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21. Philosophy student. Learning what it means to be a writer, one mistake at a time //

I never realized what he did to me.

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I’ve always tended to blame myself for everything wrong in the world.

Someone doesn’t like me? It must be because I’m a horrible person.

The adversities I faced? I probably deserved them.

My dysfunctional family? It’s my fault for ruining them.

So when my first college relationship didn’t go the way it should’ve, it’s not shocking I felt guilty.

I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t lovable beyond my body. I was a drunk, a slut, a disaster waiting to explode on anyone who loved me. I was a swirling hurricane of chaos and uncertainty.

But my perceptions changed because of…

Lockdown policies are driving up suicide rates to record-breaking numbers.

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The worst night of my life happened two years ago.

My hands trembled in the bitter January wind as I looked out across the water. The city in front of me, peaceful and calm at the late hour, seemed so far out of reach.

I believed the loneliness pulsating through my chest would never end; like the nineteen years I’d been alive was nineteen years too many.

And so I did it. I was drunk but steady as I climbed up the bridge’s ten-foot railing and over to the other side.

I’m lucky the cop showed up when he did…

Reflections from my 19-year-old self in rehab.

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I was cleaning my room when I found it: the old, purple composition notebook, stuffed in a storage container under my bed.

My rehab journal.

I pull it out and slowly skip through the pages of messy handwriting, remembering how much my hands shook during withdraws. It took almost two weeks for my body tremors to go away after I stopped drinking.

Most of my entries are careless, except for one towards the end. A letter I’d forgotten about, titled “Dear Alcohol,” instantly takes me back to the day I wrote it.

While the memory is only from a year…

How do I navigate my 20’s knowing I’ll never be normal?

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What. The. Fuck.

That was my first thought as my dermatologist burst into the consultation room. He seemed shocked, excited even, as he grabbed his phone from the counter.

“I found something!” He exclaimed. “Hold tight. I’ll be right back.”

The door slammed, rattling the walls, followed by silence. Muffled laughter came from the room next door. The paper crinkled underneath me as I shifted in my seat.

When he returned, he handed me an article explaining what he saw underneath his microscope and a diagnosis. “Monilethrix?”

He nodded. “Read it.”

The page shook with my hands as my eyes…

But then my high school teacher saw my pain, and saved me.

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I sensed that something was wrong before I started Kindergarten.

It wasn’t like my toddler years were traumatic. I had caring parents, countless friends, and every toy a kid could dream of. Yet, I felt like a puzzle piece that didn’t fit the picture.

So one day, my four-year-old self declared I’d be changing my name.

“Why?” My parents asked.

I shrugged, unable to explain how being Caelyn made me feel shameful, guilty, and inferior. People wouldn’t like me unless I became someone new.

After discussing it for months, my parents decided to let me go by my middle name…

These inspiring 2020 news stories will brighten your mood.

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As 2019 came to a close, my friends and I chatted about our aspirations for this century’s ‘roaring ‘20s.’ Gatsby-like parties, a booming economy, and new technologies painted our imaginations. As young, carefree adults, life was infinite — and we believed the next decade would be even better.

Needless to say, we were wrong.

This year’s chaos is still difficult to fathom. Society now mourns life before the pandemic; before the riots; before anxiety overshadowed each day. Losing faith is easy, especially when fear-mongering news stories bombard us 24/7.

But despite how bleak the world seems, 2020 is not hopeless…

But I turned my fear into power — here’s how.

Photo by Thought Catalog from Burst

If you asked me about feminism last year, here’s what I’d say:

  • Women can vote
  • My dad pays his female and male employees the same salary
  • It pisses people off, and I’m a people-pleaser
  • Case closed; I’ll never be a feminist.

I didn’t hate feminism, per se, although it felt unnerving. I sympathized with the movement, especially those coming forward with #metoo. But I resented the hashtag for reminding me of my own painful memories.

Pretending I didn’t care about my past was easier. No one could hurt me except my own damn self, I believed.

But I was terrified…

My femininity is fading, but I refuse to let my disease define me.

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I woke up this morning drenched in sweat and gasping for breath.

Panicking, I untangled myself from my sheets and scrambled to the mirror. Once I realized I still had hair, my pounding chest calmed down, and I collapsed back into bed.

It was just a nightmare, I reassured myself.

In my dream, I was on stage in front of thousands of people. Suddenly, my hair starts falling out in clumps around me. The crowd gawks as my biggest secret is exposed, and their paralyzing stares leave me unable to flee from the humiliation.

But this was more than a…

It’s time for us to speak for ourselves — and we need you to listen.

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I spent 16 hours and 48 minutes on TikTok this week, according to my iPhone.

But believe it or not, my average is low compared to others in my generation. My sister reached over 30 hours a few weeks ago. A girl on my FYP (‘For You Page’) claims she hit 96 hours once. I’m a little skeptical, but she did post a screenshot as proof.

It might seem like Generation Z doesn’t take life seriously. After all, we invented “ok boomer” and Debby Ryan memes. We’re young, too — most of us can’t even (legally) drink alcohol yet.


I felt both powerful and helpless — and I loved it.

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My body shivers as I undress and step on the scale.

I look at the number. Shit.

I’ve lost weight this month, putting me at a meager 90 pounds. I’ve been down here before. I know how dangerous it is, how one wrong move can cause the Earth to crumble beneath me.

But I’m different now. I’m better. I don’t read Anorexia blogs, starve myself, or equate my weight with my self-worth anymore. Yet, a tiny thought crosses my mind. “Just five more,” it whispers. “Imagine how powerful you’d feel. Maybe then you’d actually like yourself.

Although losing weight sounds…

Caelyn Grace

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