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Human Parts
A publication about humanity from Medium: yours, mine, and ours.

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This Is Us

The comments section is key to understanding what many fat people are up against every day

A bunch of clothes hangers hanging on a rack against a neon red/orange background.
A bunch of clothes hangers hanging on a rack against a neon red/orange background.

I felt my breath shallow as I boarded my flight. My muscles tightened while I fumbled for my boarding pass. I cast my eyes down, careful not to make contact with my fellow passengers, lest I provoke their complaints. I had taken every precaution I could — brought my own seat belt extender, paid an extra $900 for a first-class ticket on a cross-country flight — but as a very fat person on a plane, there were no guarantees that I would reach my destination.

Bodies my size are routinely cause for passenger complaints, even when we do everything we…


It’s one thing to give up your body during play, but it is quite another to give up your mind

What follows is an account of consensual BDSM. It does not endorse or condone domestic abuse or intimate partner violence. If you or a loved one are struggling with domestic abuse, please reach out to The Domestic Violence Support Helpline by texting CONNECT to 741741.

Caleb was a fluke, a case of the right tongue at the right time. He was emotionally unavailable and I was on the rebound. But when he kissed me after our first dinner together, my body took over my decision making. …


Humans 101

Is it possible we’re not right about everything?

This story is part of the Internet Time Machine, a collection about life online in the 2010s.

There’s a fun game I like to play in a group of trusted friends called “Controversial Opinion.” The rules are simple: Don’t talk about what was shared during Controversial Opinion afterward and you aren’t allowed to “argue” — only to ask questions about why that person feels that way. Opinions can range from, “I think James Bond movies are overrated,” to, “I think Donald Trump would make an excellent president.”

Usually, someone responds to an opinion with, “Oh my god! I had no…


Mark was the stuff of dreams

Mark was the stuff of dreams. Kind, caring, attentive, enough to make all of my friends jealous. But today something happened, something horrible. Something I wouldn’t wish on even my worst enemy. I found out something about Mark that will forever change my opinion about him, and my ability to trust men has been forever shattered.

Shortly after dinner, my best friend Jessica called me and told me she had some information to share with me about Mark. I begged her to just tell me over the phone, but she insisted that it had to be in person. So we…


Internet Time Machine

The popular lip-dub app has a dark side

This story is part of the Internet Time Machine, a collection about life online in the 2010s.

My daughter is ten. She wants me to download the Musical.ly app on my phone so she can make funny lip-sync videos. Everyone has it, she whines, even the kid whose mom is an FBI agent/social worker/pediatrician/nun.

Wow. Well. In that case…

I download the app while she’s at school but it won’t let me explore without an account. I create a profile under Chardonaynay47, only to delete that and opt for something less momish — gummibear9.

One word sums up my experience…


Maybe wisdom is accepting that you don’t get to decide who you are

Apparently I am a meme now. This was brought to my attention a couple of weeks ago, when a friend forwarded me an internet post that superimposed a line from one of my essays over a cat’s face. It was a two-panel image, setup and punch line: In the first panel we see the words “the rewards of being loved” (cat appears to croak with feeble hope); in the second, “the mortifying ordeal of being known” (cat droops despondently). The same friend later forwarded me a number of variations on this theme using other meme templates: My words were put…


When depression is just one push notification away

We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!

— “The Hollow Men” by T.S. Eliot

I often get texts at 9 a.m. that scare me. I live in London now and, depending on the time zone, that’s around 3 a.m. in the U.S.

While I soberly eat some Greek yogurt (and maybe a banana), my phone vibrates on the table.

“Michael, I want to fucking kill myself.”

It could be anyone.

My heart starts pounding in my chest. …


My search for the true meaning behind a ’90s hit song

In 1997, The Verve Pipe’s “The Freshmen” hit the charts, gripping JNCO-wearing, Y2K-bug-fearing listeners from its weary opening statement: “When I was young I knew everything.”

In 1997, I was 10 years old. I had frizzy hair and wore denim shorts and tourist T-shirts and had suddenly grown taller than all of my classmates. I lived in a brick house in a lower-middle-class neighborhood in a small Texas town. No one I knew had a cell phone or a car phone, though I had seen Jerry Seinfeld use one on TV.

A year or so later, a man would…

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