We Get Letters
No Support System
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
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
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
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
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
Thank you for all that you do to keep this
magazine as wonderful as it is!
Ready to Revolt!
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!
I'm Fourteen and a BBW!
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.
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.
Girls Like Me
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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
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.
Loved your web site! I’m a large, single mom
with a beautiful, large eight-year-old daughter, trying to make it in a
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
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
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!
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
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!
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!
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
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
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
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.
Admirers of All Sizes
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
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!
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
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
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
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.