In the midst of global adversity, is it still possible to find hope?

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In the past month, all across the globe, the novel coronavirus has changed the course of daily human life.

I don’t need to explain to you what’s happening. In all likelihood, as you are reading this Medium article, your phone is lighting up with dozens of news notifications; your family and friends are sending you “checking in” texts; and your subconscious is buzzing with anxieties. It seems that suddenly, COVID-19 is all that people can think about. So, you don’t need me, an average 23-year-old American girl with limited medical knowledge, to tell you about the state of our society.

What if we allowed ourselves to question?

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Before I start this essay, I’d like you to think: if we lived in a society in which there were no expectations as to who you love; if same-sex relationships elicited no judgment or criticism; if everyone was raised to believe they can sleep with and partner with whoever they desire — would you explore more than you are now?

I know I would.

Let’s Start at the Beginning

I first thought about sexual pleasure when I was very young. Maybe kindergarten. I know what you’re thinking: disgusting! Why on earth would you admit that?! But, though this might come as a surprise to you…

Why The Internet’s Most Ridiculed Genre Is More Valuable Than You Think

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Edit 1/25/2020: I want to clarify that all the opinions stated in this piece are solely my own, and that I in no way claim to be representative of the fanfiction community as a whole. I am simply one member of a massive population of writers and readers, who each have their own reasons for seeking out fandoms — whether that be for humor, writing practice, character explorations, sexual empowerment, etcetera. I also do not represent the entire queer, feminist population. For me, fanfiction was a way of becoming comfortable both with my femininity and with my bisexuality, which is…

How I finally learned to embrace my open heart

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A couple weeks ago, while out for coffee with a new friend, I had a moment of enlightenment.

My friend, Sarah, was talking about how she can’t handle Disneyland anymore. “The crowds make me too nervous,” she said. “When someone so much as brushes past my arm, I yelp like a freaking puppy. It’s annoying. But I guess since I’m an HSP, this makes sense.”

“A what?”

“Highly Sensitive Person. You’ve never heard of it?”

She pulled up an article on her phone from Psychology Today, which I quickly skimmed:

“High sensitivity can be defined as acute physical, mental, and emotional responses to external (social, environmental) or internal (intra-personal) stimuli…”

As I read on, flashbacks from my past…

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People ask me sometimes: “Why do you do it?” (Binge, that is.) “I mean… you look great. You seem healthy. I just don’t get it.”

I can never come up with a simple answer.

But here is my attempt.

To begin: I was a chubby child.

And, no, I don’t mean that in a degrading sense. I’m not ashamed. It’s just a fact. I had cheeks the size of tennis balls, a “coconut-head”-style haircut; and a persistent, wide-mouthed smile. Everything about me was round.

In retrospect, I was pretty darn cute. But of course, at the time, I didn’t see it that way.

Rather, I saw myself as oversized and un-proportional. I constantly felt like other kids were staring at me, annoyed at how much…

Caffeinating a community is tougher than you’d think.

Disclaimer — For privacy, I didn’t include the name of this cafe, changed the names of its guests, and omitted identifying details.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

For years, I wondered what it might be like to work as a barista.

When I was in high school, my friends and I would stop by the local cafe after marching band practice to grab milkshakes and iced matcha lattes. There, I would ogle at the baristas, in all their plaid-shirt, blue-bandana, horn-rimmed glasses glory. I would watch with wide-eyed fascination as they called out the customers by name (“Hey, Rob! How’s Josephine doing? Med school kicking…

Lily Kairis

Lover of yoga, Frank Ocean, podcasts, & dark chocolate. Believer in radical empathy. Writing about my young adulthood, one messy struggle at a time.

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