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No Support System

Hi Radiance

I haven't been big all of my life. There were several years when I was perhaps the thinnest girl I knew. I just found your magazine, and it inspired me to feel better about myself, so I would like to tell you my story. 

When I was almost 8 years old, I had open heart surgery. After that I was never the same. It turned me chubby almost over night, and even though I thought I was extremely overweight at the time, I was not. It was all about what the other kids were telling me, and my inability to control my plummeting self esteem. What no one ever understood, was that my weight gain was not my fault. The surgery put me out of physical commission for five years. 

It wasn't all bad. I became a cheerleader and basketball player in middle school, but nothing could repair the damage that was being done to my self-esteem. I was the fat cheerleader, not the conventional one. Looking back on pictures, now, I really wasn't that big, it was all the way people were making me feel. 

I grew a little more every year, since seventh grade, and I am now a senior in high school, about to graduate at 5'7", and 190 pounds. I hold my weight pretty well, I am told, and I have a pretty face, but things aren't the same. People look down on you for being overweight, even if it was never your fault. They think you're lazy or eat a lot, but the truth is, I have a friend who is less than 120 pounds, and 5'6", and she eats more than I do. 

Somehow I have managed to make it through high school, but it was a tough battle laced with thoughts of suicide and depression. I have had one serious boyfriend, but he always put me down, too. I have overcome so much, with no support system. 

I used to walk into my grammas house everyday and she'd tell me how fat I was. That can't be good. It had a damaging effect, like many more things in my life, but somehow I have made it through. 

Being a plus-size girl makes you afraid to try many things. I failed dance because I wouldn't try out for any songs in front of everyone, because I thought they would make fun of my fat giggling. That shouldn't be the way it is. People should respect all people, no matter what size, age, sex, religion, or race. 

My point is, there is too much hate in the world, and I have overcome so much of it. I see people doing this to people and I get mad, but I don't know what to do. They don't understand that sometimes it's not that person's fault, and they could be damaging them for life. 

I am not completely through my journey. I still have issues, depression, and no self-esteem, but I am hoping things will improve as they have been. I will let you know, I am not out of the woods, either. I still get teased, or I hear about it behind my back. I even have people hate me for no reason. A while back my plan was to drown myself in the pool after prom because I don't have a date. I no longer want to do that, because I realize I am a very talented person, and an accomplished musician, but that doesn't change how I felt. 

I am sorry to make this so long, but it really bothers me that people are so uneducated and biased, and its' all because they are uneducated about other people and their feelings. They look for the perfect girls, and not the nice ones. And the girls look for the other thin girls most of the time. It just isn't fair. Life isn't fair.

-Victoria Ann Robison

Hurting and Hopeful

Hi there, 

I would just like to say I LOVE your web site. I am a very large girl myself . When I was in grade school I was always being made fun of and I have not forgotten the comments nor the people who made them. Now I am a senior in high school and it is not as bad for me. Thanks to those people, though, I have low self-esteem, so I am very thankful for this web page.

- phbear3@aol.com

Comfortable Nude 

Hi Alice,

Your magazine has helped me so much. 

The article "Jody's Body" in the Summer 2000 issue was incredibly comforting to me. The pictures of this woman, whose body is almost exactly like mine, and the way that she was so COMFORTABLE in that body, really went a long way toward getting rid of some of my body-shame.

On days when I'm starting to feel fat and ugly, I'll actually go back and look at those pictures again, and it's amazing how much better I feel. 

The descriptions of Ms. Carlin's experiences in doing this play, and her way of making OTHER people feel comfortable with her body and with her being nude, help me to believe that it really is possible to get to a point of comfort with MY body. I'm not there yet, but this article and many others in Radiance are helping!

Thank you for all that you do to keep this magazine as wonderful as it is!


Ready to Revolt!

HI Radiance

I am so glad to have discovered your magazine! I love it because it represents what we all want most in life -- total acceptance with no strings attached! I have grown weary of trying to conform to a societal image of what I'm "supposed" to look like! It's hard to choose to accept your body size when all your friends are trapped in the "I've got to lose weight" syndrome. I'm starting to revolt! I choose to accept myself as I am and am excited to find support through new sources such as this magazine! THANKS! 

-S Ziegler

I'm Fourteen and a BBW!

HI Radiance,

I read some stories at your web site and can totally relate. I'm 14 years old, 5'8" and weigh 256 lbs. I also have been laughed at and made fun of since I was little. I have always wanted to be a plus-size model so that I could show everyone that big is "beautiful". I was wondering if you had any info. on getting started? If not that's ok!!! Your magazine was uplifting and was a joy to read!! God bless.

