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

While I was going through puberty, I thought that fat girls couldn’t wear jeans. I remember being so ashamed of my body, so scared of what my thighs would look like in tight denim, that I avoided them for years.

I had internalized the bad fashion advice that teen magazines were doling out at the time: You’re fat? Maybe no one will notice if you choose an empire waist. No one can see your thighs if they’re hidden under a skirt. Always wear a cardigan, so nobody has to look at your upper arms. Wear heels.

The result was a well-intentioned but ill-fated teen clothing style that merged my belief that I could wear only hyper-feminine cuts with my desire to be edgier and more masculine. I looked like a wreck. (It was also 2005, so I’m trying to be forgiving).

As cute plus-size fashion became increasingly accessible, I became much more confident and hit a stride in college. I finally had agency over my appearance. How I looked on the outside, style-wise, finally matched how I felt on the inside. Honestly, I felt awesome.

And then I got a bad haircut. And then I gained a ton of weight.

I grew out my hair, which had always been in a short bob with blunt bangs, into long locks that I didn’t know how to style and felt extremely uncomfortable with. Every fashion decision I made was based on how “flattering” or “slimming” it would look. I wouldn’t leave the house without a full face of makeup and curled hair. For the first time in my entire life, I wore jewelry and perfume.

Although I mostly identified as femme during this time period, I felt trapped, like there was no wiggle room for me to experiment. I was exhausted. I felt like I was back in middle school, clutching a pair of jeans I desperately wanted to wear but was too afraid to put on. I was compensating for my fear and lack of confidence with performative femininity, and I had never felt less like myself.

This comic picks up where my eating disorder and gender identity exploration began.

Despite the havoc that time period wreaked on me, I am so grateful for what it taught me: that it was never actually my body preventing me from dressing the way I wanted.

Once you take that to heart, you’ll be unstoppable.

Bo Peep comes back empowered in ‘Toy Story 4.’ Here’ how a team of women remade her.

They became known as Team Bo, all passionate about giving ‘depth to a character who was so minimal’

Since saying goodbye to my foster daughter, I’ve been in the throes of ambiguous grief. Here’s why it’s so complicated.

Everything in our home still reminds me of her, and I can’t bear to change a thing in her room

I hated my bullies in middle school. Here’s what happened when one of them messaged me years later.

I never thought I’d interact with my middle school bully again — so the Facebook message came as a complete shock