Mariaelissa Littles, a bride-to-be in Virginia Beach, Virginia, posted a gorgeous photo of the moment her fiancé, Brian Borden, proposed to her — and that's when the criticism rolled in.
The mixed-size couple encountered massive amounts of hate for daring to be in love. Littles told Revelist they received tons of negative comments about their upcoming nuptials from fat-phobic strangers:
I saw some amazing support, but unfortunately as the picture started to go viral, I started to read some pretty nasty comments about myself. Most of them coming from women, but a lot coming from men too. There were jokes, assumptions made as to why he was really with me, and downright attacks on me because of my size. Now I have a pretty thick skin, thanks to my mother who raised me to have a healthy body image, but I still have feelings and it stung a little to read such hateful things.
Now, some internet strangers are fighting back on Littles' behalf: They rallied around the couple in the name of body love and true love.
"A Fat Girls Blues," an inclusive Facebook group, posted the engagement photo to over 120,000 followers.
Immediately, fellow women of size began affirming Littles and her soon-to-be husband.
Other plus-size women shared positive words of encouragement about finding love at any size.
Mariaelissa Littles caught wind of the affirmative thread. She thanked her fellow plus-size queens for their love.
She told Revelist that she pities those who attacked her online.
"For those who criticized me, honestly I just pity them," Littles said. "It takes a broken person to want to publicly humiliate another."
Littles is particularly stunned by the response because many don't know what she and her fiancé have endured.
She had a miscarriage in March, which caused her to gain 40 pounds.
"I gained a lot of weight afterwards because I was angry. I was angry that my body had failed me, and I did not care about being 'healthy' any longer," she said. "Brian was there to love me through all of it!! He never treated me as if I didn't just gain almost 40 pounds in a matter of months! He paraded me around like I was the most beautiful woman there was."
Now though, Littles is on a journey to become healthier — and get ready for the amazing wedding that's sure to come:
My size does not dictate my happiness, it never has and it never will. I attracted my fiancé partly because of the confidence I have in myself. I do not apologize for my size and I know it's hard for many to believe this but I actually like the way I look!! Even more, my fit, beautiful man loves the way I look too. So we will continue to live our lives the way we have been, plan our beautiful wedding and continue to teach our children to never be the person who hides behind a keyboard to attack another.
Other plus-size brides have faced similar hate online. Ghanaian bride Mzznaki Tetteh dealt with cruel vitriol in June when she posted her engagement photos on Instagram.
However, as Littles wrote in her Facebook comment, love always conquers all the fat-shaming.
This story has been updated with comment from Mariaelissa Littles.