In a strange way, it feels good to know that someone else loathed cramming their body into a small high school desk every day, or that they've spent a lifetime over-apologizing for things that aren't even their fault. Hearing someone else echo our pain makes us feel less alone.
Especially for plus-size women, our experiences are often shared — but the reactions of others can vary greatly depending on what country you live in. So I asked 7 plus-size bloggers from around the world to tell me what it's like to be plus-size in their home country.
Anna Paola Spadolini, from Maracay, Venezuela, says unrealistic body ideals are out of control where she lives.
Says Spadolini, "Two or 3 years ago, fitness turned into the latest craze. Not only do we have the [pageant queens], the goddesses on TV, and blonde bombshells, but now we have the fitness gurus who tell us how we should look."
"As soon as you want to show yourself with confidence, everyone turns into a doctor," she adds. On her blog, Spadolini tries to be a body positive role model for women who rarely see themselves reflected in media.
"Loads of big girls are ashamed here," says 'Brussels Fatshion,' who keeps her real name private and is based in Brussels, Belgium.
"Instead of living their lives fully, they hide. Luckily, I'm a strong girl and [can laugh it off] but I feel for those who are hurt by this," she says.
She blogs about her style and does monthly challenges to debunk plus-size fashion myths.
Over in Brisbane, Australia, Wait Until Sunset blogger Olivia Mile says, "Australia is a country of confidence. If you look like you are supposed to run the room, you often get treated like it, too."
"That’s not to say fat prejudice isn’t there, it most definitely is, but I've never seen anyone continue being a wanker if I looked them in the face or told them to piss off.”
Mile blogs about her and her husband's style. "I’ve been the fat victim and I’ve been the fat boss, the only true difference was how I saw myself," she says.
"I received lots of comments for not dressing in an 'appropriate' way for my size ... they were not used to seeing someone who could be fashionable without having a size zero on their tags," says Mawinda.
Mawinda's blog is a mix of travel and fashion; like all of us, she's out to prove that size has nothing to do with style and looking flawless.
"In the UK I’ve seen more brands launching plus collections, people of all shapes and sizes joining the body positive movement, and more plus-size women — slowly — appearing in the media," says Chloe Elliot.
"Sadly there are still people who correlate size with worth, but with an increase in women openly celebrating their fashion, we’re more than happy to prove them wrong!" she adds.
Elliot's blog follows her everyday style and offers great plus-size lingerie inspiration and advice.
Singapore is not an easy place to be plus-size. "Being fat shamed is a very big fear here," says style blogger Aarti Olivia Dubey. "[Apart from] the few plus-size stores and bloggers here, we are ignored and not promoted out of fear of promoting unhealthiness."
"You’d never see me getting invited to fashion week here. Magazines and other fashion outlets know we exist and see our work online but they don’t want to have anything to do with us."
And finally, even in the fashion capital of America, curve blogger Beck Delude says the options are slim.
Being a plus-size woman in the USA is both challenging and exciting. Challenging because of the body shaming that lies at every turn on the internet, and because there are limited clothing options in actual brick and mortar stores," says Delude.
At the same time, the 6-foot-3 woman behind The Manfattan Project, has only happy and hopeful thoughts on the actual body positive community and movement that's happening in the US: "It’s exciting to see unconventional bodies push through to the mainstream, to see collaborations in plus-size emerge."