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How I Learned to Love My Fat, Naked Body

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While packing for a recent shoot, I started playing dress up in my new lingerie from Hips & Curves. I couldn't help but realize how much I love adorning my body with garments I used to fear. Frankly, I have always loved to be naked and lacked modesty at home, but never with a partner until my current one that is. The bigger I became, whether through having a son, trauma, etc., the thought of someone seeing my body, at what I used to consider "my worst" nearly brought me to tears.

Now I cannot imagine a life without cage bras (like the photos below taken tonight) corsets, negligees, or dare I say... bare. How did I get there, to a place of lingerie and self awareness heaven?

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(Bra from Lane Bryant, Lace Robe from Hips & Curves, Underwear from Downtown LA)

Well, it just took a little strength to try on something.. again and again. Before I knew it, after what felt like ages I looked in the mirror and realized what a disservice I was doing not only to my body, but my self worth. A ton of tears were involved, but they were necessary in the process of mentally uncovering the years of shields I had covered my body in... my emotional armor.

Even as a model, I still have a belly, cellulite, stretch marks, and thanks to nursing a son- not the perkiest boobs. However, that doesn't devalue me at all. I think if anything, it makes my body more interesting. Like my tattoos, they tell a story and I can tell you where I was or how I was feeling at that moment, similar to when I look at my body. "This scar is from when I had a C-section." "These scars are from crashing my bike on the gravel after not wearing a helmet even after my mother warned me multiple times." "My stretch marks are from puberty, and many years after," etc.

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Photos by Revecka Natalia Photography for Volup. 2 Magazine

Our bodies tell a story, and everyone's journey is different, everybody is different, unique, and exquisite. The only problem is that not everyone one respects that or comprehends that we don't have to all look like a cookie cutter or perfect picture of "health." We have so many forces around us that try and influence us otherwise. Why be our own worst enemy? Even if you don't have a partner to dress up (or take it off) for, do it for yourself. Our relationships with ourselves and our bodies are the most important ones we will ever have.

You are worthy of feeling:

SEXY
DESIRED
... AND BEAUTIFUL.

Yes... you.

Tess Munster is a plus-size model, make-up artist, blogger and activist. She writes a blog called The Plus Size Life.