Overexposed: A Self-Love Project.

Overexposed: The Foundation.

It could be hard loving yourself, especially being a size 26 knowing that you were a size 20 when you were out of high-school. Sometimes, looking at yourself in old pictures isn’t about missing the memories behind them, you look at them because you think you were prettier back then and now you’re just this “fat blob of a woman.”

But then I remember that I was thinking the same thing even when taking this picture. The deal is: weight doesn’t define self-love.

Hello. I’m Liz, and I am a fat girl with some deep-rooted issues.

Welcome to my world.

I come from a family of Italians and Puerto Rican’s. While my Puerto Rican family is not fat, my Italian side is, and I guess my sister and I just got that “fat gene” in the family. When we were younger, nobody cared if little Liz was chubby; she was a baby, and being a chubby baby met that you were the cutest thing in the world. But then you get older and that same family tells you that you’re getting bigger. “You should lose some weight”. “She’s gotten heavier since I last saw her.” And my personal favorite: “I’ll pay you $100 if you lose 100 pounds.” I’m not joking, that’s a true story.

We have this idea that fat is ugly, fat is bad, and fat is something that you shouldn’t want to have a lot of. We get fed these bullshit ideas that you can lose 16 pounds in 4 weeks (right, Jenny Craig advertisement in Bay Ridge?) and hear other people’s bullshit stories on how they are so much happier being “skinny” and “a couple of dress sizes smaller.”

And I fell for it time after time, thinking I was ugly, that my depression or sadness stemmed from a place of being fat, thinking that skipping meals and drinking only water in middle school would help me get skinny and stop being bullied by my own friends, and thinking that being skinny would stop making me be everyone’s second choice.

So as I got older and as I got fatter, I stopped caring, in all honesty. I stopped holding my body accountable for growing in the way that it does. Could I eat healthier? Of course. Could I be more active? Sure. But those things aren’t going to ultimately help me lose the 100+ pounds that won’t consider me “obese” on the “average height and weight chart.”

My body can’t even get to be that small even if it’s the ideal “weight for my height”, and I learned that from witnessing a family member of mine battle anorexia a couple of years ago.

Yeah, who would’ve thought that projecting this idea of “I’m happy being skinner” could cause eating disorders?

As of this moment, I am focused on loving my body in the skin that it’s in, whether it’s in a size 20, size 26, or in the baggier size 30.

This isn’t just a fat girl story learning to love her body. This is a story on how a fat girl learned that her self-worth isn’t measured in dress sizes, real romance isn’t just a skinny person’s privilege, and that respect, power, and confidence could walk in a body like mine.

This a project about self-love.

To build yourself up after years of abandonment is challenging; you don’t know where to start, you have to clean up the mess that’s gathered over the years, and ultimately you have to create the foundation in order to start building things up strong and tall.

And this is the story of how it began.

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