidays) you’ll remember that it’s Blitzen who gives Lucy the Elf a ride to Boston. While we know what Lucy was doing (pun intended), I had always intended to write a story that showed what kept Blitzen occupied so late into the evening as well. I pulled out my rough draft and polished/tweaked it until I was as happy as I could be without fresh eyes (my husband and I having both read it countless times by then). A final draft will definitely be ready for the submission date.

I’m not better, exactly. The physical side of things is going to be measured in months. The emotional side of things will ebb and flow–we dealt with serious medical trauma with Ms 6 as a baby so I know that it’s easy to go months without thinking about what happened and then be blindsided by something and have all of the trauma come roaring back. I’m relieved to say that with the support of my husband, some close friends, and my therapists I’m no longer engaging in dangerous behavior surrounding food. The rest is a work in progress.

As I’ve been coping with this, I’ve stayed away from Twitter. On one hand, this was not exactly a rational choice–I’m very lucky to have a community of friends/fellow writers who have reached out to me to check how things have been going. On the other hand, given that my creative side was a blank page, being Delilah Night publicly felt fraudulent. Yesterday, given that I was ready to share the story with beta readers and thanks to the gentle nudge from a few friends I started posting again.

After such a long absence, I’ve the lost the habit of tweeting and blogging, so please do continue to poke me if you think I’ve been too quiet. I’m not up to date of who’s had what published, so please share your triumphs with me in comments (and let me know if I can review something for you).

To celebrate returning to writing, I’m briefly sharing “New on the Naughty List,” which served as the inspiration for my new story “A Reindeer By Any Other Name,” here.

Raising daughters…princesses and all

I am the mom of two young daughters.  As a cis-woman, I am painfully aware of what it means to grow up female in our culture today.  I am well acquainted with hating my body.  I have had many illusions about “happily ever after” shattered.  And so I worry.

My three year old is deep in throes of a love affair with the Disney Princesses, particularly Ariel.  For a far better summation of my issues with this movie than I can articulate here, see Nostalgia Chick’s takedown of it here.  Part of me wants to just say “no, bad…no princesses!”….but that would make me far too much of a hypocrite.

Although the Disney Princess brand didn’t exist when I was a kid, I grew up on Disney (although I was 10 or so by the time The Little Mermaid came along–I still caught many of the “Disney Renaissance” movies in the theater).  I read fairy tales.  I played at fairy tale and princess play.  I owned barbies by the box full.

My love of fairy tales and princesses eventually parlayed itself into a love of the fantasy genre.  I did not gravitate to stories with passive women–I’ve gravitated to stories and movies with strong feminist and powerful women.

I think that part of what contradicted the negative aspects of fairy tales and princess culture for me as a child was my early exposure to Wonder Woman, Xena, Buffy, and Madonna.

I sang unedited Madonna songs by heart right from the get-go.  While I had no idea what any of the lyrics about sexuality meant, I think it planted the seed of feminism early.

So when it comes to my girls…I don’t hesitate to play unedited Lady Gaga.  I feel like she’s a far better model of feminism and sexual empowerment than most female musicians (I also like Taylor Swift, although she’s not so much the “sexual empowerment” role model) AND she has a killer voice (and can play music).

We also talk, constantly.  That they don’t need a prince.  That they can grow up and marry another princess (or not get married).

I *could* eliminate princesses, I suppose.  But, in truth, I like The Little Mermaid.  I like sharing my favorite stories from childhood.  I think that it’s a big part of childhood, and that she would miss out on a lot if I did.  Also, gateway drug to awesome fantasy literature (Tamora Pierce is the ultimate goal).

But she’s still 3.  As she gets older, we can teach her to be a more active and critical media consumer.  But I figure Lady Gaga’s a good start.

Fat Can Be Sexy

  • Originally written-July 26, 2007
  • Edited-October 20,2010

I decided to make this my first article to edit and republish from my former site because it was the most responded to post I’d ever written, and one of the pieces I felt most proud of.  I chose not to edit it such that it included experiences post 2007, as moving to Southeast Asia in April 2010 has brought about a wealth of experiences that warrant an entirely separate post.

My story begins with an incident of fat-shaming from an unlikely source…Weight Watchers.

I decided to attend a Weight Watchers meeting to get an idea of what their program was like in the summer of 2007.  I had been married for a year and was interested in starting a family.  Considering I’d had surgery on my back for a herniated disc in the fall of 2006, I was open to the idea that weight loss might make pregnancy easier on my plus-sized body and weak low back.  Certainly I’d had no success on my own, and had a strong aversion to fad diets like Atkins.  My Ob/Gyn at the time had suggested I look into Weight Watchers prior to attempting pregnancy (as it turns out, she was extremely fat phobic, although it took her saying she thought I’d never have a successful pregnancy until lost the weight…days after miscarrying my first pregnancy…for me to see that and to find a doctor who saw me as a person and not a FAT PERSON)

I walked into the Weight Watchers Center and was immediately engulfed  by negativity and self doubt–theirs and my fellow fat ladies.  Poster with various “motivational” sayings on them sent the message that “you’ll be worthwhile when you lose the pounds” and all the “victory” stories read “I was fat and no one loved me but since I lost 30 pounds everyone does.”  The weekly card you get where they weigh you and note how many pounds you’ve gained or lost felt mocking and rather like public humiliation (the kind of thing teachers occasionally do to a kid who never does their homework—“Again, Timmy?  Isn’t that the fifth assignment in a row you’ve missed?”).  I looked around at the room, and felt bile rise into my throat.  The unhappiness in that center was practicaly a palpable vortex of negativity.

