Hey, you.

How’s it hanging back there? Is the weather all right? Have you fallen victim to any wandering eyes recently? Who am I kidding, of course you have. I have felt many a strange glance searing in your direction as of late (read: cuffing season, and the like).

I am not here to mock your unusual width, nor your circumference. I have no desire to poke fun at your stretch marks, hard-earned by a body that I am still learning to love. No, my dear friend and favored appendage, I am writing to you today to say thank you.

You have granted me the gift of resilience, both physical and mental. I have always given you the respect and care you deserve and have subsequently become known as the squat queen at my local CrossFit gym. Not even the longest of wall sits can conquer your prowess. On the emotional side of the spectrum, your has taught me to turn the other cheek (this was not intended to become a pun, but now that it is one, I’m running with it) in uncomfortable situations. For better or worse, you have given me no choice but to learn to walk calmly past every catcaller, to hop through whatever means of public transit in order to shield you from a drunken stranger’s grip. No one should have to face such encounters, let alone dodge them on a regular basis, but this world’s inhabitants are far from perfect. While I have trained you to endure temporary bodily pain, you have trained me to use the faults of those around me as a means of growing stronger.

Thank you for assisting me in my romantic ventures. I know that sounds crazy — well, it would if you had ears — but hear me out. Silly as it may sound, you have served as an excellent means of experimentation in the world of teenage love affairs. Thanks to you, separating the good boys from the bad has become mere child’s play. If my date still calls me beautiful when I cover you with a loosely fitted skirt, I will likely hold him in better standing than someone who only gives me the time of day when I’m on my way back from yoga. You have forced me to search for a significant other who sees in me all that I see in myself, as opposed to just the back of me. In turn, your prominence has provoked months of self-searching, during which time I have realized you are not the only part of me worth appreciating.

To that end, you have shown me that the best things in life are not consequences of my outward appearance, and for that I am eternally grateful. Your ever-present volume has granted me only a slew of short-lived football-player flings, none of which will ever compare to the joys brought about by my own abilities. I am more proud of my writing, my athletic feats, and my academic achievements than I am of your chance appearance in my life. You have convinced me that no amount of hollow compliments will guarantee me a sense of self-worth; rather, confidence is a trait I must fight to acquire on my own.

It has taken all of my adolescence to come to terms with you. You have made every pair of skinny jeans a conquest, every bar stool an unreliable failure. Yet you have taught me not to sell myself short, that Tess Garcia is more than just “the girl with the big situation back there.” She is bold, she is smart and she is powerful in both body and mind. No derogatory slur will tarnish my confidence, nor will any shallow compliment inflate it.Your full-figured being is a consistent reminder of all that I need to push myself through everyday life. The best part? You are literally just a butt. I don’t know when my backside took a front seat in my life, but I sure am glad it did.

With love, gratitude, and absolutely no shame,


P.S. — About the football player who told you you were small … let’s forget about him.

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