For most of my childhood, I hated gathering around a table to eat. I was forced on diets, so I sat there shoving food in my mouth, not even tasting it, waiting for someone to tell me I’d had enough and take the food away.

Throughout my life, I’ve had everyone from intimate lovers to family members to total strangers make a shaming, judgmental comment about the food I’m putting in my mouth. And for most of my life I just accepted that as commonplace, something I deserved for being fat.

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Then I went to a fat-positive event in San Francisco full of people of all sizes enjoying food without judgment or shame. I was addicted. I kept coming back for more meals where I could eat whatever I wanted and not have someone give me a lecture about how I was going to die an early and painful death if I didn’t stop eating.

Suddenly, food wasn’t something others were allowed to enjoy, it was something I got to enjoy as well!

Now, one of my favorite things in the whole wide world is to sit down to a potluck style meal with my chosen and biological family. We talk of our lives. We talk of how delicious the food is. We eat as little or as much as we want and no one judges us for it.

It’s rather wonderful.