Love, Susan

Divine Intervention!

Hi Radiance,

This morning I felt like the lowest form of creature on this earth because of my weight. I was dumped last night, once the blind date from the night before saw how "fat" I was (this is someone I had spoken to over the phone nightly for weeks, who was extolling how wonderful he thought I was, and how my few "extra pounds" wouldn't matter). I was beginning to think, yet again, that the only way to find love is to starve myself down to a size 4. 

Somehow, this morning upon arrival to work, I stumbled on this magazine, and when I started to look through it, it was as though divine intervention had shone through, and I don't feel so "ugly" anymore. Thank you for brightening my day.

- susan_granger@hotmail.com

Girls Like Me

Hi Radiance,

I am a sixteen year old plus size female. It has taken me years to be comfortable with my weight. I am just recently realizing that your whole life does not have to be all about appearance! I have found happiness in other things. And I would like to say that it is very refreshing to hear stories of other girls like myself. Keep up the good work! 

- Amanda

Feeling More Confident

Alice and company:

Just a quick note on how my wife (and I) love your magazine and it's focus. Mary has always been concerned with her image and size (she's a 24/26 at 40ish). Your magazine has made her feel more confident and willing to live life to the fullest. It all started about 6 years ago with Mode magazine and then a year later yours came to the forefront since Mode is a fashion magazine, but doesn't have enough large sized models - I suppose it wouldn't sell if they were all 20+ models. 

Mary has come to grips with doctors saying - lose weight!! by saying, accept me as I am. Just like any other story, her weight has yoyo'd 30-50 pounds - but I love her curves and body the way it is - with or without clothes!

Milton, Ontario Canada

Will Not Compromise Myself

Hi Alice,

I was going through some of the back issues reading articles tonight. I recently found out about Radiance and subscribed right away. I have only received two issue and am waiting for my 2001 issue. I read through the interview with Carnie Wilson in one of the back issues and how she was all for fat acceptance, being proud of who she was.. . . what a difference now, since she underwent weight loss surgery to try to be the image that Hollywood or society or whomever has told her she "must" be. 

My friend told me the other day that we have to get off our duffs, start eating "right" and exercising so we can find men. We are both single, having gone through a bad breakup on her part, and a bad divorce on mine. I asked her why she felt we had to change who we are to "FIND A MAN." I told her that I had no intention of compromising myself - that my size is a part of who I am and if that isn't good enough for some man, then too bad for him. He would be missing out on a great deal of fun, sex, romance, and general good times if he thought I was too fat to have as a girlfriend, lover, and pal.

I just want to thank you for being such an empowering voice in the wilderness. So many women of size are lost and I will do all I can to help them rescue themselves by telling them about your magazine and web site. I do have a plus- size teen daughter. She laments the lack of "teen-style" plus clothing, and any references you have would be helpful. We have found gfla.com, which does have good teen clothing in a myriad of sizes, so would ask that you pass that on to any plus teens who also cry out for clothes.


Not My Problem

HI Alice, 

I am a large woman. I have recently been sent to counseling for an eating disorder. I went because the doctor told me to and I assumed, like I'd always been told, that there must be something REALLY wrong with me if I had to be sent for "treatment" and counseling.

One of the first questions that was asked me, after the crying and fear and trauma, was - when did you first start having a problem with your weight.

I thought about this for a good bit and my answer amazed the counselor and myself. I said, "I don't have a problem with it, other people do."

That was the most enlightening statement I ever made. It has opened up a whole new world for me and my counselor has been searching for ways to help me "fit in" and clear my mind of the 43 years of garbage that has been dumped into it by anybody and everybody that thought they had a right to pass judgment on me.

Today she suggested a book to read Live Large! and told me to access your web site to see that there are people just like me that I can communicate with that feel the same way.

Thank you very much for having this web site and helping me and anybody else that may need companionship take the first healing step to saying - I really am just fine the way I am - get over it!

-Very sincerely yours,

Building Up Our Girls 

Hi Radiance

I am a 16-year-old girl in an ordinary high school, and I was astonished when I read the articles at your web site! I am not very big- I'm 5'1" and a size 5- but I struggled with weight issues for a long time. I eventually developed a new type of eating disorder, Exercising Bulimia, which means that I was mostly anorexic but exercised off what little I did eat. I'm not sick anymore, but I still struggle with accepting my body. 

This might sound insane, but if the people in my world had told me the same things your web site does, I don't think I would've gone through all that. I was ashamed that I'm a size 5! I'm sure that sounds ridiculous to you. But I would just like to tell you that what you tell teenage girls does have an impact on them. Please spread your message everywhere! 

