My Weight In Gold

I used to be a size 4, I am now a size 14. I have been shopping for clothes for my honeymoon and came upon the realization that the plus size clothes were fitting me a little better, especially the bathing suits. This is not a soul-crushing revelation, but 10 years ago it would have been. I have called myself or been called fat since I can remember. If only I could be as fat as I was, the first time I thought I was fat. When I was dancing, auditioning or modeling, being called fat meant I was going to get put on weight notice, I wasn’t getting the job, and I was disgusting. I once had an agent tell a friend that I didn’t get booked because I wasn’t “bikini ready” I not only allowed myself to feel loathsome at 130 pounds, but turned my world upside down to lose the weight. I chased the illusion of the perfect body around for years. Sure, I could get to the weight I wanted to be, but I know what I had to do to get there, and I never want to hurt myself in that way again. I never want to hurt myself at all!

Jessica Vegas
Photo by Rob Hatrack

How about I get on my own team? How about I start loving me, and not wait for the rest of the world to co-sign?

Its taken me a long time to realize that whatever weight I am, I’m still in there. I am me. I want to be healthy and live a long life, but I don’t have to fit into a box or a number. I am fat. Fat people are still allowed to be sexy, to wear short skirts and low-cut blouses. We are still allowed to fall in love. We are allowed to run for office, vote and have children. Fat people can do everything everyone else can, we are not only capable, but we are also “allowed” to take pleasure in doing so. This is not shameful. This is a basic human right.

I have gotten lost in starting statements with, “when I…” and “if only…” . I have allowed my own enjoyment of life to be conditional. “If only I could lose these 10 pounds, then I’ll be happy!” I would say things like this over and over, until the day I asked myself, why am I waiting to be joyful? Why is my souls delight, in this short life, dependent on a number? I deserve to be happy, rich and in love. I deserve to not waste this day with negative self talk and shame over the vessel God has given me to ride these waves of life. Am I not grateful for all that I have? Do I not appreciate who the real woman is within me? My legs are strong and thick, they allow me to walk, and take me wherever I want to go. My stomach is full, I do not have to want for my dinner. My bum is round, my hips are wide. I am the form of Venus Di Milo. I am a work of art. I am enough.

I am fat, and madly in love. People ask me, how I found the love of my life, and I tell them this. “I got very clear on who I was, and who I was looking for. I decided I deserved someone who wanted what I did, and believed in the things I did. I had hope, I prayed and I put myself out there.” My husband loves me if I lose weight, or if I gain it, because he doesn’t love my weight. He loves me…..wildly, every inch of me. It is a true blessing to be loved by him, and not because he loves me when I’m fat, but because this kind, supportive and accepting man loves me at all. I know in my heart that I love him just as much, and we both deserve this kind of devotion.

The world has come a long way with body acceptance, but I have found that the lashes of our own doing, create the deepest wounds. As a society, I also hear people say things like “she is gorgeous, for a curvy woman” How about just, “she is gorgeous?” Fat, thin, small, tall our weight does not determine our worth as people. If you said, “she’s pretty neat, for a woman,” that would be sexist. If you said “he’s pretty cool, for an Indian guy,” that would be racist. Throwing someone into a category based on their weight is Sizeist.

“My weight does not determine my worth. I am not Gold.”

Worthy and Deserving are two words that hang on a board above my desk. I have to remind myself daily that I am both of these things, we all are. Every single person is worthy of love and good things. It doesnt’ have to be earned. Love isnt dependant on anything, it is uncondional. If a plus size swimsuit hugs my curves better, Ima rock it on the beaches of Puerto Rico. No one is going to see the size 14 tag. Everyone is going to see me, just Jessica, the woman who is “not bikini ready”, but wearing one anyway, and is just as worthy of happiness, love and freedom, as the woman who is a size 4.

jessica at the beach