Weight watchers fat-shames you into losing weight, I realized.

I turned around and walked out, not bothering to stay.  No thank you, I wouldn’t be drinking that particularly toxic flavor of kool-aid.

As I walked out the car, I felt tears well in my eyes, and I felt the old revulsion towards my body rise up like a parasite, eating away at my confidence.

  • You’d be so pretty if you just lost some weight
  • Sorry we don’t carry size 16 (18, 20, 22, 24) in this store
  • I don’t date fat chicks, but if you want to fuck….
  • You really have the hips to birth some babies
  • If you lost the weight you’d be the whole package
  • Sorry, I just don’t find you attractive…I like thin girls

After a few minutes, thankfully, the self hatred was replaced by a blazing rage.

I am sick to death of “plus-sized” women beating on themselves.  Sick of it to the point where I just want to grab the next fat girl who whines about not being able to get a date or how awful she looks and SLAP her.

In 2007, I weighed 235 pounds-a high for me.  I wore a size 22 (occasionally a 20 or a 24) pant and somewhere in the XL to 2X top.   I have been buying clothes in the “plus sized” stores since I was in middle/high school, and have spent my twenties in the 200-225 range.  I certainly have street cred as a fat chick.

I get the whole body image issue.

I understand what it’s like to be surrounded by images that reinforce that skinny is the ONLY way to achieve sexiness.  I too am horrified by the non-stop parade of faceless fat stomachs above the flashing words  “Obesity EPIDEMIC” and have a nightmare that one day it will be my shirt, my stomach, my jeans on television.  Occasionally the non-stop message that I will only be worthwhile once I lose weight does get to me, or I see a cute outfit that just isn’t available in my size (or attractive on my frame) and I have pangs of desire to lose weight.

My message to my readers (and the world)–When these messages destroy the confidence and self-worth of young women (and men) and they start to hate themselves, we’ve gone too far.

Yes, there are health issues associated with bad eating habits and extreme weight gain.  But you never hear that you can be 220 and healthy as a horse.  All that society wants us to see is the scary word EPIDEMIC (as though you can “catch”obesity ) flashing on the screen and people running in terror from the word FAT.

You can be fat and be sexy, attractive, and worthwhile.  But here’s the catch—YOU have to believe it first.  And creating that belief in the face of all that negative stereotyping is daunting.

Put down the kool-aid of self hatred and walk away from it.

The idealization of the stick figure is a new concept, and could only happen in a first world wealthy nation like the US.  The concept of anorexia and bulimia are unfathomable to your average third world citizen. (Person who doesn’t get enough to eat–“You’re telling me that they have food, but don’t eat it or throw it up?  What the fuck is that about?”)  Historically speaking-extra body mass was proof of your wealth-it mean you could eat.

When you have a bigger body, you have boobs and an ass.  Most men like that.

When I stopped hating myself and accepted the radical notion that I could be hot, the world changed for me.  When I stopped hiding my body or trying to dress like I was 100 pounds smaller (or 100 pounds larger) than I really was, I began to find looks that worked for me.  I gained confidence.  With the confidence came the effort to really maintain my hair, the ability to apply makeup, the style to accessorize, and the skill to walk in heels.  I had dates when I wanted them, lovers when I wanted them, and significant others.  I found my partner, and married.

Ironically, in many ways, my looks helped weed out the idiots of the world.  I saw my skinny friends date guys who picked them up because they were stereotypically hot, and then wasted weeks on these losers who never even noticed they had a brain or any substance beyond the hotness.  Because I never tried (or could even if I wanted to) to hide that I was “fluffy” (as one friend calls it), the more shallow guys self selected out of my potential dating pool, and I was left picking between one smart (usually) sexy (usually) guy and another.

As I began to explore the online sex world, I realized exactly how many BBW (big beautiful woman) call girls there are, and they’re making money hand over fist.  Once you see that, it’s hard to say that men don’t like big girls.  As for bigger guys-I have known very few women who would dump a guy for being fat–being clingy, being possessive, having a ridiculously small dick, being stupid, refusing to have a real job, not treating us well–all valid reasons to dump a guy.  Very few women (except those who are exceptionally shallow) will dump a guy over his weight.

In many ways, the lesson of my almost 30 years on this planet is this-you get what you expect.  Expect to get walked all over, and you will be.  Expect to be treated with dignity, and call people on it if you’re not, and you will be.  Don’t hide behind your weight.  If you don’t like it, do something about it.  If, like me, you like your chocolate and your steaks and your heavy foods and aren’t willing to go through life on rice cakes and tofu, accept and embrace yourself.  Be at peace with yourself-life’s too short to waste time on self hatred.

Learn to love yourself, just as you are.

There’s no reason you can’t be fat and sexy at the same time.