You know that memories thing on Facebook? This is a picture of me 6 years ago. And It stopped me for a moment when I saw this. Time flew by!

And I changed a lot and for the better.
I gained a lot of weight since, about 35kg. And I am a lot happier now.
Strange, isn't’ it, to put those two next to each other?

Well this is my story.
I was very aware of my weight and size in that time. I felt unhappy, unworthy and unattractive. I said no to every sweet, soda or any kind of junk food. And if I did eat or drink something like it, I felt extremely guilty. But I didn’t have enough money to buy decent food. I worked student jobs to pay for my college and living. I could barely make it to the end of the month. I didn’t want to work out, afraid of people making fun of me, afraid of not being able to do it with my fat ass. But mostly not having enough mental energy to get me there. And if I would have wanted it, I wasn’t financially able. (Do you have any idea how much good sportswear costs?) But there was always this nagging feeling of guilt in my head.

I developed a very complex relationship with my body. I hated it but I needed it. When I looked in the mirror I didn’t see myself, I just saw a stranger whose body I possessed. I was completely disconnected with myself. And in a way, I was just surviving and doing stuff everybody expected of me. Every moment of proud or positivity thinking I pushed away because they were lies.

I thought I would never find happiness or love because I wasn’t thin or smart enough. I doubted every friendship or every time a men showed interested in me. I thought they were only doing that because I was an easy target.
That complex feeling between me, my body and my confidence started since I was a teenager and my body started to change. Suddenly society was demanding how I had to look. And they weren't afraid or ashamed to highlight every “mistake”. They still do that.

In college everything was going wrong as well. I studied illustration. But there was no support, only teachers who said everything you did wasn’t good enough. There even was a moment that a teacher said I couldn’t draw. I failed my third year the second time. And so that one thing I was always good at started to fail me too. What had I left?

On top of that I had a very difficult relationship with my family. I blamed them for everything that went wrong in my life, but mostly I blamed them for not providing a support system or safe space to go to when I needed it the most. 

After four years of college I knew I had to change something. I had to get out of this emotional wreck. And even then it wasn’t for myself. It was only to get my degree. It was the only proud I had left and thought I could accomplish. Because if I even didn’t have a degree, what would people think of me? “The fat loser, so much promise, but to lazy to make it.” So I started to talk. I ended up at a psychologist and a psychiatrist. Payed by the government (Thank God!) In the beginning I went to the psychologist every week and quickly got a prescription for antidepressant from the psychiatrist for anxiety.

My fifth year in college I wasn’t studying illustration anymore but graphic design, The teachers had given up on me and I was forced to change my major. But still I believed I could get my degree. I worked harder than ever before with the energy that I still had left. But still it wasn’t good enough. I failed for my third year for the third time. But up to this day I am very proud of what I accomplished in that moment. And I was indeed stronger than in the beginning of the year.

As stubborn as I was I continued. I had found something in myself. A very strong spirit.
I went to another college. Far away from family and friends, all by myself. The relationship with my parents exploded in that time. So I certainly had nobody to fall back on, except for the few strangers who became friends along the way. My financial situation was even worse because it was more expensive at this college and city. I had to work weekends, borrow money and worked jobs in the vacation to pay back the loans.
You can imagine that weight and size was the last thing on my mind. So I gained a lot of weight, also because of the anti-depressant. It was regrettable but it wasn't any priority. Although the nagging feeling of guilt stayed. 

I barely got my degree in september 2013. There wasn’t any party. There was nobody at the finish line to congratulate me. I never felt more lonely in my entire life then on that moment. There was nobody who I could call. But I made a promise to myself. To forever remember that accomplished proud feeling. “I knew you could do it” was what resounded in my head. I had something to build on again. 

I stayed in the city where I went to college. This was my home now. And slowly I started to heal. I was burned up but not beaten. I started working part time in a warehouse for 10 months. I had money and no worries. I started to take the time to meet new people and make friends. The relationship with my family started to settle back in peace and ignorance. I don’t blame them anymore but I also don’t count on them anymore. I just decided that I have to make my own happiness and I don't want to depend on an other to give it to me. 

I started seeing myself in the mirror, my eyes which I avoided before because they told the unbearable truth now looked at me with pride. I was amazed by their beauty. And suddenly I saw my Freckles, little spots of cheerfulness over my face. Who could resist not to love them?

Slow and steady the fire started flaring up again and I got restless. Because I wasn't that obedient anymore I got fired from that warehouse job. The best thing that ever happened to me. It was time for me to pick up the pencil again and do what I was best in. Drawing. 

The kilo’s they don’t bother me anymore. Because I know better now. It is not where my worth lies. And I do what I want now. 

I want to be healthy but also enjoy life, 

so I started working out and eating healthy with a guilty pleasure once in a while. 

And I wear bright colours. 

Because they make me cheerful. 

But none of it is for society anymore. It is just for myself. 

My fat fabulous self