In 2017, I was dumped. I’d been dumped before, but this break up hit me harder than most. For one, it came out of nowhere – one minute, me and the guy I was seeing were spending three nights a week together, hanging out with his friends and family. The next, we were over.
But more importantly, it was followed by him swiftly moving on with another woman. In my mind (as I obsessively scrolled through her Instagram feed) she was hotter, more successful, cooler and sexier than me. It was a no-brainer – he’d dumped me for someone better.
A year prior, I was a size 16. This is an average size for the Australian woman, but as we all know, the pressure to be slim, toned and a size 8 is intense, regardless of the bodies we see in real life around us. I had been so unhappy with my body, and spent the full year aggressively (and unhealthily) dieting to whittle myself down to a size 10. I’d made it by January 2017, and immediately met this guy.
Watch: Lizzo on body positivity. Post continues after video.
I think subconsciously, I’d chalked our relationship up to me finally looking “hot”. Surely this guy wouldn’t even swipe right on me if I’d been my previous size, you know? I spent our whole relationship feeling like I was lucky to have found a guy. When we split, I turned back to weight loss as a coping mechanism. I wasn’t hot enough, clearly. I needed to get skinnier, sexier. Within months, my jeans were loose on me and my sister was looking worried as I accidentally wore her size 8 denim shorts by mistake. She’d always been naturally slim, and she knew this wasn’t me reaching a healthy size – this was me in grief.
Around this time, we went on a family trip to Greece. Idyllic crystal-blue oceans, fresh seafood, and long, sunny days meant nothing to me. My head was filled with angry, hateful thoughts toward myself. I was still obsessively stalking my ex and his new girlfriend, trying to find evidence they were completely in love and hooking up five times a day.
While my ex didn’t follow me on Instagram, I found myself seeking constant validation about my body via likes and comments from others. I kept posting photos of my new figure in bikinis and little playsuits, revelling in the fire emojis and double-digit likes. Instead of enjoying sunsets, I was refreshing my posts and trawling them for interactions from men I’d once dated.