"Being a woman in this day an age has proved to be a constant struggle. As a woman who has been purely sexualized and used multiple times due to her size and shape, I have a few thoughts. I am a plus size woman. I have PCOS, or poly cystic ovary syndrome; a hormonal disease that causes enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges. This condition makes gaining weight easy and losing weight hard. However, the places that much of the weight has gathered are my breasts, hips, and my butt. This, paired with my naive mind has warranted “relationships” where I’ve been used, being stared at as a young (14 years old) girl, an experience on the streets of NYC that I’ll never forget, and looks from my male friends that make me uncomfortable. My current boyfriend, who I love and adore, tells me I should be confident because my body is curvy and beautiful, yet I buy clothes that are too big, and use them to hide my insecurities and the things that have gotten me in trouble. Sometimes, I believe it’s my fault for the things that have happened; desperate to feel validated by some boy who wanted my body and not me and because of this, I used to feel (and to an extent still do sometimes) that my personality comes after my body. It takes time to find yourself beautiful, inside and out. It’s something that will take me my entire lifetime. When I didn’t feel beautiful, it was so easy to let a man tell me so I could feel validated, but in return he could use me. As a girl who deals with mental illness, body issues, and a severe lack of confidence, I used to let people hurt me and sexualize me. They broke me down, and sometimes I feel like I will never be the same, but change is good. I am seventeen, and I will build myself back up. There is more to me than the shape of my body; I am not an object, and I will never acknowledge those who treat me like one again. Self love will come, but it will not come from the men who tell me I am beautiful through my tears during disgusting forced interaction; it will come from me."