Hi there, friends! I'm Jess and I'm (kinda) new to this site, so please bear with me! My body positivity journey started three years ago, when I was 15 years old, and the main reason is the same reason that so many people have confidence issues: social media. Now, that's not to blame social media for everything, but I think we can all agree that the internet can be a dark, very disturbing place full of bullies and trolls. In a world where fat bodies are constantly seen as something people should be ashamed of, the mix of bullying and hatred with endless images of models with society's "ideal" body shape took a great toll on my self-esteem... which is why it was so weird to me that this is when I started my YouTube channel. Well, I actually already had my channel, but this when I decided to make my channel more about plus size fashion, rather than beauty and makeup. It was a really big deal for me to even admit that I was plus size, even though anybody with eyesight could see that I was. I, like most plus size women, grew up with the constant fear that somebody would call me fat. When I was about seven or eight years old, I was at summer camp when I got paired up with this boy from my class to participate in an obstacle course race. I was so scared that he would make a comment about my weight in front of all of the other kids in our camp... and lo and behold, he did. He made some comment similar to "I don't wanna partner with her, she's fat!" or something along those lines, but it just further traumatized me and made me hate my body even more. I consequently ran to the bleachers, in the back corner of the gym, and started crying. Throughout the years, I received several comments about my weight, whether it was a classmate calling me fat or a family member asking me when I was going to lose some weight. So, back to fifteen year old me, it was a big deal for me to admit to myself that I was fat. It was hard to admit that yes, I do shop in the plus size section at clothing stores. Yes, I weigh more than my friends. I was putting myself out there on the internet, for everyone and anyone to judge me, when I wasn't even comfortable in my own skin. However, I eventually found the body positive community on YouTube and Instagram, and that's when I finally began my self-love journey. Following all of the plus size queens of social media like Nadia, Gabi, Tess, Nicolette, and a lot lesser known bloggers made me realize that learning to love my fat body wasn't impossible. It's a lot of work, but it wasn't impossible. I grew up in Miami, aka Satan's butthole, but I never wore any kind of bottoms other than yoga pants or skinny jeans cause I absolutely refused to wear anything that showed my legs. To be honest, I'm still not entirely sure how I didn't sweat to death, cause constant 85+ degree weather and tight skinny jeans do NOT mix well. But I finally started wearing dresses and skirts. I started to experiment more with my style and bought things that I actually liked, rather than things that just covered up my body. Now being called fat doesn't bother me and I actually show off my body shape on Instagram... 12 year old me must be like "what???" To sum up this super long intro, I'm finally way more confident than I've ever been, because screw beauty standards. Wear what you want, and flaunt it, because you're beautiful! It doesn't matter what people think because there will be always be critics, no matter what you look like, and your opinion of yourself is the only opinion that matters! Your weight and a number on a scale does not define you. Your intelligence, compassion, kindness, strength, sincerity, creativity, etc... those things are what define you. You can be fat and still slay. You can be thin and still slay. You can work it at any size, because your weight doesn't determine your worth or who you are! Anyways, I hope this essay was interesting enough! I'm so glad to have joined this wonderful community and I can't wait to talk to some of you babes!