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Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

I don’t know what finally gave me the courage, but I knew I wanted out. I was tired of being trapped, ruled by the cellophane wrapped bundles of Brazilian curly and Remi straight, number 1B. I felt like an addict — a slave to weave. My drug dealer was an affable Korean man in his 40’s who ran a beauty supply store in a run-down mall downtown. He had an impressive knowledge of all things extensions, from texture to length to what color would be best to experiment with; honey blonde and deep maroon was flattering for my skin tone…


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Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

The room reeks of urine. The wooden floor is ashen and weathered as if it had been neglected for decades. It looks nothing like the lacquered mahogany spread throughout the rest of the three-bedroom apartment. For some reason I feel like laughing. I’m tickled by my own boldness, to take this leap into the unknown only to find myself standing in a room that smells like pee. Outside the threshold, Daniel and Rebecca share a chipper mien as if the acrid smell surrounding us isn’t stinging their noses too. Maybe they’ve become used to it and don’t notice it.

Rebecca…


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Photo by Eugene Kozhevnikov on Unsplash

The table consists of a small circular glass slab supported by a wrought iron base with feet that curl upward. Four woven place mats are neatly arranged beneath a stack of heavy, lacquered ceramic plates in descending order: dinner plate, salad plate, bread and butter plate. Cloth napkins stand stiff tucked into matching cups that rest on top. At the center of the table, there’s a bronze, plastic vase filled with an overwhelming bouquet of artificial foliage. Painted plastic leaves and synthetic flower petals gush forth nearly touching the surface of the thick glass. …


Just because we’ve all gone through it doesn’t make it normal — or okay.

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Photo by Tinuke Bernard on Unsplash

I was 8 years old and was supposed to be cleaning my room.

Instead, I was playing with my new Totally Hair Barbie. Her brown, ankle-length, crimped hair and blue psychedelic mini-dress are still vivid in my mind to this day. After a while, when my mom came to check on my progress and saw that my room was still a clutter of toys and clothes and other detritus, she became livid. She snatched my beloved Barbie from my hands and hit me with it several times as she scolded me. When she left the room I solemnly got back…


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Photo by Barbara Alçada on Unsplash

My alarm goes off at five a.m. I force myself to get up. I need to pray before the sun rises, but the one-year old sleeping next to me threatens to wake up. He’s squirming and moaning just as I try to crawl out of our shared bed. I lay back down and gently pat his back hoping he goes back to sleep. Five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes go by. I want to do some yoga too. Twenty minutes. He’s finally still. I sneak out of the bedroom with bated breath. It’s still dark outside. …


The Inhabitants of the 5th Floor

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Photo by Anthony Fomin on Unsplash

“Assalamma laykum”, he says as he saunters into the elevator, his gait askew, his voice low and gravelly as if his throat is home to a million little rocks. His jaw moves in a circular motion like he’s chewing on something, except he’s not. His grey, crooked teeth, while sparse, are bared through his slack lips. His blue eyes, wide and unblinking slightly bulge out of their sockets from behind his over-sized wire-rimmed glasses. I automatically begin breathing through my mouth and with a polite smile, mumble “wa alaykum salaam”, still confused as to why this middle-aged white man chooses…


Coming back full circle.

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Photo by Zhuo Cheng you on Unsplash

I was probably five or six years old. The top felt like paper, a rigid cotton that was a primary yellow covered in a pattern of bright red stemmed cherries. I remember wondering why the raw edges inside looked like shark’s teeth and then I thought about the heavy metal scissors with the zigzag edges that my mom kept near her sewing machine. It was hard to get into, the fabric had no give and my forearms hurt when I tried to slide my arms through the holes. At least she left enough room for me to easily pop my…


When you eat to belong.

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Photo by LUM3N on Unsplash

I really thought I could make it to Santa Monica and back to campus in time for my next class. It didn’t seem ridiculous to me in that moment to have lunch somewhere an hour away. A week before, I’d seen a real live Whole Foods on my way home from my internship at a press agency in North Hollywood. How I ended up in Santa Monica, I can’t remember, but I will never forget the first time I laid eyes on the Kermit-green, all caps signage with the sprouting “O”while creeping towards the freeway in street traffic. Before that…


What best friends are for

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Photo by visuals on Unsplash

I’m hopeful, certain even, that after today I will finally have a job. A good job, one that pays above minimum wage and can appreciate my Bachelors in Communications. I’m not sure that I can say the same for Tavia, my best friend since we were 12, who’s been staying with me for the past few weeks. I don’t think she’s as optimistic as I am, in fact, I know she isn’t. …


I know I’m doing it wrong.

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Photo by tu tu on Unsplash

Step 1. Decide that all of your clothes suddenly suck. Spend most of your free time watching YouTube videos that espouse the classic foundational wardrobe and tell you that such-and-such pieces are essential. …

Amirah Glover

Freelance writer, mother of four, lover of words.

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