I’ve been a size 16 since high school, but I don’t think I was ever at a point I’d be considered thin. I will put on an outfit and think, “wow this is cute” but then look at pictures afterwards and go “yikes I look terrible.” I layer constantly–showing my upper arms is a no-no for me. Over 23 years I have internalized so much negativity towards being anything other than what people think of as a “healthy size” (fun fact: you can be big and be healthy they aren’t mutually exclusive!!!) that it’s hard for me to see myself as anything past my weight when I look in the mirror or at pictures.
My sister is a pageant girl. She didn’t do them when she was younger, mostly just the last few years, but still. When people see a picture of my sister usually I’ll get a “wow, your sister is gorgeous” and my brain fills the end of that sentence in with “and you…well you exist, so that’s cool.” She’s also had a boyfriend pretty consistently since 8th grade, and there are always other boys that have been interested in her.
In fifth/sixth grade we all had these “relationships.” You know, where you send each other notes and you circle yes/no but past that it’s not much. I had one of those. And you know what? I can remember the boy laughing at me when I complained about being bullied. I switched schools 2/3rds of the way through the year, that’s how bad it was. And he laughed.
I had my first kiss when I was a week away from being 19. I had my first actual date this summer.
And I realized pretty quickly that the guy who my first kiss with was super sweet and nice but wasn’t for me, but it was so tough to say “hey this isn’t going to work.” Why? Well, it had taken what felt like ages for me to get to that point. What if it never happens again? What if it’s a fluke? What if no one else will be interested in me?
That thinking is not great, by the way. Don’t stay with someone because you feel like you have to settle. And I didn’t
A friend recently asked me if I was seeing anyone, and when I said no he said, “oh its because you’re so busy, right?” I sort of agreed, because it wasn’t the time to launch into the, “hah nope it’s because no one I’m interested in is ever interested in me” conversation.
Look, being alone is actually not terrible. But for me, well–I’ve wanted that closeness for so long that it became this sort of out of reach thing. This impossibility of a dream that someone could like me and that it could be someone I like back just as much.
And in 2016 a bound manuscript falls into my hands at the bookstore. I don’t know much about it. All I know is that it’s by the same author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and I really enjoyed that book.
Read it and if you like it send us a blurb.
That I can do.
And something happened. As I was turning the pages, I wasn’t reading about a character. Somehow, this author had seen me. Molly was experiencing the feelings I felt on such a regular basis–she’s a fat girl with anxiety who always has crushes and not relationships and a sister who people always have interest in.
But main characters aren’t like me, I thought. They might have similar attitudes or witty remarks as me, but a) they’re thin and b) there is never a question that they’ll end up with their crush.
With Molly, I saw me. 26 unrequited crushes. But, something about Molly was different as I continued reading.
She got the guy. She got the happy ending.
A fat, anxious girl who hadn’t had requited romantic interest GOT THE GUY.
Suddenly this thing that had been an impossibility for much of my life seemed like something that could happen. I messaged Becky as soon as I had finished reading with:
I needed her to know what Molly meant to me. And I still cling on to Molly as the me in a book.
I’m still a little cynical about love. I probably will be for a while. But Molly changed the impossibility of a happy ending to a possibility. And I’m clinging to that hope. And I’m endlessly grateful for her.