I am so freaking amazing!

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Illustration by Andrea Vollgas, @vollgasstudio

Story by @lilly_lametta_ (she/her)

Content warning: Mental health (depression, suicidal thoughts, self-harm behaviour), sexual abuse, bullying/body shaming, menstruation

I am Victoria and this is my body’s story.

Growing up I used to think I was wrong. My family encouraged these thoughts constantly by criticizing my weight, my shape, how I felt about things and my decisions. So, while I was totally fine, I thought I was too fat, too skinny, too stupid and never enough. I felt like a disappointment. I wanted so desperately to please everyone but I couldn’t. In school, I was bullied because of my ears, my skin and my struggle to fit in. I had trouble with puberty as much as anyone, however, my period really confused me in the beginning. There were several times when I bled through my pants and even on my chair. All this led to more name-calling and bullying. At some point, I was too scared to go to school.

My Mom was a single mom, though she shouldn’t have been. She’s an alcoholic and has a borderline disorder, which is why I am pretty much co-dependent. But that is a story for another day.

When I was twelve years old, a person I considered a friend and was four years older than me forced me to talk to boys for her. She got angry when I refused to do as she said and punished me by ignoring me when I lied about doing it. Then one evening she made me touch a guy’s intimates over and over again. I remember a wet spot forming on his pants. For months I didn’t tell anyone. When I finally did, I was no longer allowed to spend time with her.

I got my first kiss when I was seventeen. I was so drunk and almost asleep, I gave in to the kiss to avoid stress. The guy became my first boyfriend. Looking back, I was always trying to find a way out of the relationship. After three months I ended things. I was in no way ready for a romantic relationship. Until I was twenty years old I was crazily scared of boys and men. I shook uncontrollably when a guy touched me.

After graduation, I worked as an Au Pair in Iceland. I met the first man I was not afraid of. We both had sex for the first time. However, it became a long-distance relationship and ended because of the distance.

Two years ago I had a nervous breakdown. I was seriously depressed, suicidal and anxious. I admitted myself into a clinic. The doctors there put  me on meds but they did not help me deal with the underlying issues. The meds made me gain weight quickly. I became numb and even more depressed. I couldn’t leave the house or use public transportation on my own. I spent more time in another clinic. My therapy there was much more successful.

I came out as bisexual/pansexual to my father. It turned out that my worries were unfounded, he loves me nonetheless.

Then something in me changed. I began to take much more time for self- and skincare. The pride parade encouraged me to dress more like I wanted to. Sexy and feminine despite what others might say or think. On a vacation last year, I wore a bikini for the first time in ages with zero fear and so much confidence. My scars, my fat, my gorgeous big butt and boobs for everyone to see. I gained so much acceptance for myself from that.

I have a chronic illness that causes fatigue, pain and thyroidal dysfunctions. I had heart surgery at fifteen. My kneecaps are about as secure as jelly in a bowl. I’m overweight, I’m still fighting self-harming behavior. Sometimes my body feels like it’s a B-Stock item. Most days I joke about it, some days I cry about it.

I learned that I’m strong.

I survived so much. I’ve accomplished so many things. I’m more and more proud of myself instead of ashamed. I can stand up for myself. I found the courage to defend my boundaries. I also learned that it is ok not to be the strongest, the best or smartest. There were days when all I managed to do was brush my teeth and that is fine. I was so good at beating myself up for failure. Old habits are not always easy to let go of but I’m getting better at that, too. I kicked toxic people out of my life, even when they were once close friends, even if I thought I loved them. I try to let go of self-destructive personality traits. I stopped accepting people who treat me wrong because I deserve better. I’m still in therapy and might go to another clinic. I stopped talking to my mother. I’m learning to live with the fact that she never was and never will be the mom I need. Besides my father, his partner and my cousin I have my chosen family.

I work with positive affirmations and self-help literature. I keep a journal where I try to write down three things I love about myself regularly. I surround myself with people who love me and let me know that they do so.

My name is Victoria, I’m twenty-five years old. I am a socialist and a feminist with mind and body. I am queer, I am fiercely fat and I am so freaking amazing.

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