So I’m sitting in my hotel room in New York City, about to head out for a bite to eat before I head to JFK airport to fly back to Texas, spending some time reflecting on my trip. I learned a lot from this trip up to and including the fact that yes, you can actually still be freezing even if you’re wearing a leather coat, but mostly it was reflections on fat culture.

One of the first things I noticed about this city is that it’s so incredibly pedestrian friendly. My hotel is in downtown Brooklyn and most of what we ended up doing was in Manhattan, south of Central Park. The only time I even needed to use public transportation at all was getting to and from the airport and across Brooklyn to Manhattan– and honestly if the weather had been better I probably would’ve been able to do that as well. You walk everywhere. It’s quick, it’s easy, and everything you want to do is a pretty easy walk or quick subway trip away. There are crosswalks, benches, bus stops and subway maps all over- the city’s constructed to make it easier for you to not need a car, for you to walk from work to home to school to shop to wherever it is you need to go.

This city also freaking loves stairs. I think I climbed more stairs in the last few days than I have in all of 2011 combined. Up and down from subway stops, in stores that span three floors with steps that are stupid steep, up and down curbs at every stop because the curbs are so tall they feel like freaking steps I swear and in and out of Broadway shows and they are everywhere.

Just living in New York City is like one big cardio workout every day of your life. You can’t exist without walking a mile a day, and the locals don’t even blink an eye.

And yet I have never seen so many beautiful fat women in my entire life.

There is such a strong fat positive community here it brings tears to my eyes. I found fat positivity books, just sitting out there for people to pick up and read. Like they were normal books normal non-deluded people like us fatties who think we’re okay just the way we are could read. I found fat women brazenly walking around in pretty dresses and makeup, as if their bodies weren’t shameful things deserving of being hid. I found fashionable clothing and people who didn’t assume that me being fat meant I didn’t belong in stores that sold it.

I found a community of people who are fat and simultaneously exercise every day by virtue of living here. I found fat people who work out every day and are still fat. Imagine that! People who do more cardio than I will do in my entire lifetime in a week who still pack on those pounds. Could that possibly mean that maybe– just maybe– you can be fat despite working out constantly? That you could– dare I say it– be fat and healthy?

Maybe it’s just in the water here. But whatever it is, I love it, and I wish I could package it up and bring it back to the south with me.