My life would have been so much happier for almost a whole year if I had only known about Radiance. Eating disorders cause so much pain to girls and their families, and they destroy lives;. You can help prevent girls from coming down with them. Keep telling everyone! You do make a difference. There needs to be somebody in the media that's actually building up girls and not telling them they have to be bean poles. Keep up the good work! :-)


Moved to Dance

Hi, Alice,

My mom and I have been reading your magazine for a couple of years now, so I figured it was about time that we subscribed! I have always loved that your magazine is one of substance. I love reading all your articles and seeing other large women doing what they love to do.

I was amazed at how quickly my Internet order was filled. Within two days, your magazine arrived at my house! Kudos to you for that! I have never seen any Internet orders done that quickly.

And I was incredibly pleased that one of that issue’s themes was dance! I have loved to dance since I was young. It was wonderful to see other large women enjoying and participating in dance. I was a little disappointed that you didn’t have anything on ballroom dancing. I have been doing ballroom for over two years now, and really enjoy it. I would encourage everyone to go to a local ballroom studio and take a class. It’s a lot of fun and great exercise! Keep up the great work!

Santa Clara, CA

Caring for Kids

Dear Radiance,

I think your Kids Project is outstanding! It’s about time someone addressed this issue. I grew up fat and got ridiculed the whole time I was in school, until I finally dropped out in my freshman year. Now I have two daughters of my own who are big and beautiful. I’ve decided to home-school them for many reasons. We go swimming all the time, and they take extracurricular classes that keep them plenty busy.

My youngest daughter, seven, has begun to worry about her weight recently. I’m going to begin reading articles from your Kids Project to them for our morning curriculum. I’m sure this will prove to be an inspiration!


Summer Sizzled!

Dear Radiance,

The Summer 2000 Radiance—best cover model ever! She’s sooo real and she’s really fat and she is reeeallly cute. Pic of her inside not hiding, but showing her “stuff” is great too. She epitomizes what the fat acceptance movement is about for me. She’s what I would like to believe I look like at my best. More, more, more, more, more.

Joyce, sculptor-artist and fan of Radiance

Dear Alice,

Thank you for continuing to boldly put fat women on the cover of your magazine. The young woman in her bathing suit was particularly striking as her body was so visible. And such a lovely body it is.

You have been so faithful to us as a community with your consistent message that we are fine just as we are and that we are worthwhile human beings with the right to expect joyous lives.

Many times Radiance has reminded me to love myself, to be gentle with myself, and to be honest with myself. Thank you for being such a positive influence all of these years.

Sherrin Loyd

Dear Alice,

I discovered my first issue of Radiance just in the nick of time. I was about to take a family vacation to a beach spot, and two members of my family are dieting fat-haters who often end up making me terribly uncomfortable with their comments. You did a brilliant job of helping me survive! After reading my first issue of Radiance, I knew exactly how: with a stack of Rad mags by my side to inspire me, remind me to love and care for myself, and perhaps even teach me how to respond to obnoxious comments. Not only did you send my rush order of magazines in time, but you offered sage advice via e-mail about both serious and lighthearted responses to negative comments. I printed out your e-mails and took them with me on vacation, along with the magazines and my bathing suit.

Although my family members engaged in the usual incessant weight/diet chatter, this time I had skills to deal with it. The magazines also kept me busy and focused on loving my body rather than buying into the thinness craze. I found myself enjoying the beach! I was able to respond with humor when my sister-in-law talked at every meal about how many calories were in her nonfat yogurt and how she had to go to the gym to “work off lunch.” I was also able to talk to my “ally” family members about the behavior of the thin-obsessed ones and found some solidarity there.

Thank you so much, Radiance and Alice, for your inspiration, advice, and support!

Marci Riseman
San Francisco

Dear Everyone at Radiance,

I discovered Radiance on the shelf at Barnes and Noble about seven or eight years ago. I’ve been buying Radiance there ever since, but the few copies available sell out very quickly, and sometimes I don’t get there in time. Now I’m subscribing so that I’ll never miss another issue!

Thank you a thousand times over for putting together such a wonderful magazine. Radiance is so refreshingly, fantastically different from other “women’s magazines” in so many more ways than its attitude toward body size. Other size-positive mags like BBW and Mode still have a role to play, as they are the first place many women encounter any alternative to the hate-and-starve-yourself message of mainstream culture, but ultimately they are cut from the same cloth as their slimmer, more oppressive sisters. Corporate advertisements dwarf their actual copy, and that copy is still all about conforming to a manufactured and externally imposed beauty standard, albeit a more inclusive one, and measuring one’s worth by success or failure in that endeavor. Radiance isn’t just about women of size looking great, but feeling great and doing great and being great. Hooray!

