For the first episode of our first-ever podcast, there was only one possible guest we had in mind: Roxane Gay. Her powerful and devastatingly honest essay “What Fullness Is” is one of the most read stories on Medium this year. In the piece, Roxane discloses her decision to undergo bariatric surgery — from the moment in the car when she made up her mind, to the painfully awkward moment with the nurse post-surgery, to her fears about how her fans might respond. It’s the type of story that stays with you for months: “I was an unruly body for him to fix, nothing less, nothing more,” she writes.

In this episode, Roxane performs the essay (2:06), along with music and sound design, and then chats with host Kara Brown (27:52) about why she published the essay, telling her family about her decision, why she believes all insurance companies should need to cover weight loss surgeries, the recent magazine she published with Medium, and the difference between trolls on Twitter vs. real life. (View the show credits.)

Press play at the top of this page to listen to the episode — or listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts, or your podcast app of choice.

Ten Questions with Roxane

At what time of day do you do your best writing?
Late at night, generally between 10 pm and 2 am

Where do you do your best writing?
At home, on my couch, while watching Law & Order SVU

What’s the most underused word in the English language?

What’s your favorite word in the English language? 

Photo by Jay Grabiec

Most overrated aspect of summer?
The beach

What reality show do you think you’d make the best host of?
Vanderpump Rules

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?
Sunburn by Laura Lippman

What song do you have on repeat?
Hold Up” by Beyoncé

Who is winning 2018 right now?
The devil

Would Black Panther and Batgirl work well as a superhero team?
Yes, they would. Batgirl is very smart and resourceful, and Black Panther sees women as equals and takes their counsel seriously.