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she/her. writer. storyteller. impatient optimist. greater fool. fat queer. @melloftheball.

We could have changed things, but we got caught up in returning to normal.

Photo by Daniel Ali on Unsplash

I am at my weakest emotionally when I am with friends and we have been walking and I have to stop. It is excruciating when they don’t stop to wait for me but somehow it is almost worse when they do. The most recent time it happened I nearly cried when my friend paused to wait for me to catch up.

“Please don’t wait for me,” I muttered, pushing back tears. “I’m fine.”

It was 78 degrees with 62 percent humidity and it was starting to rain. I had pulled something in my calf. My feet were bloated because I…

The April 1st SVU and Organized Crime Crossover proves a decade apart brought only good things.

The way the pandemic changed me is not at all what I initially anticipated.

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I used to reference silver linings as a joke. I thought that’s what they were — sarcastic ways to say “I guess it’s not so bad” and keep yourself from falling off the deep end. People would often laugh, and I learned to say the phrase with a low chuckle to make sure they knew that I was kidding (and also depressed but trying to push through).

In late 2019, I sat in a Panera with someone I hoped would mentor me and finally told them that the thing I really wanted, the passion that hid behind the wall I…

The last year (plus) has revealed more about who we are and how we treat each other than ever before.

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The night of the 2020 election, I was alone. It was the first election in 7 years that I had spent alone, on my couch, watching the returns. None of it felt real — the lack of pomp and circumstance, the way the CNN reporters talked about the election, or me, wearing a Kamala sweatshirt and sandwiched between dogs in East Tennessee. When the results finally came in several days later, that didn’t feel real either.

The American Psychological Association defines trauma as “an emotional response to a terrible event.” While most definitions reference specific events (natural disaster, car accident…

Our continued othering of fat people is getting old.

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I don’t know why I am surprised by this. I shouldn’t be — I’ve been the subject of fat jokes and the receiver of diet and exercise advice since the fifth grade. And yet here I am, 32 years old and surprised.

Surprised is maybe the wrong word. To tell you the truth, I’m not surprised at all. Part of me is astounded we’re still doing this but most of me has just reached the peak of frustration. …

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My parents divorced when I was 10, which was when my anxiety and depression first really appeared. Unable to control what was happening to my family, I controlled what I consumed. I progressed rapidly into a binge-eating disorder that stuck around until I finally found the right therapist, and even then it just began to manifest in different ways. (I also had undiagnosed ADHD, but that’s a story for a different time.)

A month ago, I moved across the country after losing my job in May to see what direction my life could take in a different state. Since arriving…

Photo from Chadwick Boseman on Twitter.

When the news first broke about Chadwick Boseman’s death, it came with an AP article that had a broken link. I thought it was a mistake. Someone must have posted something incorrectly, right?

Then I realized the original tweet had come from AP’s twitter account, so it couldn’t be incorrect. Within minutes, it was all over Twitter, and his social media accounts had the announcement too. In the flash of a moment, a 43-year-old Black man no one know was ill was just … gone.

As a consumer of art, the loss of a talented actor like Boseman is devastating…

The way intimacy and love both terrify and excite me is taking a toll on my self-esteem.

Photograph taken by Melissa Boles

I am 32 years old, and I’ve only had sex with one person.

Well, two if you count the guy I met on the Internet who was in an “open relationship” but stopped penetrating me once we discovered I was unexpectedly menstruating. He was worried it would get on the sheets and then his girlfriend would know. The rush I had been anticipating was immediately replaced with one of regret.

With the exception of that unsatisfying incident last year, it’s been … a long time since I’ve had sex. …

Inspired Writer Contest Finalist

When my mental health consumes me, it is the stories I find in art that help me breathe differently

Photo by David Iskander on Unsplash

I cannot remember a time in my life when I did not love a good story. My parents began reading to me at a young age, and I picked it up on my own pretty early. Soon you could find me making up my own stories with dolls or trying to navigate the world with a book in front of my face. At some point my parents stopped sending me to my room when I was in trouble because that’s where all my books were and it was where I would rather be.

My favorite moments of the day were…

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

She’s 16 when he first meets her, standing across from him at the wood measuring station in her fathers hardware store, laughing. The door to his mothers room won’t close right anymore, not since the paramedics had to break it down. He needs to fix it. He has no idea how.

“What are you even trying to do?” She says, watching him stare at measurements he scribbled on his palm. He’s been back three times.

“I just need to replace the door frame on my parents’ bedroom,” he mutters, trying to make out whether one of the blue marks on…

Melissa Boles

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