Wondering what it's like to attend the Abundia Retreat?

“Abundia is a tangible reminder that fat women defy stereotypes. I see amazing women with full lives, and I know mine can be full too.” Heidi -- Indianapolis, IN

“Abundia is the one place in my life where I have experienced complete acceptance and love.” Maryann -- Cicero, IL

“I have made life-long friends at Abundia with whom I've shared things I've never told anyone else. It's liberating, and even the challenging feelings are met with amazing support. So much understanding, laughing, shared strength, and friendship.” Rebecca -- Milwaukee, WI

Attending the Abundia retreat was one of the most emotionally fulfilling experiences of my life. As we all know, being fat is a very visible thing. For most of my life, I have been painfully aware that no matter where I go, I am seen first and foremost as "fat" (used as a pejorative, rather than a simple descriptor). After that, its up to me to prove all of the other amazing things I am, and that can be exhausting. Within minutes of entering the welcoming presence of Abundia, I realized that not one person saw me as "fat". To them, I was simply a woman, one of them. They were curious about ME, not about my dress size. There are hardly words for how freeing this feeling was. I could finally express who I really am, without first feeling as if I had to prove that I deserved to be heard. The women who organize the Abundia retreat do an amazing job providing thought provoking and soul enhancing experiences through the weekend and I am grateful for their efforts. But for me, the most powerful aspect of my weekend was simply being there among other women who understand what it feels like to be marginalized, and knowing that in their eyes I am worthy...just the way I am. - Alison, TN

"The Abundia retreat helps me get grounded and find perspective in a safe space where I know I am welcomed, understood and supported. The retreat also challenges me to love my body and myself more radically and more wholeheartedly than ever. It’s deliciously comfortable to be with women whose experience is similar to mine and who face and overcome the same obstacles I’m confronted with. The connections we make last throughout the year and are strengthened at every year’s retreat. It’s truly a highlight of my year!" -Mary, Madison, WI

"Abundia has connected me to a wonderful group of supportive women of size. The retreat is a glorious oasis of body positivity and healing for me. It is an absolutely required event for me. I cannot recommend it enough." -Eileen, Madison, WI

"Usually introduction rounds are the most boring things on workshops but with Abundia it was different. I was unbelievable touched by the thankfulness of the other women to be in a space where they are not jugded. At this specific moment I knew even I have so many questions and doubts about the topic of fatness there is always one reason to keep on going with my artistic work: Just because of being fat, people have such a hard time in life. When we had the final meeting on the retreat we were supposed to write something down what we want to leave behind and now I want to tell everyone: Fat-shaming! - I am glad I have attended this life-changing weekend. Keep on going, girls!" -Veronika, Vienna, Austria

“The Abundia Retreat is the only place where I have experienced life without weight being a factor. I can take my armor off and breathe.” Karen -- MI

"The best part of spending time within the cocoon of Abundia was that I felt myself start to relax in a way that was entirely new to me. As a large woman, you are always trying to take up less space, to not allow your vile fatness to encroach upon other people's area, to be as invisible as possible... but once you enter Abundia and become surrounded by similarly shaped women, you suddenly aren't the ostracized oddball anymore. To approach a sense of normalization, to be part of a community of big juicy women, to feel accepted and celebrated instead of shunned and shamed, to share stories and ideas with each other about living large... these are things that a fat woman rarely gets to experience. Abundia brought me a glimpse of a world where ALL bodies are worthy of self-care, respect, and love... and in today's fatphobic culture, that is a gift beyond measure." -Katje, Chicago

“Abundia is a safe haven and a supportive experience where we, as big beautiful women, can laugh, cry, share, dream, explore and get to know ourselves and each other.” Cory -- Burr Ridge, IL

"I am overwhelmed with complimentary things to say about Abundia and the incredible, warm women that make it all possible. Within an hour of my first retreat, I knew I'd made friends for life. A wise attendee once said to me, 'You don't really get a sense of how -heavy- your armor is until you are surrounded by people who allow you to take it off.' I feel very blessed that Abundia affords me that opportunity to come and take my armor off for a while, to laugh and to cry, to spend some time in the company of these wickedly funny, supportive women." -Elaine, Madison, WI