She Gives It Up: Melanie

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This girl is on my level! She gets it! And after a couple of years of friendship I finally opened up to her about my sexy daydreams and about how sometimes I'd think about people or scenarios and put my hand in my knickers before bed. She did something then that ultimately changed my life, my focus and my expectations forever, completely stripping the last of my innocence. She introduced me to pornography. My self-esteem has absolutely been squashed to dust by cyberbullying. I mean, yeah, I've rebuilt it, but, man, it would've been a bit bloody lovely to have saved that precious time.

Bullies have zoned in on my skin problems, my sexuality, my weight, my personality quirks, my fashion sense well, to be fair, I'll give them that one , my accent and way of speaking - basically everything about me. Different bullies and trolls have picked me apart, little by little, at different times and for different reasons. When I was at my lowest while getting trolled a couple of years back, several things helped me to pull up barriers and materialise a mithril-like mental armour.

Laying it Bare: Irish YouTube star Melanie Murphy on everything from her bisexuality to her acne

Mithril is a fictional metal from one of my favourite book series ever, The Lord of the Rings. It's described as resembling silver but being stronger and lighter than steel, and I like to pretend I have this wrapped around my mind. One evening in while at home in my pyjamas, after watching an episode of Game of Thrones, I had my first ten thousand calorie plus food binge. I sat on my bedroom floor door shut and emptied two plastic bags full of my chosen 'binge foods' into my lap. My family and then-boyfriend called in to me a few times telling me to hurry up they were waiting for me to come back in to play the next episode but I begged for five minutes more - over and over again, for about an hour.

I blamed 'period cramps'.

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Cramming in as much as possible - barely even chewing or enjoying the flavours and textures - I went into autopilot mode. Like a robot, my hands scooped up food and crammed it into my mouth, while I texted or flicked through Facebook.


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This was after dinner, mind - Dad had cooked us a huge pot of stew, and it was delicious as always, but my brain was screaming at me to eat as much dense, garbage food as possible. It craved the feeling of being stuffed to the gills, having experienced the diet rollercoaster of weight gain, then weight loss, then maintenance, then orthorexia. My animal brain was sending out the signal: Just eat. Eat everything. Right now.

And the part of my brain that I control obeyed. Because this overpowering urge, to feel that 'good' stuffed feeling, overrode everything. I knew and felt to be true about how I wanted to treat my body. I'd clearly become accustomed to finding some form of pleasure in pain, to the point that I was now weakly and willingly eating more food than my body could physically take in. It was so painful, that first big binge. I felt disgusting, despicable, worthless, and I cried into the blanket at the edge of my bed. I propped my head against it - it was thumping - and I thought, What's wrong with me?

Then-boyfriend burst into the room to check what was going on, and I couldn't even move or stand up. What kind of person does this to themselves? How greedy am I?

She Gives It Up: Melanie by Elyssa Nyte

I'm human garbage. I couldn't meet his eyes. He caught sight of all the wrappers and boxes surrounding me, leaned down by my side and silently rubbed my back. He was fantastic - didn't press me, didn't judge me. He then said softly that he'd listen if I wanted to talk, but I just couldn't… I could hardly breathe. My experience with cystic acne crops up several times in my book - it was so mentally and, well, physically scarring I just can't not bring it up, over and over again, like your friend who can't shut up about the ex she's still hung up on.


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  • People often ask me how I'm 'brave' enough to reveal my skin on screen. The subtext there is how are you brave enough to show your imperfect skin on screen? One word that nobody wants to hear in relation to them sharing their naked face is 'brave'. It all began one morning when I was 23, as I munched on chocolate peanut-butter cups in the university library.

    I was working on an assignment but I was distracted by the big, painful blemish I'd dubbed 'Mount Doom' that had just come to a head on the edge of my top lip.

    Editors Choice

    I sat there staring blankly at my laptop screen. I was certain that everyone I'd spoken to had broken eye contact at least once to glance at Mount Doom, and some people just outright stared at it. I was hoping to find an ocean of videos on YouTube to boost my confidence but I was surprised to discover that most of the make-up routines with 'acne' in the title on YouTube at the time, circa , were uploaded by girls with picture-perfect skin - a grand total of two videos popped up from girls with active breakouts. But those videos were oh-so-comforting to me as these beautiful girls bared all on camera to millions of people, confidently and non-professionally applying make-up with instructions and close-ups.

    By the time they ended, the girls appeared completely transformed, yes - but what really struck me was they'd put it all out there, the 'flaws' - they'd shown the exact thing they were trying to hide. My current view of make-up was born right there, that morning, mid-swallow of a peanut-butter cup in the library.

    She Gives It Up: Melanie

    I'd never been able to understand those women who get ready in front of their boyfriends. What's the point? Last year, Martinez was accused of sexual assault by former friend Timothy Heller. Heller initially came forward via social media to allege that she was assaulted by her "best friend," who was later revealed to be Martinez. Describing two nights in which she "repeatedly said no" to sexual advances from Martinez, Heller wrote that Martinez had used their friendship to take advantage of her during a deeply difficult time.

    I had been broken down," Heller wrote, alleging that Martinez used a sex toy and performed oral sex on her without her consent.

    Concerned ones. It's hard to say someone you loved raped you. Martinez eventually issued her own statement in response, saying she was "horrified and saddened" by Heller's allegations. We came into each other's lives as we were both starting our careers as artists, and we tried to help each other. We both had pain in dealing with our individual demons and the new paths we were forging, but I truly felt we were trying to lift each other up," Martinez wrote before saying that Heller "never said no to what we chose to do together.

    Following all of this, a wave of Martinez fans descended upon Heller's Twitter to attack her, questioning Heller's credibility and even going so far as criticizing her for "not going to the police"—a statement that's eerily similar to our president 's recent defense of Brett Kavanaugh.

    Some even took the victim-blaming a step further, arguing that because Heller didn't "force" Martinez off her, that the alleged assault was Heller's fault. Others said that if there was any merit to the claims, Heller would've sued Martinez by now— another huge misconception that assumes Heller has the means and desire to pursue the charges within a system that tends to dismiss the concerns of survivors. But the most disturbing part of all of this?

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