I hate the word fat. I know there’s a whole movement of women who look like me reclaiming the word and wearing the label with some sense of pride, but I hate it. My whole life I have been the fat kid, the fat girl, the fat friend. Sometimes in my interactions with people I still wait for them to say it. I wonder if they are thinking it. I’m much better now than I used to be, but it’s hard to shake.
The past two years have brought about many changes for me as a woman, as a person. I quit a job I thought I’d have forever, I left a man I thought I’d love forever. I spread my wings and took off to places I never thought I’d go, and I’ll be damned if I’m not doing it again right now. Growth never stops, even when sometimes, we want it to.
Everything has changed. From the people I choose to spend my time with, to the way I parent my children, to the way I speak to strangers. You can see it in me. I have not gained or lost a pound since my divorce, but I have become softer. I have become more beautiful. I have learned that this fat friend is so much more than just a fat friend; she is love.
My work in fashion has led me to hold the belief that it is our obligation to each other as human beings to help every person tap into the love we hold within us, and to help each other let go of fear. I’ve done it through styling and through clothing, yes, but it’s more than styling and clothing. It’s about belief. It’s about seeing the love and the beauty inside other people and coaxing it all the way out until they see it for themselves.
I was in fourth grade the first time I went on a diet. The first time I thought if I could just be thinner than somehow my life would be better. I have cried in a hundred Weight Watcher meetings. I have criticized and self-loathed and told myself again and again that there’s no way a woman who looks like me could ever be loved, could ever be successful, could ever be happy. It’s really why I ended up where I ended up: trapped. Because I was sure I didn’t deserve any better. Because of the fear. Because no one loves the fat girl.
And then I tapped in. Somehow, by the grace of God, I tapped in. I started seeing the love, bit by bit at first. It was terrifying. And it was so good. And there were people. There were lots of people who coaxed it out of me. Who said, "Do you know Heather Frick?" because they thought I was worth knowing. They looked at me and they did not see a fat friend; they saw my softness, they saw my beauty, they saw my love. And I got brave enough to thaw out. I got brave enough to become soft. I got brave enough to be beautiful.
True beauty is not about size. True beauty is not about carbs and calories. True beauty is about letting go of fear. I still pick myself apart and criticize from time to time but there’s a difference now. My body is soft and real and imperfect and sexy. My body is truth and light. I’ll probably never stop wondering if you’d describe me as fat, but let’s all do ourselves a favor and reach a point where the soft and the real and the truth and the light become more important than that. Let go of the fear. You are love. Be brave enough to be beautiful.
Special thanks to my amazing new friend Jeanie Hanson-Lapenna of Sweet Jean Photography who took these lovely photos of me. Jeanie has the gift of seeing the truth and the beauty in people, and she coaxes it out through the lens of her camera. Connect with her on Instagram here and visit her website at www.sweetjeanphotography.com to book your own boudoir session at her gorgeous Bloom Collective space in Roseville, CA. Love you Jeanie!