Because so much of the work that I do is online, I have never met the majority of the folks that I work with on an everyday basis IRL. It's a strange feeling to feel so close to someone and yet not know what it's like to stand next to them. One of the people who has had a major impact on my career as a writer and member of the plus size fashion and size acceptance communities is Marie Southard Ospina of the blog, Migg Mag. She was my editor at Bustle where I wrote three times a week for more than a year about fashion, beauty and body positivity. As an editor, she challenged me to write brave personal essays and always take a fair approach to controversial topics. 

 A few months back, I had the privilege of traveling to New York for theCURVYconand I made sure that I had an opportunity to meet Marie while I was in town. I met up with her in the Bustle offices and when we saw each other, we literally ran into each other's arms. I really wish someone had recorded that moment because it was magic. And for the rest of the afternoon, Marie's lovely partner Patrick took pictures of us as we talked and walked around the city. 

As we talked, we realized how many of the same things we deal with working as writers within the size acceptance community. I think the biggest thing I struggle with as a freelancer is feeling like I am alone. It can be just as isolating as it is freeing to work from home. Talking with Marie reminded me that compassionate fatigue is real and that practicing self care and seeking support are necessary. 

While I can recognize that fat liberation needs to be about more than people of all sizes having access to fashionable clothing, I'm certainly grateful that this is still a big part of the work that I do. For some people, fashion is their first form of rebellion and that was certainly the case with me. I started thinking critically about my body when I realized how others policed my body by telling me what to wear. I wanted to explore these topics more and I'm glad this passion brought someone as brilliant as Marie into my life. 

I look at my smile in these photos and I can see the joy that I felt being in Marie's company. It's the kind of smile you get when someone you've long admired becomes one of your biggest supporters and a real life friend. I don't know when our paths will cross again but I am sure glad that they did, if only for an afternoon because while building community online is great, there's still something valuable about face-to-face interaction with people who think the same way that you do. 


And since it's fashion that first brought us together, you know I have to let you know what we are wearing! Marie's denim overalls are from ELOQUII and my tropical plunge dress is from DebShops. 

For more fat pos friendship, you can read Marie's post here <3

What ways do you think we could better build community IRL? Chime in below in the comments or hit me up on Twitter & Instagram at @readytostare. 


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