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A girl made a comment about my body at the beach. This was my response.

Can you really judge how 'healthy a woman is by the thick, fleshy curve of her hip?

A girl made a comment about my body at the beach. This was my response.

Standing in the kitchen, my thick thighs rubbing together underneath my skirt, I am slowly working the premade pizza dough to stretch.

It came in a plastic bag, this dough, from one of those “cook at home” meal box programs — the kind you try because you have a coupon for a free week and then ultimately pay for a few more weeks because you forget to cancel the service (because it costs way too much).

The meals I have ordered from this service are touted as both “healthy” and “vegetarian,” which are not, in case you didn’t know, synonymous terms in the least. I know this because I am primarily the latter (a vegetarian) and aspire to be the former (health-conscious), but it’s a difficult reconciliation.


I want to be “healthy.” I try to be "healthy."

I don’t eat much meat, but I eat a lot of cheese and brussels sprouts. And spinach. I read ingredient labels; I put back the bread where the first word listed is "enriched."

I drink a green smoothie every morning. Whir, whir. Pulsing the blender with my fingers, adding the chia, the flax. I like the taste, the texture. The green. I imagine the antioxidants swerving through my veins, Go Go Gadget Vitamin E.

Of course, I also eat dessert. Everyone knows there’s not much meat in dessert. And I really like dessert.

If you’re into that sort of thing, perhaps you can judge how much I like dessert by the way my thighs rub together. You can judge how much I like brie by the soft wobble of my upper arm, the part that keeps on waving long after my hand has signaled hello. You can judge every part of me that you see, if that’s the kind of thing you like to do.

If that’s the kind of thing you like to do, I won’t judge.

But what about the spinach? And the smoothie? Do you see my love for flaxseed in the strong sloping hardness of my back? Are you looking at the whites of my eyes and the thickness of my hair, a braid down my back, a silver-dollar-sized hunk? Can you see my sturdy bones? The pinkish hardened healthy half-moons of my nails?

It’s not about the way you look. I’m concerned for your health.

But really, can you judge how healthy a woman is by the thick, fleshy curve of her hip?

Does being a size 12, 14, 16 alone really mean my days are numbered? Is this the only answer that matters? Those who want to judge are much more apt to assess my healthfulness based on the number inside of my bathing suit versus the number on the paperwork from my doctor’s lab — they believe the measure of a healthy woman is the measure of her thighs. Forget science. Forgo numbers. Screw you, doctor. It’s modern beauty we should worry about. This tells me all I need to know about this woman.

If you are into that sort of thing, if you are the type to make a judgment based only on what you see, then you are not really my type at all.

It’s your health I worry about. It’s not about the way you look. Oh, but it is. It’s about the way YOU look at ME.

In a dress, as I sing karaoke. In soft pants, as I order some spaghetti. In my bathing suit, my beautiful bathing suit, at the ocean.

When you look, what you don’t see:

I’m strong. I can teach an 8-year-old girl to ride a two-wheeler in one Saturday afternoon and carry six bags of groceries in one trip from the car.

My brain is fueled by flaxseeds and sometimes chocolate croissants — it writes essays about love and sex and skin and kindness and dresses and teenagers and addiction and death and gratitude.

Sometimes my thighs rub together while I knead pizza dough.

Sometimes I am the only one in the house strong enough to open a jar of dill pickles.

Once I carried a bed up two flights of stairs, all by myself.

You can’t find those things, these intangible things, in the thick knot of flesh above my knees.

So they do not matter.

Here is what matters:

A girl at the beach whispered, “I like that fat girl’s bathing suit!” when I walked by.

I swam way out to where the waves drowned that girl’s voice.

Then I swam back in again.

I am the fat girl in the green bathing suit. It’s emerald, really, against the porcelain slope of my flesh. Green like a mermaid’s fin. All this flesh, my glorious oyster.

“They only make this suit for fat girls,” I said quietly to that girl, as I sifted my way back to my place in the sand. And her face turned red, but I smiled kindly at her anyway. Maybe she didn’t know I could hear her. Maybe she hadn’t meant it with disdain.

I smiled at that girl.

Sometimes the careful measure of my words, the beautiful measure of my style, the growing measure of my strength and my character is far greater than the size of my hips.

If only someone were interested in judging that.

Cats are notoriously weird. Everyone who's had cats knows that they each have their own unique quirks, idiosyncrasies, preferences, habits, and flat-out WTFness.

But even those of us who have experience with bizarre cat behavior are blown away by the antics this "cat dad" is able to get away with.

Kareem and Fifi are the cat parents of Chase, Skye, and Millie—literally the most chill kitties ever. They share their family life on TikTok as @dontstopmeowing, and their videos have been viewed millions of times. When you see them, you'll understand why.

Take Chase's spa days, for example. It may seem unreal at first, but watch what happens when Fifi tries to take away his cucumber slices.

When she puts them back on his eyes? WHAT?! What cat would let you put them on once, much less get mad when you take them off?

This cat. Chase is living his best life.

But apparently, it's not just Chase. Skye and Millie have also joined in "spaw day." How on earth does one couple end up with three hilariously malleable cats?

Oh, and if you think they must have been sedated or something, look at how wide awake they are during bath time. That's right, bath time. Most cats hate water, but apparently, these three couldn't care less. How?

They'll literally do anything. The Don't Stop Meowing channel is filled with videos like this. Cats wearing glasses. Cats wearing hats. Cats driving cars. It's unbelievable yet highly watchable entertainment.

If you're worried that Kareem gets all the love and Fifi constantly gets the shaft, that seems to be a bit for show. Look at Chase and Fifi's conversation about her leaving town for a business trip:

The whole channel is worth checking out. Ever seen a cat being carried in a baby carrier at the grocery store? A cat buckled into a car seat? Three cats sitting through storytime? It's all there. (Just a heads up: A few of the videos have explicit language, so parents might want to do a preview before watching with little ones.) You can follow the couple and their cats on all their social media channels, including Instagram and YouTube if TikTok isn't your thing, here.

If you weren't a cat person before, these videos might change your mind. Fair warning, however: Getting a cat because you want them to do things like this would be a mistake. Cats do what they want to do, and no one can predict what weird traits they will have. Even if you raise them from kittenhood, they're still unpredictable and weird.

And honestly, we wouldn't have them any other way.

True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

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When Donato Di Camillo was a kid, his family couldn't afford film for their Polaroid camera.

So instead, he ran around the house with a film-less camera pretending to be a hotshot photographer on an African safari, mimicking the heroes behind iconic photos he saw in the discarded National Geographic magazines his dad grabbed for him out of the garbage.

Years later, when Di Camillo found himself in prison after collecting a lengthy rap sheet of thefts, he discovered a library full of those same magazines.

While other inmates were working out or getting into trouble, he pored over old issues of National Geographic, Life, and Time.

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There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

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