Spotlight: “In Pursuit of a Better Me”

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The feeling of wanting to become a better version of one’s self—of wanting to be a thinner and more beautiful self—is often a toxic feeling. In the past, I have struggled with my body weight and the ways in which I eat. I thought I needed to eat less or suppress my cravings for foods considered unhealthy. How could I achieve happiness if I ate junk food?

Over time, I realized that many of the issues I had around my body and eating were harmful to my mental health. I also realized that these unhealthy thoughts were not a personal failing but largely due to capitalistic diet and wellness industries and our patriarchal society that pushes an unrealistic beauty standard on women.

This comic is my attempt to depict my own experiences and thoughts around these issues. In this comic, the protagonist is fictional, but I imagine that her feelings about and struggles with her body are truly real, and a shared experience for many women.

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Sam Nakahira is a Grinnell College graduate and MFA student at the Center for Cartoon Studies. Her comics have been published by Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Spiralbound, and Popula. She is editor-in-chief of Threads that Connect Us, a comics anthology for AAPI artists. She writes about things that interest her: food, relationships, history, and her observations about daily living. A major theme of her historical and nonfiction comics is giving credit to many Asian Americans for their historical contributions to the US. She self-published a graphic novel around the history of a Japanese American food retailer named Bill Fujimoto. More from this author →