If you’re looking for an inspiring, body-positive article, this isn’t it.

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I am fat, and I hate it.

I am ashamed of my body. I am ashamed of the bulk, the rolls, the scars, the saggy parts, the stretch marks. Even though I know nothing good will come of it, I compare my body to others’ all the time. I have a constant fear that people are judging me because of my weight.

I’m also angry that I’m ashamed. I’m angry that we eroticize and romanticize thinness. I’m angry about toxic diet culture and so-called weight loss programs. I’m angry about the antiquated, fat-shaming (racist, sexist, etc) BMI formula and that…

Why it’s difficult to find comfort in a body that has never belonged to me.

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When I sat down to write this piece, my intention was to write something positive about my body — but the more I tried the harder it was. I can’t write something constructive and substantial about something I don’t understand. Not because my body doesn’t deserve it, but because I can’t see the poetry in it. I can’t see the beauty or the strength in my body. I can’t see that it is worthy of praise, devotion, pleasure, and joy.

When I look at my body, I see what others have done to it. They’ve touched it, tasted, and invaded…

How depression killed my libido

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We used to struggle to keep our hands off of each other. We used to talk to each other across a room with our eyes. We used to make each other scream.

I still remember the night we stumbled into her apartment and I had her against the wall. I wanted her so badly that I let her take me with my dress on while I straddled her on the couch. I can still see us there, lost in each other, blissful and blazing.

Sex is always a thrill at the beginning of a relationship.

There’s an eagerness, hunger, and yearning. There’s a fire that, over time, turns into a warm…

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Content notice: this essay includes a detailed description of sexual assault.

I order vodka with cranberry and she orders a beer. We stay by the bar for a while, trying to talk over the music. She compliments my hair, puts her hand on my arm, and leans toward me. “You’re so beautiful,” she purrs in my ear. I smile and look down at my drink. I watch her flirt with the bartender. I watch how she uses her hands to draw attention to different parts of her body — the skin-tight jeans that cling to her thighs, the purple tank…

How being molested as a child forever altered the emotional and physical space I live in

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It may have been in the middle of the night in the hours when darkness reigns. It may have been early in the morning just before the body starts to stir. I may have been asleep when it started, or maybe I was awake when he snuck into the room. I was six years old, maybe seven. He was twelve, maybe thirteen. It may have happened more than once.

Time has put so much distance between the memory and me that the event is almost unrecognizable. The memory of what happened is tainted by so much confusion and fear that…

A letter to an addict on the anniversary of his death

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The day you died, the moon was in the waning crescent phase. The illumination of its rough surface had decreased to 0.1% which means that the brightest object in the night sky would soon be invisible to us. You, too, had been disappearing from view — long before we realized it, long before we could do anything about it. Did you know that the moon doesn’t radiate its own light? Its surface simply reflects the rays of the sun. You were like that. You, too, reflected the light of others making them warmer and brighter while leaving yourself cold in…

How my mental health disorder keeps me locked inside myself

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It started when I was in high school.

I would lie awake at night for hours, replaying in my mind every major interaction from that day — wondering if I should have said or done something differently, worrying whether people liked me or if they thought I was smart or weird. This would inevitably lead to imagining future interactions with those same people where — in my mind — I could control their responses. …

Refusing to accommodate the needs of larger bodies is not “care,” it’s neglect

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Most people who live in larger bodies have dealt with the pain of judgment, bullying, and humiliation. Whether it’s from the fashion or entertainment industries, social media trolls, friends and family, or medical providers, fat-shaming is everywhere.

Health care facilities express a more subtle bias against fat bodies by quietly neglecting the needs of plus-size people. We should not need to ask for larger blood pressure cuffs, hospital gowns, or wheelchairs. We should not need to fear whether an exam or x-ray table will be able to support our weight. …

Utilizing the power of theater to open your heart and expand your mind

I’ve been going to the theater on a regular basis for 20 years, and I’ve worked in the industry since I was 22. Theater is the best teacher I’ve ever had, and I believe it has made me a better person. It has made me more thoughtful, creative, and compassionate. It has opened my mind to ideas, people, and cultures that I might not have otherwise been exposed to.

I’m sure some of you think that theater isn’t for you. Maybe you think it’ll be boring, or that you won’t understand it. It’s true, there are a lot of bad…

Spoiler: I didn’t find it

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I have spent the last five years searching for a well-made, supportive bra that will properly accommodate my 46F cup. Clothing is difficult enough to find for plus-sized and/or large-breasted women. But bras? Bras are the worst. Bras pinch and poke at the skin. They squeeze and scratch. They rub, slide, droop, and chafe. They are interminably uncomfortable.

Since 2016, I have spent $1,180 searching for this ever-elusive bra (which doesn’t include shipping and return fees). I tried 36 different bras, and not a single one of them fit right.

I’m not asking for the impossible. …

Julie-Anne Whitney

Writing about Body Image, Lesbian Life, Mental Health, and Trauma Recovery.

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