It was the day of my senior prom. I was so excited to wear my beautiful, floral, strapless dress. My hair was up and my makeup was perfect. I couldn’t wait to share the night with my date, Josh.
We had been each other’s date to our first ever school dance back in middle school, and it felt like things were coming full circle as we prepared to go to our last ever school dance together.
When he showed up at my door, both of us smiling ear to ear, I couldn’t believe how good he looked! We took a couple pictures at my house, and then we were off to meet the rest of our group and the other parents.
As we got in the car, I remember thinking it wasn’t possible for me to be any happier in that moment.
But as group pictures got rolling, one of the parents suggested we all take the classic prom picture with our dates—the one where the guy stands behind the girl and puts his arms around her. My heart started racing because I knew what was coming. I was trying desperately to smile normally and not look like I was panicking, but inside I was losing it.
You see, for years now my stomach has been my least favorite part of my body. Starting the day of my sixteenth birthday party, I became fixated with making my stomach as flat as possible, no matter the cost to my health. Although I’m in a better place now, at that point during my senior year, I had a full-blown eating disorder.
So as Josh went to wrap his arms around my stomach, a million thoughts went racing through my mind. Everything inside of me tensed up. I wondered what he was thinking as he touched my “fat” stomach. I wondered if he would still like me. I felt so exposed and didn’t know what to do.
But then it dawned on me … it’s just Josh. I know he cares about me. He has always loved me for who I am, and nothing about how big or small my stomach is would ever change that. As this realization sunk in, I slowly started to relax. I let myself sink into his arms and just enjoy that moment with this person I deeply cared about.
That moment has always stood out in my mind and it always will. It was the first step forward in working through this deeply held insecurity of mine.
From meeting in grade school to preparing to get married this summer, my relationship with Josh over the years has helped me see that my “huge” stomach in my eyes, isn’t really huge. And as silly as this sentence might sound to some, he’s helped me realize that my stomach is in no way a determining factor of how worthy I am of being loved.
Today, whether I’m dressed to the nines or have my pixie cut in a weird little pony tail in front, Josh is clear that no matter how I look he thinks I’m the most beautiful woman in the world. And because I know he wouldn’t lie to me, I believe him every single time he reassures me.
I’m not saying he magically took away this insecurity of mine and made everything all better. I needed psychological and medical help for my disorder, which I soon received. But knowing he loves me has helped me to love myself too. And for that I am forever grateful.
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