My Disability Does Not Define Me

My Disability Does Not Define Me

In School people always assumed that the reason I am in a wheelchair is because of an accident. And whenever I spokeup the conversation Stoppedin its tracks. Like most girls I hadinsecurities, but my insecurities are ones I could never hide from. Iremember just wanting to fit in like everyone else. Especially, when I hit middle school. Up until that point, Ihadfelt like every other kid my age. 

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Growing up with Cerebral Palsy

Growing up with Cerebral Palsy

My name is Juliana Ruggiero.I’m eighteenand have Spastic Cerebral Palsy. My story begins in 1999. I was a fragile preemie who weighed only 3.10 pounds. My parents were not able to hold me when I was first born. Instead, I was taken away to the NICU.

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Dear Laura

Dear Laura

I love you my friend.  I love that I even get the chance to call you my friend.  The special closeness that we have is such a foreign concept to so many and I will never take it for granted. 

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For E

For E

Can you remember our first time? We barely knew each other. Back then, we didn’t even carpool. 

I’ve always hated mom dating - the elusive art of trying to make new parent friends. It is hard enough fully clothed and on land. What was I thinking inviting you to the pool?

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Five Cookies

Five Cookies

Fingers curled around the cold edge of the kitchen sink; I hold on with the hope that I can outlast the temptation radiating from a flimsy grocery store cookie box. Inside are five, ordinary chocolate chip cookies that look more amazing than the ever-loving galaxy. I imagine my teeth sinking into the dough, dividing it cleanly into morsels of flavor washing over my tongue sending streaks of pleasure up into my brain.

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Size Matters

Size Matters

My name is Kelli J Gavin. I am 42 years old.  I have been 5'10" since I was 12 years old and I am a plus size woman.  All of the quotes above have been said to my face by others. And I have probably heard another thousand comments about my appearance, stature and size.

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You're Supposed to be Suffering

You're Supposed to be Suffering

It’s hot. I’m wearing an old tye-dye dress and sneakers, my bangs stuck to my sweaty forehead. Photographs will later reveal I have the sort of bowl haircut stylists default to when you’re too young to know what you want, and your parents just want something cheap that won’t get gum stuck in it. I’ve come to a standstill on the sidewalk to watch a mosquito bite my bare calf.

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Skin Suit

Skin Suit

I never felt comfortable saying “my body” or “the body”; it never felt like mine, yet it also seemed more personal than “the.” Growing up, it was commented on: you’re so skinny, so petite, what a tiny peanut, you should really eat more, better hang on to that figure. No one ever said anything about my 4.0 Grade Point Average, the poetry contests I won, or the dreams I had of escaping the life of expected bodily perfection. The taut form of my body was the accomplishment that mattered most. I was nothing more than a skinny girl who happened to be smart. Rewards came from my body, not from my mind. Compliments were paid to my tiny waist, not my intellectual pursuits. I wrapped my identity tightly in others' recognition.

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The Family Nest

The Family Nest

Even in the musty Catskills cottage my parents rented during the summer I was coming of age, their bed was the place we went to heal. Even as tiny satin ballet slippers hung from the mahogany headboard and a pink chenille spread covered it, like a sticky sweet frosting, this lumpy mattress was where we found succor.

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I-O-U

I-O-U

Cameron, my boyfriend of six months, sits across from me in the cheap Canton Chinese restaurant we always eat at. The white-walled empty space fills with light through the windows and wood tables are vacantly spread out throughout. We look at each other blankly. The only sounds that come out our mouths are loud chews and slurps of stir-fry noodles hitting our lips with a long, hungry uncomfortableness.

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The Modern Art of Loving Yourself

The Modern Art of Loving Yourself

Modern love doesn’t mean that it is a type of love we haven’t seen before, but it does mean that it’s a love that is still seen as radical by those it encounters. It makes people look twice when they see you walking down the street. It makes your friends comment “I’m so happy for you!” on your Instagram pics. It both surprises and entangles everyone it meets, creating an aura that they begin to crave as well. It’s the type of love they should really be making potions for.

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Stop Taking Your Pills

Stop Taking Your Pills

Let’s be honest: you’re not going to make collages or collect lucky pennies. That seems like a waste of time. You do, however, eat a weed brownie and read Claudia Rankine’s Citizen in one sitting at a bar. You wear high heels every day you teach so your students know what’s up. You get a birth control device implanted in your arm so you don’t have to remember to take pills.

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My First True Love: A Modern Love Story

My First True Love: A Modern Love Story

I met him for the first time at my friend’s house, and it was love at first sight. His bright green eyes were captivating, and he wouldn’t leave my side the entire time I was there. He purred in my lap, fell asleep on my chest as I chatted with my friend. “He’s perfect,” I told her. I had always wanted a cat, and I found the one that would become my baby. 

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