I remember it clearly. I was 10 years old. My family and I were on our first vacation at Disney World, and we were going to a "Pirate and Princess Party." We didn't know that it was a costume party but no problem -- my mom said she'd take me to get a princess dress. We headed off in the land of princesses to get me a gown. Except, they didn't have one for me.
I was in the beginning stages of thyroid and Lyme disease. My illnesses and medication caused my weight to skyrocket. We searched and searched for a princess dress, but we couldn't find one. I was way too big for the kids costumes and the adult costumes wouldn't work for me.
I heard my mom asking the lady at the shop for something, anything for me, and she said, "I'm sorry, she's too big for the costumes we have here." But all I heard was: "She's too fat to be a princess."
I cried. I cried because I was too fat to be a princess. All the princesses I idolized looked alike. They were all tiny and perfect. I felt so sad because I thought I could never be like them. I was only 10 years old, and I was heartbroken because I thought I would never be good enough, pretty enough or skinny enough to be the person, the princess that I wanted to be. I could never be a princess.
I just turned 16, and instead of a big party I asked for a family trip. I chose to go to Disney World. Our trip is right in the middle of Halloween, and I knew I could wear a costume. This time going in, I felt better about myself. I'm happy. I know I don't have to look a certain way to be who I want to be. My mom, her best friend Jane and I came up with an idea. It's still hard to find a princess gown in my size, but we decided to make our own. My mom bought some curtains from a thrift shop and she and Jane came up with a perfect gown. A magical princess dress to prove to my 10-year-old self that I am a princess, and I don't have to look a certain way to be one.
I've learned that no matter your shape, size or what you look like you can be a princess. You can be whatever you want to be.
A princess isn't a size, it's a state of mind. It's loving yourself no matter what. It's how to see yourself inside. It's becoming your own princess and not buying into stereotypes. It's making your own magic!
In that gown, swishing through an amazing land of castles, princes, princesses and magic, I knew without a doubt, I was -- I am a princess. Then again, I always was one. (My grandma told me so). I just had to realize it.
I was a princess all along.