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Dear Bullies,

I’ve wanted to write You this letter for years, but only now have I the words to articulate myself authentically. Only now, at the age of twenty-nine, have I the understanding of what has been wrong all these years. The right term for why You found me odd that first day in the playground. When I talked too much and You laughed at me and called me names. I told You too much about myself, naively thinking that You would understand. …

Once upon a time there was a woman who was content with her body, never went on a diet, and lived happily ever after, the end. Does that sound like a familiar story to you? No, me neither.

I have always been thin. Thin enough, at least. Sometimes tentatively straddling the line between slim and chunky. But always thin. And then I was really, really skinny for a time. In 2018 I stopped drinking alcohol. Weight fell off me as though I’d developed a speed addiction overnight. And then I went vegan and my figurative speed habit turned to meth…

Are you familiar with the Black Mirror episode Men Against Fire? Season three, episode five. For those of you who aren’t, it depicts a dystopian future in which soldiers are fighting and killing ‘zombies’. Only it turns out they aren’t zombies, but human beings. The soldiers have been fitted with implants that remove their empathy — some might call it humanity — by showing the targeted human beings as roaches (or zombies). A therapist tells the soldier who’s implant seems to be faltering, that most soldiers don’t shoot to kill, but rather aim for the space above their enemies’ heads.

The issue of refugees seems to be quite the nation divider. People appear vehemently for or vehemently against those seeking asylum in our country.

It’s something I find painfully impossible to get my head around. The fact that those fleeing war-torn countries might be turned away. I can’t understand how anyone could look at the picture of a man clutching his child and crying, and make the decision not to help. …

Eminem performing at the opening gala of the Experience Music Project


What would you say if I asked you whether your life contains anything appropriated from another culture? If you think that everything in your life is authentic then you might be unaware of how many foreign traditions could be present in your life, due to cultural appropriation. Each time you go to a yoga class, you’re exercising a once sacred practise. Tramp stamps? A tribal tradition long before it became a symbol of the stereotypical ‘loose’ woman. And the shisha you love to smoke in that crowded bar on a Saturday night, is a tradition taken from the Middle…

At Christmas, I met up with the man who raped me eight years ago. I’ve sat on the conversation I had with him for seven months, telling few people about it, and never writing it down. It has felt too personal a tale to send out into the world. But now I have had time to process it, I feel I ought to get it penned on paper.

I learned a lot that day, as I nervously sipped my steaming mug of black coffee, sitting opposite a man I hadn’t seen in years. A stranger, he seemed, despite the fact…

I have always been thin. Thin enough, at least. Sometimes I’ve been chunky. Like when I was travelling in Australia and drank heavy, red wine whilst battling a binge eating problem. I was depressed and my weight seemed to be the devil on my shoulder telling me I was worthless and ugly. How much I weighed became an insidious obsession. It kept me up at night and had me dressing in baggy clothes. I’d stare at myself in the mirror, willing something else to look back at me. I felt so uncomfortable in my own skin.

My entire life revolved…

All lives matter

You cry

While Muslims cower in fear

Abused, segregated, lynched

All lives matter

You shout

As Yemenites scream for sanctuary

And you refuse refugees

All lives matter

You deplore

Yet you sexualise women

And the patriarchy thrives

All lives matter

You type

Inside the safety

That white skin grants

Where were your shouts

When a man begged for breath?

Where were your declarations

When a woman was raped?

Where are your donations

When war steals the screams of a child?

If all lives matter

Do something

Hannah Cross

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