The Women We Are
Exhibitions and Press
“I tried not to hate myself, instead I worked at changing my own mind. I saw other larger people who I found beautiful. I made friends and found support, joy, and passionate love in a larger size. I identified as a plus size woman and accepted who I was. I glowed when I saw happiness radiate from my husband to be as I walked down the aisle in a beautiful wedding gown in a size 22.”
After prolonged illness, a rough pregnancy and traumatic birth, Melissa discovered severe food allergies and shed over 100 pounds.
“I had to be reintroduced. Literally people that I had lain naked in bed with didn’t know who I was. People who had sex with me didn’t know who I was. Old friends would wonder who that new cute chick was. I remember the sound of indrawn breath as the shock of my new self collided with their previous perceptions. I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror. I waited for the inevitable upward slide in dress size, but it didn’t happen. I got used to this new me, and so did the rest of the world. I got used to the shock and the envy and this new status as a lightening rod for food frustration. Sometimes, I wished I was just one of the fat girls again.”
Eventually, Melissa found balance in her body. She discovered joy in movement and dancing and in the push of challenging her body physically.
“I am my body. I claim me for myself now. I have existed because of my parents. I have existed for my children. I exist for myself now, and whomever I choose to share myself with. Every day is a blessing. Every breath is a gift.”