Discussion of news topics with a point of view, including narratives by individuals regarding their own experiences

As a fat person, there are certain experiences in life that stand out to remind you that “the world wasn’t built for you.” Sometimes it’s realizing a store doesn’t carry clothing in your size, or that your hips won’t fit in an airplane seat. For Ann Grauer, it was being denied service at a spa.

When I read the Chicago Tribune’s story on Grauer’s experience, my cheeks grew hotter with every paragraph. The embarrassment, shame, anger and sadness that Grauer must have felt radiated out of me as I realized that her situation is the exact reason I’ve never visited a spa. I was afraid of what they would say about my body.

Fatphobia teaches fat people that there’s so much we can’t do — not because we’re not physically able to, but because we don’t deserve to. That we’re not the clientele they cater to. That it’s not for us. When the world tells you don’t deserve something over and over and over, you believe it.

It’s why I had never received a massage until a couple of months ago (and even that was by a trusted friend in her private studio). It’s why I have never sat in a sauna. I was even too afraid to take a fancy, candlelit bath in my own home until recently, and only at the encouragement of my lovely roommate.

But I’m exhausted. I’m stressed and burnt out, just like everyone else, and I deserve to be pampered, just like everyone else.

I have a lifetime of luxury to make up for, and I’m going to fight for it — bath bombs and hot towels in hand.

Advice on what to give during holiday food drives, from someone who used to be on the receiving end

When I was in middle school and high school, my mother and I needed food donations

I spent years wearing tight dresses to pass as straight. Here’s what it took for me to be okay with my identity.

I was raised in a conservative area with no space for gender expression

Libraries have always been a sanctuary for me. Here are 9 reasons I love them so much.

Here’s one reason: Librarians, with their infinite knowledge, sometimes feel magical