Lisa LeFort
Radiance Rules!

Dear Radiance,

My husband can attest that I have been checking the mailbox the last few weeks with worried anticipation! “Did I get my Radiance yet?” I had to break down and buy a copy of Mode to read on a train/bicycle trip we took recently. It was a poor substitute, I’ll tell you! Please don’t ever stop publishing Radiance. It really is a lifeline to sanity for so many of us! Thanks for being there.

Karen Nielson
Olympia, WA

Dear Alice,

I’ve always meant to write and just say thank you for your life-affirming magazine. I eagerly await each issue. I want especially to thank you for every now and then including a lesbian writer. It really makes me feel included.


Dear Alice,

Radiance is radiant. What a wonderful magazine you have. I have just finished reading my first issue and I love it. I especially enjoyed “Big News” and “Art That Empowers.”

I also was glad to see all the sources for larger sizes in your magazine. I have sent for several catalogs. I’m glad that the clothing people have finally awakened to the fact that we are a huge (pardon the pun) market for them. I am starting to enjoy shopping!

Now if we can wake the rest of the world up to the fact that people of size are just as smart, productive, and capable as the rest of society, we can accomplish a lot!

Keep up the great work.


A Reader’s Comeback!

Dear Radiance,

I went into a piano store once to buy a piano for my son. The lady who waited on me was very trim, and because she went to my church, I was aware of her arrogance. She looked me up and down, and rolled her eyes. I had a three-month-old baby at home and was still wearing large blouses with the shirttails left out to cover my stomach. As she wrote up the paperwork for the piano I’d just bought, she asked with this snooty, condescending attitude, “I know you have one baby, but when is this next baby due?”

I was quite sure she knew good and well I was not pregnant. I asked her, “Is your rudeness and stupidity included in your fee, or is there some extra charge for that?!” That shut her up real quick. I asked a doctor the same question once when he was rude. It’s a real wake-up call for rude people. It returns the slap they’ve just given you. We should not have to put up with rudeness from people when we are paying good money to them, as their customer or patient.


Visitors to Our Web Site

Dear Radiance,

Hooray for your web site! I am forty-two years old and full of self-hatred. I just read your back-issue article, “Safety in Numbers,” by therapist and group facilitator Lila Moses. Maybe your magazine is the help that I need. I had never heard of it and plan to visit the site more often. Thanks for filling a need.

Valerie, FL

Dear Radiance,

Loved your web site! I’m a large, single mom with a beautiful, large eight-year-old daughter, trying to make it in a thin-crazy world.

Athens, Greece

Dear Radiance,

As a plus-size woman, I truly find your web site enlightening and comforting. To see other women I can totally relate to assures me that I am loved and never alone in a world that would want me literally to disappear. You show real women and in good taste. I appreciate your elegance. Keep up the fantastic work!

A fan at shkt359@cs.com

Dear Alice,

I was thrilled to find an on-line source with all this amazingly heartfelt and really supportive information for all people of the fluffy persuasion, especially women. I shall be sending some more women your way. Thank you!


Hi, Alice,

I found your web site while doing a search on the word overweight. The Radiance site seemed to have more information overall than the others and also more positive articles.

My weight has fluctuated back and forth over the years between a size 6 and my current size 24. I’ve finally begun to realize that I need to start working on accepting myself the way I am. Your web site and magazine, I think, will be something good that I can give myself. Thank you for creating them!

Cambridge, MA


I just found your site through a link with the Renfrew Center. It’s an excellent web site, with a wonderful philosophy for all people to embrace—that is, loving and accepting yourself no matter what your size.

I would like to subscribe to your magazine as well, even though I am slightly different from your larger audience. I am in recovery from anorexia (painful for me to even write that word), but I feel your magazine is an inspiration for me to continue to eat, gain strength, and realize my own inner beauty.

Please keep up the great work! I already want to get a subscription for my niece as well! Mahale Nui Loa for all gifts! God bless all of you!

Veronica Pape
Waikoloa, HI

Dear Radiance,

Thank you so much for the information on your web site! I can’t tell you how much encouragement I received from reading several of the articles displayed on your site, especially those about ways to exercise. These stories have given me a new and different perspective on myself as well as on others. I am absolutely convinced that you are helping encourage and boost the self-esteem of large people and small people alike.

Keep up the good work. I’m sure many people are depending on you!

Sincerely, Nicole

Dear Radiance,

I just found you on the web, and I love the article on the weight lifter (Cheryl Haworth, Spring 2000 cover story). I am a college track coach and a large-size woman. I am the assistant coach at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and I have wanted to do an article on myself for those who think that coaching is only for the people in “shape.” I am married, coach full time, and own another business on the side. I am going to check your magazine out too.


