When I was younger, I loved being called a tomboy. I’m pretty sure I had a six-pack in 4th grade. I played sports constantly and my body was always in shape. I felt like I could eat anything and not gain a pound, because for a while, my metabolism allowed me the ability to do so. So I ate terribly and fluctuated gracefully between 110 and 115 pounds for all of high school and throughout my first two years of college. I loved it. My friends looked at me with puppy dog eyes as I sauntered around in a sports bra and underwear while they hunkered down in their over sized t-shirts and Snuggies. I felt invincible. I felt model-esque. I felt in short, amazing.

I would never make them feel bad because of their eating habits just because I happened to have the metabolism of a fucking race horse. I joined them in ordering Chinese food, eating left-over pizza and baking cakes. I ate just as much as they did, but my body never seemed to change. They gawked and I just shrugged my shoulders, never realizing how good I had it.

Soon though, the inevitable happened. I hit my peak weight recently at 120 pounds. (Note: I am in no way, shape, or form saying that 120 pounds is fat, but I’m 5’1” and I have never been anywhere near 120 pounds so it was a big deal for me, okay?) I have an incredibly loving boyfriend, who was probably the cause of my weight gain. But for arguments sake, we’ll say it was my fault, even though his stomach is somewhat of a Sarlacc Pit when it comes to junk food. The introduction of a ridiculously healthy relationship into my life and sitting around eating in bed was new, but the unhealthy diet of fruit snacks and frosting covered sugar cookies was not. Softball season had ended and most of my time was now spent eating junk food and laying around naked. The most exercise I got was well, you know. I’ll leave that to your imagination in case my mother decides to read this (HI MOM!)

Suddenly, every so often, I found myself looking in the mirror, pinching my skin, and scrunching my face at the faded tone of my now slightly soft stomach. I have never hated my body before then. Not once had the thought that I looked ugly naked crossed my mind. Okay, maybe sometimes, but I was probably just being a baby. And I realized that gaining weight was no reason to suddenly start disliking it.

So I decided that even with the weight, gain, I still love my body. I love my muscular legs from years of soccer and softball, to the crease of my butt cheeks on my upper thigh that my boyfriend loves, to the few pounds I gained while not caring about what I looked like and enjoying the experience of eating in bed with someone I care about.

And all girls should love their bodies, and allow the person they’re with to love it as well. Love every gained or lost pound, every stretch mark and scar, every awkward dark hair on your chin and hangnail. My beau doesn’t judge me for wanting to eat as much shitty food as my stomach can handle, and will not hesitate to tell me how beautiful I look with Oreo residue between my teeth. Yeah, so maybe my ass has gotten a bit rounder, and my thighs a bit meatier, but he will never say that it’s a bad thing. He has helped me realize that regardless of whatever the number below me feet reads on the scale I now religiously stand on after a shower, that I am beautiful.

No, I don’t have my ideal body type right now (being 5’10 and 100 pounds would be pretty nice) but that’s neither here nor there. I do have a brain, and a pretty nice one at that. It may have taken me a little while to convince my brain that I always look good, but I can now proudly say that I love my body and I will love it 10 pounds heavier or 25 pounds lighter. And by the way, I still look great in a sports bra.