Hi there, it’s me, your longtime friend whose body has been impossibly well-toned for as long as you’ve known me. At fifty-two, I still look spectacular in just about any piece of clothing I put on, but holy moly, no, I don’t, because I feel so incredibly fat! I’ve been saying this since you were my chunky roommate in college—wait, is it okay for me to finally call you “fat” now, or should I still say “chunky” or “chubby,” or should I just whisper “fat” in a barely audible voice, kind of the way I say “Black” with one hand cupped over my mouth? I’ve seen you refer to yourself as “fat” on social media, so I think it’s all right for me to say since we now live in an era of #fatacceptance and #healthateverysize and also because I, too, identify as someone who occasionally feels so fat.

I’m not just saying this so you’ll shoot back, “No you’re not—you look great,” like you used to when we were in our teens and twenties. In fact, you haven’t said that to me since 8:07 p.m. on March 12, 2003, but who’s counting? Surely not me, a genetically gifted woman who does not even count calories. I sometimes pretend to do #intermittentfasting to fit in with other women my age—oh, how they struggle!—but the truth is I don’t put a wisp of thought into what I eat. Except, of course, when you walk into the room, and I tell you how very bloated I feel from drinking half an Amstel Light.

My Insta feed has photos of me doing Pilates and running, but that’s mostly because I want to promote fitness in others—specifically, others like you, since your weight puts you at risk of diabetes and heart disease, and I’m just worried about you, bestie. I actually don’t work out very much, because, well, I really don’t have to, but I sure look great in #athleisurewear.

I have to say, you’ve impressed me with the way you now embrace your size. You seem surprisingly comfortable in your very large body, which is fascinating to me because, wow, I would just feel so mind-blowingly fat. And while I don’t actually believe in #healthateverysize and think fat people are probably somehow responsible for the COVID epidemic, you’ve given me the courage to open up about my own struggles. The truth is, I used to be a size 2 in college, and now I’m sometimes a size 4, depending on the brand, and well, I’m owning that shit. Check out my latest Instagram photo, where I look utterly fabulous in a fitted top that lies a hair’s breadth less flat on my abdomen than it used to, from an angle that’s only 99 percent flattering, with #bodyacceptance and #thestruggleisreal prominently hashtagged because my goal is to inspire—that is, to inspire women like you to recognize that even women like me look slightly less perfect than we did in our twenties, and that’s okay! I mean, I think I’ll add #brave because, frankly, I really am.

I’ve noticed that you didn’t like or comment on my #bodyacceptance photo. In fact, you haven’t liked or commented on any of my photos in a long time. There’s no need to be jealous, especially when I, in solidarity, feel so fat. I’ve just started promoting some Dr. Oz herbal supplements for belly bloat on my Insta, and I’ll let you know if they work. I mean, only if you want me to. You have such a pretty face—I wouldn’t be able to carry that weight off, but it really works for you. What size are those jeans you wear? 18? 20? Let’s line them up next to my size 4s, put them on Insta and hashtag the shit out of that.

I’m just so relieved to live in an era where I can be open about the fact that my body is no longer perfect but only very nearly perfect, that I can talk about feeling sooooooo fat in solidarity with people who are truly fat. We’ve come so far from those days back in the dorm, haven’t we? I’m on my fifth husband and my third spiritual advisor, and you’re the youngest partner ever at your law firm, a company that must be very open-minded to promote someone who looks like you—which I think is just wonderful. We really should get together for dinner sometime and reminisce about my glory days.

Maybe we could meet at a juice bar or a vegan restaurant, just to encourage you to eat a little #healthier. I’ll walk in lithely, commanding the room, allowing the light to hit my silhouette at the most spectacular angle. But when I see you I’ll pretend to hide my practically nonexistent belly because you’re—I mean, I’m feeling—well, you know. Fat.