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I was fat-shamed at an Afro-Centric Pregnancy Fair

The other day, I got fat-shamed. When you get fat-shamed often, like every time you turn on a television, it takes a lot to make an impact. My husband, Chris, and I went to our city's second annual Afro-Centric Pregnancy Fair in Portland, Oregon. I had high hopes of being in a supportive environment of people who care about the unique challenges facing black women as they enter pregnancy, childbirth, and childbearing. I fantasized about talking with midwives, doulas, and new mothers about their amazing experiences and horror stories of hospitals, birth centers, and their living rooms. Instead, I got a major dressing down by a black doctor manning an information table for a clinic.

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I'm still performing burlesque at almost eight-months pregnant

We had a wildly successful show this past weekend, the club was packed and the crowd was very enthusiastic and responsive, which was fantastic. I'd spent the last month wavering between being very excited about my two solos, and being very scared about how exposed I was going to be up there. Normally when I perform, I leave a waist cincher on because body issues.

Why I love every inch of my stretch marks

I have obsessed about my weight since I was eleven. I'm not going to get into all of the years of disordered eating and self-loathing in this post, but when I look back on photos of myself, I can't believe I thought there was anything wrong with me. I was a fox — long, lean, lithe, and curvy in just the right places. I could shimmy into tons of really cute clothes, and heads would turn. These days, you could describe me as "pillowy" rather than "willowy."

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What a photo shoot taught me about being human and feeling beautiful

When a friend of mine asked to take nude photos for her A Beautiful Body Project I was excited and flattered by her suggestion. And terrified. I had never been too fond of "seeing" myself in mirrors, or through a camera lens. It always brought up my inner critic, so I figured the best remedy was to minimize the cause for judgment. It took me many months to think about Jade's invitation and photographs of myself. I don't know the exact location or origin of the fear, but it was very much about being seen, and what that meant. I had to look at what I might be so afraid of.