Rachel B.

What's your story?

I'm a socialist, intersectional feminist writer and overindulgent dog owner.

Can I promote my Medium page?

(Jen: YES!) Rachel's Medium writing page you should check out HERE.

I also just lost my brother very suddenly this March, which doesn't define me but also does in many ways. He was my only sibling. We were very different but still very close, and I miss him every single day.

What makes you nervous about having your portrait taken?

I have had body image issues since childhood. I've been fat since age two; I still struggle owning the word "fat." On top of worries about my weight, I'm also at the age where it's hard not to worry about "looking old." I'm starting to develop what they call marionette lines on my face. I have a very difficult time seeing photos of myself without thinking about how big I look, or how old, and showing that to others is definitely difficult.

Can I share some of your images?

Sure! Just maybe... not TOO much boob and skin on social media? hahahahaha

What do you love doing that makes you feel kick ass?

Theatre and lifting weights. I write plays and do a lot with local group The Manhattan Project Cleveland, which always provides me with fun, creative, new experiences. Also, I just hit a personal leg press record of 400 pounds! (And yes, I go to the gym regularly and I'm still fat, hahahahaha. Bodies aren't algebra equations!)

What inspired your portraits?

My photographer! But no, seriously, I liked being "directed" like a model or actor in the shots, because my perspective of myself and my appearance are clearly different than others'. It's really awesome to be able to see me how other people see me; it's not often that you get that opportunity.

What bad ass women inspire you?

My Gramma Jackie and Aunt Nancy. Gramma Jackie was the daughter of Sicilian immigrants and survived polio, spousal abuse and a subsequent divorce that went against the normal Catholic doctrine, and being a single mom. She made gnocci and cookies but also was a hardcore Trekkie. She loved every and any sci-fi show. She also taught me to savor and value small things; every visit to her apartment, even if we were just going to the grocery store, was special.

My Aunt Nancy was actually my great-aunt and godmother. She was raised Irish Protestant, and not only decided to convert to Catholicism but became a nun in college! She chose Sister Mary Nelson as her name, in memory of her brother who died in his twenties. She got a master's in biology and became a science teacher at Magnificat in Rocky River. She ended up leaving the convent when her mother superior restricted her and her sisters' access to news and information, because she felt she couldn't adequately help her students without that, but she remained Catholic for her entire life.

Also, I adore Lizzo. She is everything.

Any Other Comments?

There's only one rule that I know of, babies- "God damn it, you've got to be kind."- Kurt Vonnegut