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7 Essays To Read: Being A Superhero, Sex Shops, And Black Genius

This week, Emily V. Gordon shares self-care tips that are easy to follow and will actually improve your life. Read that and other pieces from Broadly, Guardian, NTRSCTN, and more.

Posted on October 2, 2015, at 3:13 p.m. ET

1. "Priyanka Chopra’s Accent Is Helping Me Solve My Biggest Identity Crisis" — BuzzFeed

Getty Images / Via

While the Indian internet has rained hellfire on Priyanka Chopra's American drawl, Rega Jha has been marveling at the Quantico actor's bravery. In a BuzzFeed essay, she recalls the identity crisis she experienced as third culture kid and the significance of Chopra's accent. "While my friends and I keep our dualities as hush-hush as possible, Chopra is owning hers and blazing new trails, middle fingers in the air, with an aloofness that we didn’t even know was allowed," she writes. Read it at BuzzFeed.

2. "What Getting Put in a Headlock as an 11-Year-Old Taught Me About Police Violence" — NTRSCTN

Police brutality is nothing new. Feliks Jose can vividly recall a time when a police officer put him in a headlock — he was just 11 years old. For NTRSCTN, he reflects on that harrowing experience and how it taught him that being Latino would forever render him a a criminal in the eyes of white cops. "I knew what police were capable of doing. I didn’t want to get arrested, and I really didn’t want to die," he writes. Read his essay at NTRSCTN.

3. "Why I Change My Tampon In Front Of My Children" — Refinery29

Anna Sudit / Via

Despite menstruation being a natural process, women are taught from a young age to keep their periods a secret. In Kate Spencer's words: "The tampon aisle at Walgreen’s being named 'Feminine Care' tells you everything you need to know about your period. It’s the Voldemort of the human body: the thing that must not be named." For Refinery29, she writes about teaching her daughters to own their sexualities and never be ashamed of their body parts. Read it at Refinery29.

4. "Has Recognition That 'Black' and 'Brilliant' Coexist Finally Arrived?" — The Guardian

The Washington Post / Getty Images

"'Genius' has never been the default setting we have for considering black men or women in this country, no matter how brilliant they are," writes Steven Thrasher. But now black genius is having an unapologetic moment. In a Guardian essay, Thrasher celebrates LaToya Ruby Frazier, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Patrick Awuah who recently won the MacArthur "Genius Grants." In the piece, Thrasher also reflects on his school years — how the better he did in the school, the more his peers would call him an "oreo." Read his essay at The Guardian.

5. "7 Easy Things You Can Do to Improve Your Life" — BuzzFeed Books

Barbara Geoghegan for BuzzFeed News

Part of Emily V. Gordon's job as a therapist includes teaching her clients the self-care skill necessary to stay physically and emotionally healthy. But exercising "self-care" is something easier said than done. That's why, in her new book Super You, Gordon approaches self-care skills as if they're tools we're equipped with at all times. "The idea is that the bag’s always strapped to you, like Batman’s tool belt full of bat-themed weapons, so the tools will always be readily available. Some of the tools you can and should use every day ... and some are for emergencies," she explains in a piece for BuzzFeed Books. Read her super helpful and feel-good guide here.

6. "Will Anyone Stand With the Next Ahmed Mohamed?" — Jezebel

Illustration by Tara Jacoby / Via

When news about Ahmed Mohamed's arrest broke, the internet erupted in outrage and rallied their support for the 14-year-old, inevitably turning the racist encounter into a viral story with a happy ending. But what about the next child to come in contact with racist islamophobia? "When it comes to Ahmed Mohamed, this probably wasn’t the first and it certainly won’t be the last time he will have to deal with racism," writes Sarah Hagi in a Jezebel essay. "He is strangely lucky, I think, to have his battles recognized so early and widely ... Far more of us just live quietly, believing that there’s nobody to care about us or listen to our stories." Read the entire piece at Jezebel.

7. "Working at a High-End Sex Shop" — Broadly

Jacqueline Miller via Stocksy / Via

It turns out, when you work in a high-end sex shop, your customers will make all sorts of confessions to you. "I become their best friend, their girlfriend's best friend, even their girlfriend, really; I nod along thoughtfully while they talk, tugging at the ring on my bondage collar. I listen to their confessions and make them feel comfortable and safe," Larissa Pham writes in a piece for Broadly. "And then, ideally, I sell them something that will give them that pleasure ... It's a particularly American solution to a particularly American malaise — sex doesn't solve life's problems, but better sex makes life, well, better." Read it at Broadly.

Want to read more?

Shannon Keating writes about the movies she loved before her feminism made her love them less. Kirsten King broke down the difference between how people treat mental illness and how they treat physical illness. Meredith Talusan reflects on what dangerous men taught her about becoming a woman. Bitty Navarro explains demisexuality, the obscure Tumblr sexuality that saved her life. Matt Ortile, after spending his 24th birthday alone, shares his revelations. And finally, Joshua Mohr explains how the hole in his heart almost killed him.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.