So my first assignment on Keri’s much acclaimed blog is to write about being a model and my transition from a size 0 to a size 16 all in one entry. Here goes.
I started dating my now husband David about 10 years ago. I was in college for Psych and wanted a lucrative part time job on the side. He and his previous girlfriend modeled for the arts department of the local school we went to and he said it was easy money. And it was. $9/hour for fully clothed sessions and $12/hour for nude. It took a little while to get used to being naked in front of a class of 20+ sets of starring eyes fixed on you and only you for 3 hours, and I think I may have peed myself a little the first time, but eventually I was taking private gigs outside the school and making much more money. I had never considered myself especially attractive or thin, but I loved seeing how the drawings/ paintings/ sculptures came out. To be quite honest, up until that point, I just never even considered myself. Period.
I decided one day that I would take my modeling to the next level – photography. I was curious as to whether all these amazing works of art I was modeling for were a result of my looks, and would it translate to photograph? I put my resume on craigslist and waited for the responses to syphon in. It was slow at first but I eventually got jobs paying over $100/hour. Below is a picture from one such job.
This went on until one day about 5 years ago when I discovered I was pregnant. Surprise! Despite being sick day in and day out and having to go to the hospital for dehydration 3 times due to something called hyperemesis gravidarum, I gained over 50 lbs. People would actually come up to me and ask if I was having twins. Everyone thought it was so cute, me going from a size 0 to an extra large maternity size, because I was pregnant. The picture below is after my water broke.
After the birth of my beautiful little girl I lost most of the weight. I was down to a “normal” medium size, but I still felt as large as I had when I was pregnant, only now people didn’t think it was as cute. And, oh, the stretch marks. Although I could always fall back on “art” modeling, which was very welcoming of models of all shapes and sizes, I knew that there was no room in the photography world for a medium sized girl.
About a year and a half ago I underwent ECT, which is a short, detached way of saying electro-shock therapy. That’s right. Electrodes on my head and a bit in my mouth and every stigma that goes with it. I have struggled with depression my whole life and this was an all out “balls to the wall” move. I underwent one course of twenty sessions. Although it made only a slight difference in my mood, lots of things changed after that. I lost significant portions of my memory. I stopped being a vegetarian after 16 years. I started smoking. I started liking rap music and coffee, things I hated before. This is also when I started gaining weight rapidly.
I bought a couple of key pieces of clothing in a size large. Jeans, some shirts, a sweatshirt. I thought that it was just temporary. After all, this wasn’t my body. It had been hijacked and distorted, stuffed and given back to me. Pretty soon I was walking around with shirts that ended above my belly button and pants that I had to leave unfastened. I felt sorry. Sorry for myself, but mostly sorry for David who had to watch me transform into this creature. I was sure someone would ask me any day if I was having a boy or a girl and I would just break down hysterically. I felt like I was drowning and waking up every morning was me sinking a little further. I stopped socializing or even leaving the house.
Just when I was at my lowest body-image wise, I discovered the now not-so secret world of plus sized clothing. I bought some basics from Torrid, and then I was hooked. I almost felt like a barbie doll. I guess I thought previously that plus sized women had to buy their clothes through specialty stores, and that fashion was the last thing those manufacturers considered. Since then I’ve discovered lots of plus-sized retailers who offer fashionable, quality clothing. And, it’s amazing what a well fitting outfit will do for your self confidence. I find myself getting excited to go clothes shopping again. I’m not embarrassed to leave the house anymore. Once I embraced my size and started buying clothes that fit me (as opposed to buying clothes for my fantasy weight) I became much more comfortable in my skin. So that brings me to today, airing out my dirty laundry for the whole world to see, as to say. Below is me now, a sexy size 16.