A New Strut


The Summer 2000 issue is wonderful! You are truly providing a unique service. In the thirteen years I have been reading it, Radiance hasn’t been duplicated.

I have struggled for years to be a person—and a size—that I am not. When the year 2000 got here, I realized that all I was doing was making myself miserable. I was my harshest critic, and I deserved better. Now, as a single mom, raising three teenagers, I am teaching high school English and completing my master’s in English. I’ve bought a home for us. What’s not to like and be proud of? Beating myself up because I wouldn’t be seen on the pages of shallow, mainstream fashion magazines began to seem more than a little ridiculous.

I threw out all my diet-related paraphernalia, decided to give Hirschmann and Munter’s books, Overcoming Overeating and When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies, a try, restocked my self-acceptance library, and now I am the happiest that I have ever been in my life. Throughout all the self-hatred, I kept reading Radiance. It was a point of sanity in an otherwise insane world. It just took me a while to get here, but I’ve made it.

Alice, thank you so very much for your magazine and for your spirit.

Love, Kathy Harmony
Davis, CA

Hi, Alice,

I have just recently discovered that I am not ever going to diet again. That means that I have to come to terms with my 260-pound body. The insights and support that your magazine and web site offer have been invaluable. The world at large is not in favor of the large woman, so I’ve always felt that I was in a state of constant defensiveness.

After receiving a few issues as a subscriber to Radiance, I don’t feel that I need to defend myself anymore. I just need to keep tuning into my own brand of personal Radiance, inspired by your magazine. I read once in Radiance that given the fact that people will stare at you anyway, you might as well strut your stuff and give them something worth looking at. That certainly changed the way I walk my walk!

Your magazine is an inspiration and source of endless support. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

AC, New York

Dear Radiance,

Radiance magazine inspires me. It makes me laugh, cry, and cheer for the women in it, for myself, and for women like me. I am twenty-two years old, a college student, and a woman of size. All I have ever wanted, it seems, was to love myself and to be loved by someone. Your magazine gives me a glimmer of hope. I want to be beautiful, I want to be seen as beautiful. I look in the mirror and I don’t see an ugly person, and I wonder what the world doesn’t see in me. Thank you so much for giving me the hope and the fellowship that comes with knowing that others share in your struggle.

Rebecca White
Brooklings, SD

Admirers of All Sizes

Dear Radiance,

I am overwhelmed by this site and by your magazine! This has been my primary tool for conquering my bad body image, and I can’t possibly thank you even more! I’m not a BBW, in fact, I would be what people regard as normal. I don’t get stares from others in restaurants, and I don’t suffer the rude comments that many of your readers receive regularly, but I do understand what it’s like to have a negative body image.

I am a recovering bulimic and was hospitalized a few months back for the medical complications associated with it. Now, with the help of a nutritionist and a therapist, I am learning to enjoy food and love the body that was tortured throughout most of my teen years (I’m twenty now). I told my therapist how helpful Radiance has been for my recovery, and my remarkable progress has encouraged her to offer your magazine to other patients struggling with an eating disorder.

Thank you all once again for helping women of all sizes learn to live again, comfortably in their own skin!

Warmly, Kelly

Dear Radiance,

Thanks for doing such a great job. I have been a reader for years and love every issue. My only complaint is that I can get Radiance only four times a year. I know it must be very difficult to put out a magazine, so I will have to be content.

Radiance is a much-needed publication in our world. Women of all sizes need to know that they are fine the way they are. Thanks again for all your hard work over the years.

Michaeleen O’Shea
Charleroi, PA

Friends Worldwide

To all of you at Radiance,

There is nothing like this in Britain, and you are a godsend for the larger ladies: you’ve made us feel beautiful!

Robyn, Karen, and Lin
Bristol, U.K.

Dear Radiance,

Thanks for confirming my orders—I eagerly await my copies! I came across your web site one evening when I typed ‘find me fat women’ into Ask Jeeves (search engine). Once in your site, I scanned the notice board to see if anyone else from the U.K. had been there, and sure enough, there was a message from a girl in Scotland. I contacted her directly by e-mail, and we started to chat. She very kindly offered to send me a copy of Radiance. I thought that was so sweet. It restored my faith in human nature. The publication arrived post haste, and I was so excited by what I read that I decided straightaway to subscribe! I also ordered back copies to help me with my work—I am setting up self-esteem courses here in London for fat women and men.

Thanks so much. Goddess be with you in your life and work. You’re doing a great job.

Love, Sheri

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