A woman’s body is never entirely her own.

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Since making her first extraordinary appearance in the music industry, Adele has become our inspiring queen. “Her voice is one of the few voices that we’ve got worldwide where she’s got that huge range that is incredible,” said CeCe Sammy. Her songs make us want to sing and dance. She has created a unique way of creative performance. We feel each tone in her songs. Adele’s voice “is once-in-a-lifetime” in the words of Jennifer Lawrence.

But, the mainstream media often ignored her talent and focused on her weight instead. The discourse surrounding Adele was always about her physical appearance.

Western society is cruel. We can accept this fact, can’t we? This culture wants to label people based on their looks. And it is the media that has made young girls hate themselves, struggle with eating disorders, and become depressed. …


Or was it a serpent?

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No, I wasn’t expecting the dead bodies that came into view.

The cave was smoky, cold, and eerie. Suddenly, the disgusting smell dominated the air. I felt all my organs getting closer to my mouth. I wanted to vomit, get rid of everything taking space in my body.

My stomach, for I couldn’t take it more. My lungs, for I didn’t need to breathe. My womb, for I didn’t desire to become a woman. My heart, for I didn’t want to feel. My brain, every cell of it, for the remembrance was the worst disease.

I couldn’t take my eyes off the bodies. Decay, filth, malodor… Nauseous, the atmosphere was, suffocating me in my own tail as I looked at the corpses that resembled me. The odor was so intense that I had to narrow my eyes, something clicked in my brain. An uncanny force in my body was pulling me to the deep waters of my memory. …

The 21st-century’s two icons are again on stage to destroy social norms

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Harry Styles has become the iconic figure of the 21st century and put his signature on the urgent topic of masculinity.

The need to redefine masculinity is an urgent topic because toxic masculinity harms men’s mental health and encourages their oppressive attitudes towards women. Albeit a critical issue, many men and women have avoided the conversation of toxic masculinity and changes.

Human beings intrinsically are afraid of radical changes. Transforming something requires discomfort and a massive leap of faith. Going high enough to leave our comfort zones and embracing the unfamiliarity are always challenging. It is chaotic, promising us no stabile and positive outcomes. …

Literature has been my safe place in 2020, and why shouldn’t it be for you in 2021?

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“Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become.” — C. S. Lewis

I came to know the magical power of literature with Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia. The collection enriched my childhood and imagination. It offered me fictional worlds for which I left my boring life willingly. I had long wished my wardrobe to present a magical porter and take me to somewhere, anywhere, just elsewhere.

This desire to leave my familiar place became integrated with my soul, especially in 2020. It was a challenging year for everyone as its physical and mental damages increased day by day. Most of us stayed in our solitude, spent holidays alone, and attempted to make the best out of our loneliness that otherwise would eat us up. …

The sensual harmony between erotica and design

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The French illustrator Malika Favre aims for sex positivity with her extremely aesthetical book Kama Sutra A-Z. She first designed this art project in 2013 for Penguin’s reissue of the Kama Sutra, and she has now developed it to 26 letters combined with sex positions.

Favre designs each letter with an extreme balance created with couples’ movements. Bodies are intertwined into each other, and their union speaks of letters. There is a sense of ecstasy that each letter attempts to convey.

It’s challenging to create something animalistic with a touch of aestheticism. Indeed, Favre says that she tried not to cross “that line between sexuality and vulgarity.” She perfectly manages to maintain that line with the letter of E “The Erotic Monkey,” wherein she illustrates the harmonious and sensual merger of two individuals. …

The passenger on the airplane caused fear and panic to everyone in three hours.

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Traveling is a challenging task during a pandemic. You are getting to the airport earlier than usual, waiting in the queue with lots of people, trying not to touch anything, not even peeing, and irritating your hands owing to excessive use of hand sanitizers. Oh, while all these are happening, you can’t even take fresh air out of your mask.

What a nightmare.

On my flight from Turkey to Italy, there was an Italian lady in my plane, sitting across me. I realized she didn’t have a mask when I met the cabin crew’s shocking eyes.

The hostess was in a panic, trying to warn the passenger and maintaining her distance. Her hands were shaky and…

Cultural Prompt: “Learning to tame your grays between the dark and the fake…”

Sleeping to numbness with her fading balls of yarn in her arms

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Orange was the scarf that my grandmother knitted for me
While waiting for her husband to arrive.
It had some red bits because she couldn’t afford another yarn,
Could ask him, neither, out of her embarrassment.

Yellow walls their living room had,
Surrounding all the family.
We waited for midnight every year
While playing tambola together.

Blue sky was smiling down at us
When she picked me up from school,
Holding my orange scarf and hand to buy an ice-cream
To celebrate our happiness.

Dark eyes she had out of grief
When she lost her son to the deep water of the sea of Marmara.
She stopped talking and started to wear headscarves then,
Hiding her golden, curly, vibrant hair. …

A poem arising from the ashes

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Two eyes
Tiny, big; bright or gloomy
A line at the bottom of the face
Uttering letters to make sense of the world.

Cheeks — red or pale
Bouncing up and down
When the laughter comes to the scene,
Creating a harmonious echo on the planet.

It all came to an end
When the enemy pulled the trigger
And cut women into words:
Black, brown, and white, never blue.

Black, brown, and white.
Such artificial concepts — where is the authenticity?
Did you kill it, too?
Ignoring the unique experiences that each check went through.

I’m a woman,
You’re a woman,
We’re all made women,
Killed by the silent weapons even before being born. …


Buse Umur

M.A. Student, Writer, Human Being

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