The heat index in Washington, D.C. is 102 degrees and my size 24 body and I are making our way home from work. It is nearly a mile and by the time I reach P street, I'm doing some little breathing exercises. In and out. In and out. There is a healthy new heat-rash under my bra on my left breast. It feels red and itchy and hopefully isn't bleeding. I am barely sweating, which is surprising for this kind of heat. A year ago, I couldn't have walked a block in weather like this.
I notice a beautiful large black girl waiting for the bus. She is bigger than me, taller and larger. But she is shapely like me, not just fat. She is dressed like me. Black pants and a brown t-shirt. She looks like she is losing weight because her limbs look smaller than the rest of her. I wish I knew her so I could tell her she is doing a good job and is lovely. I catch her eye and smile with my mouth and eyes, but quickly look away, still smiling. I don't want her to think I'm hitting on her. I just want her to know that I understand. That I hope someone tells her how beautiful she is. She smiles back as my eyes dart away. It is an amazing smile. A confident smile. Like the singer Jill Scott, who I've seen on MTV. Like a happy child. She knows my motives. This is how fat women should treat each other. With love and confidence and solidarity.