A story of reconnection - Aguineth

Before I start, let me make full disclaimer:

Since November, my body has been changing again, I gained a bit more weight and it’s been difficult to adjust to my new size. We are always transforming and sometimes I am cool with it, and I don’t think about it and then something happens and affects how I feel. So, the last few weeks, I have been working on gaining my confidence back, it has been a turmoil, but I am getting there again.

                                                                 ********************

I have always been on diet since I was 10 years old. For my mom it was difficult to have a daughter that was fat, so since that age I was seeing nutritionists and have countless of diets. In my puberty phase, although I wasn’t that big yet, the way I was, and the way I was seeing myself has strongly affected my confidence. 

While working in a warehouse when I was around 20, I have lost a lot of kilos, and although I became finer, I realized that I wasn’t happy. I gained all my weight back when I went to college in 2017, and still it wasn’t easy because I was thinking that nobody would like me with this body, and it was hard to see others being in love and confident in their body and I was not.

Reconekt

Then in 2019, when I had noticed that my self-esteem was drastically low, I have decided to do therapy. When I started it, one of the first step I made was changing my clothes, using clothes that I am happy in, clothes that accentuates part of my body that I liked. This step of adjusting my wardrobe to my new size, and dress as I wanted, was important, but I also must like to see my body naked, and this process was tougher. For almost all my life, I couldn’t look at myself naked in the mirror, each time I tried it I was downhearted. But slowly since last year, I started to look at myself naked in the mirror and to notice little things about my body.

I started with my face

Then my arms

Then my breast and so on. I needed to see myself bit by bit. After I showered, I would look at my body and try to love every bit of piece of me. This process which I kept secret was my personal way to gradually learn to get used to my body before I see it in one whole piece.

But then this painful process started to pay off around the beginning of 2020 where suddenly I started to feel sexy in my body. And that was the key: feeling sexy in my own body and skin, feeling like my fat body wasn’t absent of sexiness. I needed to feel like my body is desirable, not by anyone else but by myself. And all the reassurance from outside came after I have participated in a fashion show for a cloth brand end of 2020. I was shy and walking the runway without a bra was not easy to do, but it gave me the boost of confidence I needed. After this show, it was enjoying being in my body, I got many compliments and for the very first time in my life I was able to accept that I am beautiful.

Another confidence booster event that occurred, was a naked photoshoot I had with a photographer who was really thrilled about shooting me. I felt good being naked in front of someone else. Modelling has been helping me a lot to love and reconnect with my body. I feel beautiful and comfortable as I am. 

I am still having some hard time with my mom not liking to see the way I am. But I won’t hide myself to please her. I understand the generation she is from is not comfortable with naked body, let alone with a fat naked body.

Reconekt

I have developed a love for doing photoshoots because I know how it has been helping me to love myself.  Seeing myself in camera, in photos, taking selfies, watching videos of people like me sharing their experiences, these are rituals I’ve created to help raise my self-esteem, it is a constant and everyday work. Furthermore, I stopped following people on Instagram that don’t look like me because they don’t reflect my reality. I am following people like Lizzo, because she represents at part of me, she is Black, and fat and she has also gone through body shaming.

Today I define myself as fat or grand size model. Being called fat used to be excruciating, because it is a word that has a lot of shame in it. When people call me fat as an insult, that is still hurtful. When I was younger, I was called fat as an insult, people knew me as the fat girl, and it was the only thing people would say about me. I wasn’t looking nice like my other friends, I wasn’t beautiful, I was the fat friend. You couldn’t be fat and beautiful and now I am discovering that I can be FAT and BEAUTIFUL. 

Reconekt

Aguineth She/her (Queer) 
Anthropologist - Antiracist – Feminist
Angola/Sao Tome and Principe/Portugal  
“My sisters are my base; they make me feel home”