Autostraddle: When Climbing Mental Mountains Becomes Literal

My essay on the Curvy Kili Crew, a group of twenty plus-size women who hiked Kilimanjaro in Africa, is live on Autostraddle NOW!

Writing this piece was its own adventure. It’s the first profile I’ve ever done and it’s the longest thing I’ve ever published. I had so much material I couldn’t use due to length, which was TORTURE. It was a challenge and a joy to bring to life.

“Fat is seen as a weakness in character and intelligence, as if it’s a choice and not simply a physical characteristic in the same way one is thin. When it comes to exercise and athleticism, it’s assumed our interest and participation has to do with weight-loss as opposed to movement for the joy of it. Designating this adventure as one for plus-size women means there is already a foundation of understanding between participants. It’s a safer space to attempt something that would be off limits in other contexts. People of size aren’t part of the outdoor adventure narrative. Straight-size people (meaning, not plus size) don’t know about the struggle of finding larger gear and sleeping bags, or what it’s like to carry a heavier body up a trail, let alone a mountain.”

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