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The fear of traveling in my body made the world seem small, until I did it anyway

Rear view of a fat Black woman sitting on a towel on the beach, watching the ocean.
Rear view of a fat Black woman sitting on a towel on the beach, watching the ocean.
Photo: MesquitaFMS/iStock/Getty Images Plus

I’m a workaholic. Until recently, I had never taken a vacation as an adult. During graduate school and the first few years of teaching, I couldn’t afford a vacation. I had no one to go on a vacation with. And then it seemed like an unnecessary extravagance when there was so much work to do. Those were mostly excuses though, because when I could afford a vacation, I still did nothing. I was fat, I told myself, I couldn’t possibly travel abroad and see the world in any meaningful way.

At my heaviest weight, my loneliest truth was that as my body expanded, my world contracted. I longed to travel but knew I would be painfully limited in where I could go and what I might do when I got there. But then, I had weight loss surgery and as my body has contracted, my world has expanded. …

About

Roxane Gay

I write. I want a tiny baby elephant. If you clap, I clap back. Books.: Ayiti, Untamed State, Bad Feminist. Difficult Women, World of Wakanda 1–5, Hunger.

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