dark hands with wrinkles
dark hands with wrinkles

My fingertips move, then hesitate, as though they might shrivel up before me, recede into my knuckles, or disappear. My ex-partner told me a disturbed mental state is a product of refusing to leave the past behind. He felt past harms should be forgotten. But maybe I struggle because, for a long time, I could not bear the past’s truths: he abused me, and sadly that makes me a survivor of abuse. And while it kills me to talk about it, if I don’t talk about it, it will kill me.

On December 11th, the New York Times published an…


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Photo by jurien huggins on Unsplash

At my local off-price department store a few months back, I rummaged through a small clearance rack for a new cell phone case. The options here, brand-name items at a discount, are often disorganized. There were full-priced cases mixed with sale ones with little regard to what type of phone or model they belonged to. Some cases hung haphazardly on their respective hooks, some no longer hung at all. I picked up a clear, hard plastic case with a delicate rose print that did not have the necessary label, just a “$5.99” sticker hanging by a thin clear t-shaped tag.


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Photo by Mika Brandt on Unsplash

On a good day, I am an average-sized fish in an average-sized lake, with fins just strong enough to get by. There is no tide in a lake, not much adventure. I simply exist.

On a bad day, I am not a fish at all. I am a single blade of grass ripped away, lost in an ocean, which drags me further away from where and what I am meant to be.

On a good day, I wake up with enough time to shower. But, most days, I won’t. Survival requires simplicity, so not doing something I once considered essential…


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Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash

There is new information coming out about coronavirus every day. However, the problem facing many of us now is not fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath. It’s that a lot of the information being spread is not true.

What is coronavirus, and what has been its toll?

  • Coronaviruses can cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold (meaning many of us have already had a coronavirus) to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 first appeared in Wuhan, China…


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Photo by Piotr Wilk on Unsplash

Sometimes I say ‘sorry’ for no reason: when I have to squeeze by someone in tight spaces, in situations where I almost bump into someone, even when someone else bumps into me. ‘Sorry’ rolls out of my mouth before I can assess whether I am to blame because no matter the issue, women are accustomed to bearing the burden.

While walking on the sidewalk in front of my house at age 13, an older man driving alone in a car pulled over and asked me to get in. He said something about wanting to take me for a ride so…


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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Congratulations! You just finished your last midterm exam. Now the end of the semester is rushing towards you. There are research papers and problem set deadlines approaching. You have five internships to apply to by mid-December. And when all of that’s over, you can return home to a different breed of stress: lectures from your parents on what you should or shouldn’t be doing with your life and your grandma incessantly probing you on why you haven’t brought a “nice gentleman friend” home to meet her. The days are getting shorter and colder, darkness drags on, and seasonal depression is…


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Photo by Joshua Fuller on Unsplash

I stood in a grocery store aisle deciding between slivered almonds and crushed ones when I noticed a store associate standing in my peripheral vision for a while. A few minutes into our conversation that began when he approached to offer his help, I realized the man wasn’t wearing a Stop&Shop apron. It turns out he didn’t work there at all. He told me he had been watching me, and just knew he had to talk to me.

When I moved towards the registers, the man poured out compliments, his voice filled with desperation: that I was beautiful, stunning, there…


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My professor assigned a film that contained rape scenes for a homework assignment and I don’t hate him for it. But maybe I have a right to. At the time, he simply told us we should try watching with a friend in case the “sensitive content” was upsetting. Some may argue that this professor should have done more. Others will argue that he should have done less.

Harvard psychologists recently released a study which found:

“Trigger warnings increase peoples’ perceived emotional vulnerability to trauma and [they] increase peoples’ belief that trauma survivors are vulnerable.”

Now, before we burn these researchers…

Michaella Henry

Storyteller, scholar, feminist, writer of prose and code.

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