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More To Love teaches plus size women how to learn body-acceptance and end dieting for good. 

My Curvy Life: From Rant to Romance: Craigslist Helped Me Find True Love

Rachel Estapa

{This is the fourth article in a new series running through October titled “My Curvy Life” featuring body-positive guest bloggers sharing personal stories on body image, daily life and various plus-size perspectives. To submit your work to the series, read my blog requirements here}

Rant

Rant

"I was tired of feeling like I had to apologize for my size, like I had to accept whatever little crumbs were thrown my way."

For most of my life, I struggled to understand how other, “normal” people were able to make things happen so effortlessly - especially when it came to romantic relationships, which were Greek to me.  As the girl who was always “a good friend” and never “a girlfriend” to the guys I crushed on, there was clearly some missing piece to the puzzle.

So I poured all that energy into food, which was the only thing that seemed to love me back.

By the time I turned 25, I weighed over 280lbs and had been on exactly three dates my entire life – one of which was my senior prom…to which I took a freshman.

Finally, one night, a friend of a friend asked an innocent question which changed my life:

“When do you think you’ll start dating?”

I was shocked. At first I thought she was making fun of me – that old knee-jerk reaction resulting from too many years of too many bullies. I realized she was sincere, though, and all I could manage was a shrug and a grin.

Inside, I was in turmoil. If that girl didn’t think I was some sort of monster – the way I saw myself – maybe I wasn’t so bad after all. Maybe it was all in my head.

That little idea took root and grew, though, even as I tried to shut it out.

After getting my courage up, I put an ad out on a dating site. I got replies, but mostly from some pretty sketchy guys. I went on a few dates, but they were all awkward and never went any further.

Finally one day I lost it. I was sick of getting messages from cute, interesting guys who liked my headshot, then taking the time to craft a clever email and attach a full-length shot…to which I’d get no further reply. I got their message loud and clear.

I was tired of feeling like I had to apologize for my size, like I had to accept whatever little crumbs were thrown my way.

So I went where people go when something inside them has snapped at they’re at the end of their rope.

I went to Craigslist.

I swear I only went to post a rant, because I was really that ticked off! I went on a tirade that included the fact that I can quote The Godfather, love watching football, know most hit oldies by heart, am an amazing cook and voracious reader…and that I also happen to wear a size 14/16, and anyone who has a problem with that should move on and not waste my time.

To my surprise, I got a ton of replies to that rant, one of which in particular gave me a reason to pause and re-read. He could spell! Used correct grammar! And didn’t include a photo of his genitals…He was really hitting all the high points, kids.

But more than that…there was something else that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I knew that if nothing else, we’d be really good friends.

September 19th was our fifth wedding anniversary.

Looking back at the pain I went through, I know now that I needed to figure out that I was worth more than I ever gave myself credit for.

I needed to step outside my comfort zone – because at first I kept coming up with reasons why it wouldn’t work between us. I know now that even though I hated my lonely life…it was all I had ever known. It was comfortable.

I needed to learn to accept love. It’s no easy task when you’ve spent so much time thinking you’re unlovable. Even if it’s what you long for more than anything else, you might push it away if you don’t believe you deserve it.

I needed to love myself. I spent so long assuming that someone else would give me the love I wasn’t giving myself – but it doesn’t work that way. I used to think it was corny, the idea of self-love. Now I know that it’s crucial.

I wouldn’t recommend that everyone go to Craigslist to find love…but I do recommend taking a chance.

Especially on yourself.

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Jennifer

Jennifer

Jennifer Bardall believes that anyone’s life can take off – but first you have to fall in love with yourself. You can find her at her website, Honor Yourself Now, as well as on her Facebook page and on Twitter.