Back in November, I had an amazing opportunity to be photographed once again for the lovely photographer Bruna Lacerda’s #ichoosemeproject. The difference this time was that I wasn’t the only one in front of her lens. I was among other full figured bloggers, models, and artists who each believed in the power of self-esteem without any fear. 
I take you back to November because it was in that moment, among those beautiful women, that the weight of allowing many things to negatively affect my self-esteem became too heavy to bare. I knew I had to fight for myself even if it meant standing by myself. I had to let go of unhealthy relationships, create boundaries for myself (again), and put my overall health back on the priority list. Now I’m not saying I completed all of these things magically over night. I did some self-reflection, acknowledged what was affecting me, and began to rid myself of those things…and I am still doing so.

At first I felt selfish, but if there is one thing that New York City continues to teach me is that my personal health is far more important than anything else. When I say “health” I’m referring to my emotional, mental, and physical health. Like Bruna said, “There is nothing wrong in choosing ourselves and loving ourselves first so we can be confident enough to help others to love themselves too.”

portrait, plus size model,
Bodysuit: Ashley Stewart
I invite you on my journey of choosing and loving myself first and I challenge you to do the same. It is not selfish…you’ll be able to love others more by loving yourself first. Here  I will be nothing but honest, and sometimes vulnerable, but always authentically me. 
Besitos,
 Melizza
 

**All the portraits above were taken by the lovely Bruna Lacerda. To learn more about Bruna’s mission click here: #ichoosemeproject