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For a long time, I was afraid of travelling alone. So afraid of it in fact, that even travelling with a cute stranger seemed like a better option than facing all the potentially scary situations that came with travelling alone. There were just too many what ifs involved.

What if I got lost? My sense of direction is not the best. What if I was robbed, or worse, sexually harassed or even raped?

Who you are is not set in stone.

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When I started studying engineering, I thought there would be a fundamental identity shift. After all, how could I study engineering, if I did not become an engineer? There were many clichés in my head but somehow nothing seemed to change. I would sit in my engineering lectures, secretly reading French classics, wishing that studying literature had been as stable an option as engineering.

Only after three years of studying engineering, I noticed a shift. Suddenly, I started referring to myself as an engineer. Jokingly at first, then seriously, and eventually, it became something to hide behind.

Identities provide us…

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I’m never quite sure about the rule that says you need half of the amount of time you dated someone for to get over them. I’m not sure where it came from but most of all I’m unsure of its validity. It’s made me feel guilty for pining too long and also made me wonder how I was able to get over a four-year relationship within a week. Was I just being cold?

The truth I’ve found for myself is that every breakup is different. Sometimes, you can get over a long relationship quickly because the breakup was so long…

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The water was cold, the soap was in my eyes and the shark was coming closer. “Now,” the guys on the boat yelled and we dived, completely submerging ourselves in the freezing water to get a better view of the big sharks.

As the shark approached, I was trying to focus, to be in the moment, to truly appreciate how special the opportunity was. Instead, I just felt a little cold and very scared.

What if the shark got past the cage and I ended up losing a limb? …

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My friend used to refer to Ben as “so ridiculous that you just have to love him.” I’d shake my head at her but had to agree. Ben is the very definition of a drama queen and while he can laugh at his own drama, he doesn’t always like it when other people do so.

Everything in his life is somehow more complicated than it needs to be but at the same time he gets happy about the smallest of things. He’ll be sitting in his room, depressed about the bad weather and worrying about the state of his life…

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Her hair went to her waist, falling in perfect, healthy ringlets. How had she managed to get her curly hair so long? Mine just seemed to take forever to grow and “little trims” had a way of setting me back, ensuring that I never got anywhere near the length I wanted.

“Your hair is gorgeous,” I told her, as she turned to look at me, her eyes widening with surprise. When she realised that I’d really just intended to pay her a compliment, her face lit up. The shy surprise was replaced by a huge smile as she thanked me.

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Berlin is a beautiful city. It’s filled with people of all different cultures and their coming together creates a certain kind of energy. Everyone is free to be who they are without being judged and the city is filled with green areas. Overall, it’s a great place to be. In summer.

In winter, everything turns grey. It feels like the sky has suddenly fallen and turned into a dark, cloudy mess right above our heads. The sun has gone on vacation and seasonal depression sets in. …

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The first time my parents took me to see a dermatologist, I was about 12. I was excited because I knew it would all be okay after the visit. She would give me a cream and my skin problems would disappear, never to be seen again.

She did give me a cream and my skin started peeling. There were fewer pimples and the cleanser she gave me seemed to help as well. The only problem was that my skin burned when I cleaned it and that the pimples never seemed to disappear completely.

The peeling cream could dry out the…

Eating the rainbow doesn’t have to be as hard as it may seem

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Vegetables aren’t exactly my friends. Whenever I try to google how to get my 5 a day, I end up shaking my head. I’m not a big fan of carrots and I don’t love hummus enough to transform them by adding it. I’m also not a salad person. It doesn’t seem very useful to spend such a long time eating something that I don’t find very tasty.

These thoughts left me in a lurch. How was I supposed to get 5 a day if I could barely come up with 5 vegetables I liked? I loved the idea of eating…

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Clutter is tricky because it blends into the background without disappearing entirely. The pile of papers on my desk has been there for such a long time that I didn’t actively notice it anymore but it still filled me with dread. One day I would have to deal with it.

The clothes on the bathroom floor were there because in the moment it had felt like the responsible decision to worry about one less thing and go to bed. Sleep is important, isn’t it?

Hannah Victoria

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