If you had told me that being fat would create a career path for me, I would have thought you were a fetish-porn producer or something. I’ve always been plus size, and I learned very quickly that big girls often get overlooked. I learned that when my high school drama teacher didn’t give me a part. I learned it when a job I’d been promised over the phone suddenly wasn’t available after my in-person interview. And I learned it at the bar, from time to time. So you might guess that these experiences made me want to be skinny, like everyone else I saw getting the things I was passed over for. Getting skinny was at the top of each New Year's resolution list, and it was on my mind every time summer rolled around. My weight was making me stand out, and I just wanted to blend in and be like everyone else, so that I could be special. “I wanted to be like everyone else, so that I could be special” — wait, what? Does that even make any sense? Of course not. But regardless of the logic, I spent years wanting just that. I became convinced that things would be easier if I could just change myself. The person I was wasn’t quite pretty/smart/talented/funny/skinny enough. I constantly wrestled with feelings of inadequacy.
It would be easy to say that growing up as the only chubby brown girl in my California school made me feel this way. It would be even easier to say “the media” made me feel this way. All those waify white models made this big black girl feel like she would never fit in! But I don’t think it’s that simple. Many of my friends struggled with their own insecurities. We compared ourselves to others and worried that we weren't measuring up somehow. We magnified our so-called flaws and didn't notice our strengths. While I was wishing I wasn’t fat, someone else was wishing her parents weren’t divorced, and someone else was wishing she wasn't so painfully shy.
Things finally changed for me when I stopped running from what made me different.
the things that we think are hindering us may be the very things that propel us to where we need to be.
That feeling of being out of place because of my size? I set up camp there — a very glamorous, fashionable and fun camp called plussizeprincess.com. I mean, if I was going to be different, I could at least make different look good. Remember at the Teen Choice awards when Ellen told the kids “What makes you different right now makes you stand out later in life”? I shared this quote on my facebook page because asking myself that very question basically changed my life — and cemented my place in this complicated world. When I stopped trying not to be the bigger girl and began using my website to confidently explore that very aspect of myself, I discovered I was in good company. Before long, thousands of women around the world found that they could relate, and they wanted to connect. They, too, longed for a community the way I once did. I helped them understand that they weren’t alone, and they helped me recognize that I wasn't alone, either. It was eye-opening. Am I saying people should gain a bunch of weight in order to find success? No. But I am saying that the things that we think are hindering us may be the very things that propel us to where we need to be. If I wasn’t plus size, I may have never set out to do the work to live my best life at any size; I may not have become obsessed with what health can look like outside of “skinny.” Once I figured out how to make my assets work for me, when I became comfortable sharing my fitness journey with anyone who cared to know about it, that's when I tasted success. And, you know, life is pretty great. I love that I'm able to use my website as a platform to encourage people to love themselves and be positive about their bodies. I get to make plus size workout videos, I get to host body-positive events — and none of this would have happened if I had become "just like everyone else."