Body image

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Before I realised that I would not be able to get an appointment at the U.S consulate, I went to have a photo taken for the visa. When I got home, I compared the new visa photo to the visa photo taken two years ago. It was slightly traumatic.

The old photo was taken when I was at my lowest weight since I was twelve years old. Logically it’s not surprising that I was thin: I was vegan, being treated for depression, in the last semester of my B.A and working really hard, my mum had just been in a horrific car crash Wife (who was then Fiancee) had just returned to Canada and I was alone. My diet consisted of coke during the day and a plate of vegan poutine for dinner. If I was really hungry, I would eat a muffin for breakfast or a veggie burger or fries for lunch. Sometimes I would drink diet coke to try quash any rebellious hunger pangs.

Despite the horrific diet and depression, I was praised for my thinner frame by family members and strangers. When I went to the U.S consulate in Melbourne for my original visa appointment, the security guard who was checking passports looked at my two year old passport photo, compared it to me and exclaimed “Wow! You’ve lost a lot of weight! Good for you!” I was so pleased.

When I moved to Canada, I started eating meat and dairy. I also started to recover from depression and to work on issues related to low self esteem. However, I can only maintain a low weight through a vegan diet. So I’m happier. I’m also a lot heavier.

Some days I am able to cope with my fat body. Other days I cannot. On those days I berate myself for being fat and simultaneously feel like I failed as a lesbian and feminist.

See I know that my life is amazing despite the extra kilograms. I am married to an amazing person: Wife is kind, intelligent, beautiful and always there for me.  I have been to some stunning places: Victoria, Vancouver, Quebec, Montreal, Canmore, Banff, Kananaskis. I have been to chuckwagon races, pow wows, plays, queer film festivals, baptisms, galas, pubs and house parties. I have made awesome friends. And despite the bouts of homesickness and immigration stress, I have never been happier.

So why can’t I shake the feeling that life would be better if I was thinner?

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