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I Had to Leave

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It was November 2019, an ash-gray morning. The car smelled like gas. I was in a new school for 7th grade, and my mom was driving me there. Neither of us had eaten anything. I could tell she was stressed and angry. Suddenly she was shouting at me. I can’t remember why, but I remember […]

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Beautiful Now

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I’ve always thought that I was too fat, in part because my parents told me I was. My sister was also “chubby,” and my mom encouraged me to get her to diet with me. She’d say, “Let’s get our summer bodies ready!”   My dad was even more critical. Nothing was ever good enough for him. […]

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I Look, Therefore I Am?

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Names have been changed.  It was the day of my friend Amanda’s bat mitzvah. She was more of a recent friend, someone who, with my implicit permission, tended to degrade me on a daily basis. Nonetheless, I liked her, and at one of the final parties of the year-long bat mitzvah season, I wanted to […]

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Hershey and Her Pink Castle

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When I started middle school, there were a lot of things I didn’t like. I didn’t like the teachers. I didn’t like the building. Honestly, I didn’t even like the girl I saw in the mirror. She was quiet, self-conscious, and afraid of not fitting in.  But I loved our class pets. There were snakes, […]

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