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I've always been a big girl. For as long as I can remember I've felt uncomfortable in my skin. I've been far more comfortable sitting back, observing, trying to be invisible, and hoping that no one would notice me. It's the reason I rather hide behind the camera instead of being in front of it. And in part, I've told myself over the years that my size somehow diminishes of myself worth.

Is that logical or reasonable? Absolutely not.

But it's that little nagging voice in the back of my head that I'm slowly learning to ignore.

I made myself a promise two years ago that I would push my comfort zone and get in front of the camera more. I had noticed that aside from the odd awkward selfie, I had very few photos of me, let alone photos of myself with the people I love.

The reason why?

It was purely because of my insecurities with my size.

As a photographer, I also wanted to see what it felt like to be in front of the camera. And yes, it can be just as nerve wracking as I thought. While I may not enjoy looking at a lot of the photos I've had taken over the last two years, by no fault of the photographer, I've learned something really important.

I do appreciate the photos eventually.

This man of mine has been my biggest emotional support in encouraging my self confidence. He always has something sweet to say, he's full of sincere compliments, and has the most adoring look in his eyes for me. When I look at this photo that we had taken 7 month ago, by Michelle England Photography, the first thing I see isn't my weight anymore. I'll admit, it was at first. But now that time has passed, I've been able to recognize what truly makes this photo special to me. I can now, honestly say that I absolutely love it and that it leaves me with a big smile and a full heart when I see it. This photo represents the love and connection that we share. It's the bond and commitment we have to one another, and a beautiful representation of how important and close we are to one another.

I encourage you to get in front of the camera, no matter how uncomfortable and awkward you may feel.

Take those pictures and tuck them away somewhere safe and come back to them later. On your journey to self acceptance, much like mine, there will come a day when you realize that it's not about your hair, your clothes, or your size. Photos are about the relationship and the connection that you have with the people in the photo.

BIG: Stories about Life in Plus Sized Bodies.

I first met Heather online about 3.5 years ago. We had connected because we were both West Coast girls looking to relocate our families to the East Coast. As we got to know each other on our cross country trek, she has been an inspiration. Her confidence and advocacy for the normalization of plus sized bodies has helped me with my confidence. I’m so proud of her for sharing her story in this book. I urge you to get yourself a copy. I sure did!

This book is a collection of intimate stories on what it’s like to be “BIG”. It’s heartbreaking, and heartwarming, and as a big girl, it’s completely relatable. The words on these pages scream the thoughts, emotions, and experiences of my own life.

It's all about "Pop culture stereotypes, shopping frustrations, fat jokes and misconceptions about health are all ways society systemically rejects large bodies. BIG is a collection of personal and intimate experiences of plus-sized women, non-binary and trans people in a society obsessed with thinness. Revealing insights that are both funny and traumatic, surprising and challenging, familiar and unexpected, 26 writers explore themes as diverse as self perception, body image, fashion, fat activism, food, sexuality, diet culture, motherhood and more. These stories offer a closer look at what it means to navigate a world designed to fit bodies of a certain size (sometimes literally) and, in turn, invite readers to ask questions about and ultimately reconsider our collective and individual obsession with women's bodies."

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