I’m tired.

I’m tired of the circles we run in every time we read some high-profile story about a fat person choosing to get weight loss surgery rather than cope with the social pressures of being fat anymore. Even for those folks who credit health reasons for their decision — The Choice That Must Be Defended — it is important to recognize that health and our understanding of health do not exist outside of cultural fat hatred. If they did, I’d have dealt with a lot less fat bias with doctors over the course of my entire freaking lifetime.

But…

In my earliest memories I am already fat. There is no before.

My very first self-concepts are all grounded in my size, which is always larger than my peers’. For a time, I think being bigger is a good thing. But this changes. Even in the years from roughly age 8 through age 19 — in which most of my attention and focus is not spent on ordinary, normal coming-of-age experiences, but is instead primarily invested in dieting, always dieting, always trying to lose the weight, so my life can finally begin and all those experiences will then become available…

If you walk into the public entrance of the Library of Congress in Washington DC expecting to gain access to the Main Reading Room, you will be sadly disappointed. The main entrance is for tourists and exhibits, and if you just want to sit and write in the reading room assisted by free federal wifi, you first need to create the universe — or at least go to an altogether different building to get a card, a Library-of-Congress Card, with your photo and signature like a driver’s license, but for books.

The nice woman at the information desk will explain…

There is an ad going around the internet; you may have seen it. If not, part of me wants to be all “just watch it!” and not spoil anyone but also part of me wants to be all “content note for implied violence!”

I’ll put my own lengthy take below so you can watch it first without spoilers if you want.

ALL RIGHT. So the deal is that you’re supposed to watch this video and see a cute boy trying to figure out who is flirting with him via notes in the library. …

A few weeks ago, I wrote a hot take on the pilot episode of NBC’s big fall family drama, This is Us. There’s a lot to say about this series, but I wanted to focus on Kate’s storyline, because Kate is fat. Not like size-16 fat, but fat-fat. Fat like me. This is a big deal! Literally as well as figuratively. Because I don’t see women who are fat like me on television very often. So I had an investment here, a personal one; every time a fat-like-me woman appears on television, I feel a degree of… entitlement? Definitely anxiety…

I’ll forgive you if you’ve somehow managed to remain unaware of This is Us, NBC’s high-expectation fall dramedy. I almost overlooked it myself, but TV shows with fat women in them have a way of finding me.

The series’ premise is that it follows the lives of four people born on the same day — seemingly distinct strangers, and it works very hard to obscure their connection to reveal it as a twist at the end of the pilot. But I’m not going to review the whole show here. I only want to focus on a piece of it, the…

Hail to thee, Camp Victory

When Huge first appeared on my radar in 2010, I was still a blogger writing about fat activism while working an impossibly boring office day job. The series didn’t sound promising — the YA book providing the source material was panned as terrible and fat-hating by all the smart folks I knew who’d read it, and the first promotional image, featuring a sad-looking Nikki Blonsky standing apprehensively in a blue swimsuit, didn’t inspire a lot of confidence. I mean, to start with, it’s set over a summer at a weight-loss camp. This is hardly a good sign. …

I’ve maybe never gotten writing retreats completely right. In collaboration with my dear friend, colleague, and occasional internet doppelgänger Marianne Kirby, I have tried more than once, but the writing has usually been somewhat less forthcoming than the local explorations, and the expansive and deliberate meals, the antique shops and the needless yarn purchases to add to the stack of needless yarn I keep in expectation of so much leisurely crocheting time in my declining years. We do get some writing done. …

Recently I read an essay by an extremely lovely average-sized woman in response to being weight-shamed by a stranger on the internet. I’m not calling out this essay or author in particular, as this isn’t about her (I think she is pretty great) or even the essay itself. It’s a common subject that has been tackled with varying success by lots of women for awhile now, many of them famous, even, from Jennifer Lawrence to Amy Schumer. And the overwhelmingly supportive response is common to certain women who write with valid and justifiable rage on this subject.

It’s not the…

I looked into floating locally after reading an article about it as a potential treatment for PTSD. I don’t have PTSD myself, to be clear, only a standard form of decades-long anxiety that I am sometimes good at managing and sometimes not. The science of whether floating in a dark, soundproofed tank filled with ten or so inches of heavily salinated water can help manage anxiety or PTSD is still mostly anecdotal, although as a trend it’s been catching on over the past few years. And apparently some creative people credit it with making them more creative.

But to me…

Lesley Kinzel

Writer, recovering editor, and mouthy fat broad. Usually sipping tea. Actual tea.

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