I haven’t been on a diet in over six years. Not one. I honestly can’t remember the last time I weighed myself (an experience I highly
recommend). I’ve eaten and drank what I’ve wanted (I also highly
recommend this). I do my best to listen to my body and make sure I’m being as balanced and healthy as possible. I walk a lot; I do as much yoga as possible; I bike around the city when the weather is nice and I’m not scared I’ll get run over by a city bus. And in these past six years, I’ve stayed an eerily consistent size 14. Never before in my adult life had I been able to keep the same clothes for so long, because I was never the same size for more than a year at a time. My body finally found its home.
With this newfound comfort in my own skin, dating was no longer about accommodating any dude who showed interest or trying to win some kind of award for being deemed fuckable. And in the world we live in today, it’s a goddamn superpower to care more about yourself than what the guy you just swiped right on thinks of the size of your arms.
Sid** was the first guy to tell me he loved my body the way it truly was. He didn’t say it, though. He just adamantly insisted we keep the lights on when we had sex — not dimmed or candlelit, but, like, overhead lighting all the way on
. A shitload of light all up in there and all over my naked, fat ass. He would even put on his glasses, so as not to miss any details due to his poor eyesight.
What the fuck? Dude, it’s hard enough to wrap my head around liking my own body, but I’m pretty sure you are not supposed to be that
into this. But he was that into it. And spoiler alert: He wasn’t the only one.
I stopped trying to be the person that I thought guys wanted to date and started dating guys who liked women with my body type. I would put my size and body positivity out there in the open. I started to attract men that were just as body positive as I am (even if they didn't know there was a word for it).
Sid and I didn’t have some typical rom-com ending in which I now tell you we’ve been married for 20 years and had tons of little body-positive babies. He moved back home to another country and we’ve both dated plenty of other people since. Our relationship didn’t work out, but I’m really lucky to still call him my friend. And even though it’s been a few years since we’ve dated, we still frequently send each other random messages of support. I like to think that’s a pretty awesome version of happily ever after, too.
When I think about who I was and what I was doing to my body six years ago, it’s clear what radical self-acceptance and self-love can do to a person. It’s still a daily goddamn struggle. But approval of my body isn’t something I seek out anymore from men or anyone. And when it does happen, I know it’s genuinely about me — not some version of me that I’m hurting myself to become.
Now, when a guy tells me he’s into my body, it’s not some great revelation or some golden validation. It’s just another thing we have in common.
* His real name is not Teddy
** Actually his name, because he’s rad.
It's your body. It's your summer. Enjoy them both. Check out more #TakeBackTheBeach, here.