Discussion of news topics with a point of view, including narratives by individuals regarding their own experiences

Story by Aviva Loeb, illustrations by Katie Wheeler.

I’ve spent the past year battling a slew of weird symptoms and health problems. Finally, in March, I received a diagnosis. It’s been a terrifying experience that has tested me physically and mentally — a constant, nagging reminder that life can turn on a dime.

Sometimes I’ll feel normal for weeks in a row. Those days, when I feel okay, I wonder whether any of this is even real. But other days are spent frantically emailing my doctor to make sure my latest flare-up isn’t a sign of something more serious. I’m still figuring out how to approach my diagnosis. Should I talk about it on a first date? Tell my friends if I’m feeling particularly awful? How bad does my health have to get to justify taking a sick day?

I’m plus-sized and Asian. Some days, I feel pressure to look different — but I know my body doesn’t have to fit the mold.

Any time I want a pick-me-up, I look to body-positive women for inspiration

This year, I’m no longer trying to be a ‘new me’ — I want to be happy with who I am

A desire to change needs to come out of a place of love for yourself, not self-loathing

I can’t fix the global waste problem, but here are small steps I am taking to be more sustainable

Individual efforts may seem trivial, but don’t get discouraged