For my Niece on her 13th Birthday

My darling K,

This note will start out kind of depressing, but I promise that, as in every good piece of writing, there will be a turning.

My memories of my early life are murky, but I think I was about six years old when kids started teasing me by calling me fat. That would have been first grade. Remarkably, I wasn’t particularly fat; big-boned, my mom called me, and that was accurate. I liked to eat and was more bookish than athletic. I had a round little tummy and probably had to wear clothes from some embarrassing fashion line called “Sturdy Gurlz” or similar. But kids can be mean, and this particular group of mean girls figured out that the word FAT held a lot of power over me.  Continue reading

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