Illustrated by Ammiel Mendoza.
Growing up as a plus-size girl, the last day of school was always the first day of my master plan to lose weight. The plan, of course, was to get skinny over the summer break so that I could wow everyone with my new body on the first day of school. I had wonderful fantasies of my triumphant return as skinny CeCe.
In junior high, the fantasy was simple: I would come back to school skinny, my crush would fall in love with me, and my life would be perfect. In the high school fantasy, I would come back to school skinny, my crush would fall in love with me, I’d get the lead part in the school play, and then my life would be perfect.
Through college, the fantasy changed, but the template remained the same: get skinny, blah blah blah, and my life would be perfect. The idea that skinny meant having a perfect life was a silent mantra that I would affirm as I watched my more slender friends experience major (and, sometimes very minor) milestones that seemed to allude me. If I were skinny, he would have bought me a drink. If I were skinny, I could shop there, too. If I were skinny, I would have gotten that job.
Then, a random night out changed everything. I was invited to a BBW club in NYC. A BBW club is bar-slash-night club specifically for big girls and the men who are attracted to them. Walking into the club, my weight was a non-factor because all of the women were plus-size. I began to see myself in a completely different light: Instead of standing on the wall silently apologizing for being a big girl, I was confidently dancing, talking to people, and generally having a great time. It might seem ridiculous, but I felt like the night had endless possibilities — this was the perfect life I'd been imagining.
That’s when it hit me: The only variable that had changed was my issue with my weight. When I stopped acting like a perfect life was only accessible to the non-existent Skinny CeCe, my perfect life began to open up.
I always say you shouldn't wait on your weight, because for a long time, I fell into the habit of believing life would open up to me if only I'd lost a few dozen pounds. There were so many things that I was saving for my “perfect life,” and so many things that I thought that only Skinny CeCe could do — and feeling confident was definitely one of them.
But, I had been waiting on Skinny CeCe to show up since I was a pre-teen. And frankly, she was late, and I had things to do, so I began to do them. I forced myself to address why I hid behind my extra pounds (read: It was an easy excuse for why things weren't working out for me). and I started a plus-size dating blog. I experiment with my style on my YouTube channel, and I go on travel excursions. Even better? I've since given myself permission to live a healthy lifestyle without the pressure of being thin (which, coincidentally enough, actually lead to me losing 55 pounds).
No one will ever have a perfect life, skinny or not. I had to realize that outside of my weight, I had too much to be thankful for to keep myself boxed in. Letting go of the idea that my life couldn’t begin until I lost weight got me closer to perfection than I’ve ever been.