Image Description: Photo of a plate with a half-eaten-muffin in paper and a fork on it. Source: Conger Design on Pixabay

Misconceptions about Eating Disorders

A common misconception about anorexia is that anorexics never eat. They survive on sticks of sugar-free gum, cups of coffee and cans of Diet Coke. While you may never see your anorexic friend or loved one eat, I assure you that they probably do. A better statement might be, then, that anorexics never eat enough. The human body can only survive for so long with no nourishment at all, and so anorexia involves a delicate, dangerous balance. How little is too little? How much is enough?

Those are questions that occupy our thoughts, often obsessively. When I was younger, I…

I Want to Get Pregnant

Image Description: Photo of a woman holding her bare, pregnant belly. Source: Pixabay on Pexels

When I was three years old I told my family that when I grew up, I wanted to own a pizza parlor and have 36 kids. I’m not sure where the number came from, but I know the pizza parlor ambition had a lot to do with how much fun it looked like to toss pizza dough. At three, I wasn’t aware of how nightmarish 36 births sounds, nor was I thinking about how I could possibly support that many children. Probably, it was a big, even number, which I liked, and I needed help at the pizza place. …

Image Description: A hiker stands at an edge, looking out over a forest. Source: Andrew Neel on Pexels

How Writing Helps Me Challenge My Eating Disorder

The edge of relapse is a highly recognizable one. I wake up in the morning certain that all I want for the whole day is a good cup of coffee. With cream, which I can afford, since I’m not having anything else. Scratch that, what I really want is a good cup of coffee and a cigarette. I pad into the kitchen to make that coffee and handle the dishes in the sink. A wave of nausea crashes into me as I think about everything I ate yesterday. It’s embarrassing and frustrating.

Image Description: Photo of a pen writing the word “CRYING” and drawing a frowning face with a tear. Source: Fathromi Ramdlon on Pixabay

After I posted an essay recently about an abusive experience I had growing up, I was seized with guilt and panic. I still have a relationship with my mother and not only do not I think she would remember the incident as I do (she never does), but I know she would never understand the impetus to write about it publicly. I don’t write about my experiences with trauma or abuse to shame the people involved. In fact, that’s part of why I don’t write under my legal name.

Rather, I write about these things in an attempt to process…

Image Description: Close up photo of a round light bulb, barely glowing. Source: Pixabay on Pexels.

How I recognized an abusive situation

I know the moment when I knew something was wrong, when the gaslight flared and I could see my life for what it was. I was seventeen and borrowing my dad’s car to go see a friend perform in our school musical. You didn’t want me to go, and you were angry. Maybe you had plans you hadn’t told me about. Maybe you didn’t want me spending time with friends. Maybe you just didn’t want anyone leaving the nest that night and my resolve to do so enraged you. Either way, the confrontation happened in our kitchen. …

Image Description: Photo of the top half of a cat’s face, showing big green eyes, against a black background. Source: Ever Blackwell on Pixabay

Awhile back I made the mistake of looking up people I started college with. Most of them are easy enough to find. Their Facebook profile pictures are full of bouncing babies, their LinkedIn pages are impressive, intimidating even. I rarely bother with Instagram because even this preliminary searching gets me down. In the 18 years since my freshman year of college, my life seems to have taken more sideways, backward and downward turns than any of theirs. I’m not a regretful person, nor am I a resentful one. …

Image Description: Black and white photo of a man and a woman looking at each other. The man is smoking, the woman is holding her chin in one hand. Source: Pixabay on Pexels

Here’s why I believe in self-publishing.

I don’t submit to literary journals because I don’t like waiting weeks or months to hear that someone didn’t like my work enough to print or post it. While that probably sounds petulant and like I don’t understand writing as a career, I think my dislike of the submissions process is more a result of surviving a lot of emotional abuse than it is about wanting my way all the time. As writers, we hear all the time that publishing is some kind of crucible, that we emerge stronger and more focused having been burned hundreds if not thousands of…

How Traditional Activism Shuts Out Disabled People

Image Description: Photo of a covered pathway blocked by two striped barriers. Source: Lucas Souza on Pexels

Some people say that one person can’t possibly change the world. Others argue that one person can make a difference. But what if you can’t get the world to call you back?

I have been increasingly alarmed and motivated by the sociopolitical chaos continuously erupting here in the US. I write to my representatives regularly, but that never feels like enough. I want to participate in activism around the causes I’m passionate about. Unfortunately, I’m also disabled, and when I make that clear to groups that organize that activism, I get ghosted. …

Image Description: Caked, cracked dry dirt in close up. Source: Francesco Ungaro on Pexels

Dirt floods in under the door, spreading across the floor like a deconstructed carpet: the idea of a carpet. Footprints. It covers bookshelves and tabletops, lines the frames of windows, gathers in corners and grinds into grout. Dirt grimes our fingernails, cakes our tongues, dries our eyes and chokes us. We cough, and clouds of dust hang for a moment before sifting to the ground.

We stuff the cracks with towels and bandanas. I sweep and sweep and sweep but the dirt creeps in.

I dream of drowning in brown dust. It pours into my mouth and stuffs my nose…

People are surprised to hear that I wear a size 16. The most common reaction is to deny it. “No, you can’t!” they shrill, stepping back to evaluate my figure. “No way.” I know that this is meant to be some kind of compliment, that they are trying to make me feel better about myself by insisting that my body isn’t That Big, but I find the incredulity insulting. I also find it tiresome to have to explain over and over again that yes, I do wear that size. …

Qamar Medina

Writer, monstrous fae keeper, secret ballerina. Writing, mental health, identity, fiction, the occasional poem.

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