A request from your fat friend: what I need when we talk about bodies.

I need you to listen closely. I need you to believe me when I tell you what happens.

I need you to say the word “fat.” About me. Because I am.

I’m a size 26 —  fat enough that some stores for fat people don’t carry my size. Fat enough that some doctors will refuse to see me. Fat enough that getting on an airplane makes my blood run cold because they might kick me off without a refund for my ticket, or they might charge me double and then I will have to explain to my friends, job, family why I can’t make the trip. Every discussion about bodies — whether in the media or amongst friends — is about how to avoid the horrible fate of looking like me. I need you to hear that this all hurts, and it happens all the time.


I know this stuff is hard to talk about.

But when I talk about fat, I am not talking about feelings or self-esteem or body image issues or inner strength. I am talking about the way individuals and institutions treat me and people who look like me. I need you to acknowledge that you and I have different experiences because I am fat.

I need you to consider your audience. When you say you hate your body for being so fat or that you are afraid of becoming fat or when you say that you shouldn’t have eaten that lunch or dessert or when you announce your New Year’s resolution is to lose 5, 10, 25 pounds — you are saying that you don’t want your body to end up like mine. Your feelings are real and true and valid. And you still should not say them to the fattest person you know.

I know that all of us are affected by body shaming and everyone has real, valid, deep, hard feelings about our bodies.

I still need you to stop perpetuating it, especially when talking about yourself. No amount of caveats or prologues make it hurt me less. I need you to know that I’m taking it personally because it is personal.

I need you to know that I go to great pains to take care of everyone’s feelings when I talk about being fat, and for me, these conversations happen weekly, sometimes daily, and lots of people need lots of attention and care just to be able to hear what I need from them. Sometimes I get tired, frustrated, or angry with the emotional work it takes just to prepare those around me to hear me name who I am and what I need.

I need you to know that when you talk disparagingly about your own body and then you say “but not you, you’re beautiful!” your compliments are impossible to believe. That if you disapprove of yourself, vivisect your own body, and then compliment me, I will remember how you talk about both of us. If you think of your own fat body as repulsive, I will believe you are also repulsed by mine. I know that you intend to talk about yourself. I need you to know that you are also talking about me.

If you think of your own fat body as repulsive, I will believe that you are also repulsed by mine.

I need you to let go of the things I have never been able to hold, just for a moment. Just to feel how fragile they are when you loosen your grip, to feel how easily they can shatter. I need you to care for me enough to feel unsafe. I need you to join me for a moment where I live every day.

I need you to try to learn to love the lush overgrowth of your body. Let it grow wild and untamed as a garden you loved as a child. Love it for the way it sustains you, keeps you warm, goes to such lengths not to let you get hurt. Its only job is to care for you. I need you to try to love it if you intend to love me.

I need you to remember that blaming individuals for the harassment they experience isn't supportive or effective. That we can't attribute poverty to poor work ethic any more than we can attribute harassment of fat people to low self-esteem or weak willpower.

I need you not to forget your values when I tell you about my experience.

I need you to stop reducing my experiences to hurt feelings or to ill-intended individuals. I need you to know that even with good intentions, you can still do harm. I need less sympathy and more solidarity. Less pity; more anger. Fewer condolences; more action. I need you to stop comforting me.

I need an ally.

When you ask me what I need, and I tell you, I need you to try.

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.