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"You don’t have to have a certain build or a certain image to be able to model or to show your body."
I flew to Toronto from my home in Washington, DC, to promote body positivity. That’s why I started my Instagram page: to love and express myself and put my journey out there in the world.
My weight has fluctuated throughout the years. I went through a major weight loss that has left me with loose skin that hangs from my chest and stomach. But I love myself, big and small.
My struggles with weight began when I was younger. I was going through a lot: my mom put me on medication to help stabilize my mood, but it also led to weight gain. Due to my doctors’ concerns about my health, I began my first weight-loss journey.
Later I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which is when the chemicals in your body make you gain weight. I went from being at a healthy weight again to being morbidly obese. I had gastric-bypass surgery in June 2017 to help start the process of getting my weight down.
After I healed from that, I immediately started working out again, trying hard at the gym and building muscle. Just a few months after the surgery, I was feeling confident and good about where I was going. I created my Instagram page in September 2017 with a post that said: “Start of a new beginning.” I used social media to mark my progress and show people that you don’t have to have a certain build or a certain image to be able to model or to show your whole body online.
When I was younger, I watched America’s Next Top Model and was always into fashion. I am into pushing boundaries artistically and aesthetically. My posts are also a way to express myself, whether I’m posing with candlelight or with provocatively lathered blood.
It is a struggle to look at yourself, see the loose skin and know that there’s more work to do. I want to see my body in the best way possible, and I don’t want my excess skin to get in the way of seeing my progress, even if that means having cosmetic surgery to remove it. Once I have the money for it, I’ll be able to get the surgery. But it’s not something I’m going to beat myself up about.
I am confident in myself now. I go out to parties and bars where people are in underwear, shirtless, whatever. No, I don’t have the six-pack – but I don’t care.
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