I never felt pretty, even when people told me that I was.
I should have been flattered.
I never listened to a word of it. Complements made my skin crawl because I didn’t deserve them.
Complements were for skinny girls, lighter skinned girls.
Not for girls like Black and fat me.
My body and I have had a rocky relationship for the majority of my life. As I’ve aged, it seems like there was something new to dislike.
I have a black birthmark on my stomach, just below my breasts.
The oily complexion that showed up in high school.
The extra skin that accumulated on my upper arms just before graduation.
The stretch marks that showed up when I was pregnant that never disappeared.
The way my boobs went from perky to exhausted soon after my son was born.
They were never big enough for me to begin with.
And the rolls…
Fat bulging from my midsection and limbs. The thighs are massive, but no booty to match. My back fat was uncontainable. My jiggly body was always a source of pain for me. People made fun of me for being overweight in school and I internalized all those messages.
And got fatter.
I tried to lose weight but overall, nothing I did had any lasting effects. I was a Fat, Black girl trapped in a Fat, Black body and the world had no kindness for me.
Until I met my husband.
We are told that we shouldn't allow our happiness to be dependent on someone else. That we must be content within ourselves before we can accept love from another. This sounds well and good; self-love is important and a valid goal to have. However, if you are fortunate enough to find someone who truly cares about you, they will help you to see yourself the way they see you. Flaws and all.
Despite your bad self-esteem Despite your weird laugh Despite your terrible skin problems Despite your inability to manage time properly The right person will love every hair on your wretched little body.
He was enamored from the beginning. I thought he had to be some kind of chubby chaser and I was not down to be anybody’s fetish. I told him as much and he said I was out of my mind.
I probably was.
From my perspective, there was no way anyone would find me desirable or sexy. I was a pity date at best. Someone who was on the receiving end of cruel jokes because of their size. Things like that can warp a girl’s self-perception. This guy stuck around and continued to heap praise and affection onto me. After a while, I started to believe that her genuinely loved me for me.
And that included my gross body and its rolls.
Receiving the love I couldn’t give to myself all those years began to change the opinion I had of myself. Every kiss he gave me was a renewal. A validation for every kind word he gave me over the years. I was just as pretty as other girls, not just for a fat girl. I was prettier that a lot of people.
I wasn’t ugly at all. Not even close. I whole heartedly believe that no one had loved me properly up until that point, including myself.
I have beautiful, almond shaped eyes.
I have a dimple on my right cheek when I smile just so.
My skin glistens in the bright sunlight like sand crystals on the beach.
I have thighs that men will beg to be crushed between.
A cleavage that provides a restful slumber for those I love.
Skin, dark like melted, milk chocolate and silky to match. He loves to touch me, and I have the softest skin he’d ever felt.
My husband loves my body.
I’m getting there, with his help.
My body is beautiful.
My body is worthy.
My body is loved.
Tangela Williams-Spann is a mental health and wellness blogger as well as the mother of an autistic person. Her first book, Sad, Black, and Fat: Musings from the Intersections, will be released in August 2021. She is currently completing coursework towards a MA in Special Education at Grand Canyon University.