Like many other females I have struggled with my weight my entire life. Although considered mid-size and what society deems an acceptable palatable level of fat, up until recently I struggle with the concept that someone could love me in my current state. I struggled with existing as a black plus size woman, I very much believe that I was living as foil to highlight the beauty of conventional white patriarchal ideals. Embedded into my psyche was a notion that I was undesirable and undeserving of love. Through therapy I began to find self-love and identify black love as internal entity. Unfortunately. these feelings recently resurfaced due to the significant amount of weight I have gained in the past year. This can partly be attributed to the pandemic and the relating happy weight. My weight gain severely impacted my ability to feel desirable. Thankfully through my shadow work I’ve started the process of healing and unlearning the aspects of diet culture that had infiltrated my day to day behaviour. This journey reminded me of how hard it was to be dating while not adhering to the conventional perception of beauty. There was a period of time where I refrained from dating for a significant amount due to fear of rejection and ridicule. Plus size black women are frequently victims of derision and deride with ignorant comments. I’m delighted with the progress the plus size movement has made in terms of changing the narrative and declaring deserving of love.
Navigating the Dating Scene
Like I mention in previous articles, online dating is the new courting for us millennials. I was apprehensive to adopt the online dating stage because due to my body shape, sometimes I photograph smaller than I am. My body shape is narrow and deep meaning most of my weight centralised in my stomach, hence my hashtag “Thick In The Middle” – it’s all good from the front but when I turn to the side is when it gets “wey wey”. As a result, before each first date I would be full of dread in case the individual would be so disappointed when they saw me that they would leave upon arrival.
My advice to ladies online dating would be to flaunt your angles and accentuate your assets. Highlight your cheekbones sculpted to the heaven, your soulful eyes or curves carved directly by God. If you have problems areas, feel free to get creative with the crop feature but I’d advise against heavily photoshop or hiding the FUPA (Fat Upper Pussy Area) in every picture. When I was online dating, I would always be explicit with my fatness, affectionately referring to myself as “KitKat Chunky” and “fluffy round the edges”. However, this approach isn’t for everybody and depends on the type of online dating you employ (i.e. if would be obsolete if you’re using a dating site specifically for plus size individuals). There are benefits to using either mixed size (standard) or specifically plus sized dating apps. Your choice depends on what you feel comfortable with and with each app presents a balance between fat acceptance, fetishization and rejection. I’d also like to iterate the fact that although you’re plus size, you are under no obligation to date a fellow plus size individual. Everyone is entitled to their personal preference – do not let society coerce you into dating someone you are not attracted to. Feeling like you are underserving of someone who conforms to conventional perceptions of beauty is a rhetoric enrooted in diet culture. As long as the person you are dating is with you out of genuine attraction and not a result of fetishization, do not block your blessings because you feel like society will mock your relationship. When it comes to the actual date I would recommend reciting positive affirmations before departing for the date and some therapeutic breathing to calm any anxieties. Be confident, be open and most importantly be yourself. Don’t feel compelled to order a salad or strictly vegetables, unless its part of your actual eating habits and something you enjoy. A certain level of pretence is required in the initial dating stage, but there’s no need to apologise for who you are.
Being In A Relationship
If you do decide to date someone smaller than you, please do not feel the need to compensate for your weight and what you perceive as difference in attraction, through monetary or sexual favours. He doesn’t require additional reasons to stay with you. In a relationship with any individual ensure to prioritise your standards and self-respect. If you feel your partner is making you apologise for your fatness and is operating in a way that is detrimental to your self-worth or making you feel inferior, it’s over period. I know several plus size females who’ve been hit because the partner felt embarrassed to be in a relationship with them. It’s having the self-respect to leave those situations, while existing in a society designed to make you feel inferior and thus grateful at any slight affection or attention and stay in those situations.
Being plus size or an increase in weight, can change the way we feel and interact with our body. For a while, my recent weight gain impeded my sex life and ability to climax. My insecurities and low self-esteem hindered my ability to perforate into my feminine energy. Wondering about how my belly looked while riding and how saggy my bum looked when bae was hitting it from the back, meant I couldn’t access my liberated mindset required to “die a little”. I understand how difficult it is trying to conjure desire and feelings of amorousness in a body atypical to the conventional images of sexual prowess. The first thing I would suggest is get acquainted with your body: self-love is self-care. Caress your curves, stimulate your erogenous zones, bring yourself to a climax. Don’t be afraid to get in touch with your sexuality just because mainstream society has deemed you unsexy. A foundation in internal intimacy will enable you to manifest your sensuality in the bedroom.
If your insecurities regarding your weight is making you apprehensive to get intimate, I’d suggest some lingerie that accentuates your assets. Depending on what you perceive as your problem area, I’d recommend either high waisted lingerie, a babydoll (with cup and adjustable straps for support) or a corset as a starting point. Secondly, I encourage every plus size female to embrace their sexual desires, fantasies and kinks. The belief that because of your body size, you are limited to conventional sexual positions is ludicrous. I’m sure you’re familiar with the “get on top, if he dies he dies” meme and it rings true, accommodation such as balancing on the shins can be introduced to ensure you’re both sexually satisfied. If being picked up is a fantasy, try investing in a door frame or swing, which simulate the feelings of being picked up. Most importantly make sure you are with the correct person, someone who appreciates the effort you’ve invested into nurturing the sexual entity. My partner, as he should has embraced my weight gain, for him there’s more ripple in doggy and has made missionary more comfortable. We often joke about how the increase in my droopy boobies, has just made it easier for the nipples drop into his mouth, while riding. Finding the right person to be in a relationship is fundamental, someone who is going to accept you as you are and welcome any fluctuations of weights that occur over time.
Self-love is a journey that women of any size should undertake before entering a relationship. However due to the excess ridicule and derision plus size women are frequently exposed to, ensuring you have a strong internal foundation is paramount. Many plus size woman (me included), have internalised our fatness as emotional baggage steeped in insecurity, which if not dealt with correctly may be transported into your relationship, presenting as self doubt and potentially trust issues. Consequently, I would refrain from entering into the dating scene until your emotionally strong enough to withstand any rejection or disappointment that may occur in the process. Ensure you’re in a mental space where you see everything you bring to the table and you believe that your partners feelings are genuine and not due to pity or obligation. I want you to remember and digest that you are worthy of love and you are deserving of happiness. Take your time choosing the correct partner, someone who doesn’t reinforce what society says about plus size women or make you feel inferior.