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Updated on Sep 1, 2020. Posted on Dec 20, 2015

The Most Moving Personal Essays You Needed To Read In 2015

In no particular order, here are just a few of the many fantastic personal essays we published across BuzzFeed in 2015.

Jared Harrell / BuzzFeed News
Will Varner / BuzzFeed

Jenny Zhang responded to a white poet’s use of a Chinese pen name with a deeply personal and far-sighted look at the publishing industry’s failure to see excellence when it comes from people of color.

When Children With Autism Grow Up — Bob Plantenberg

Eric Petersen for BuzzFeed News

Bob Plantenberg wrote a heartbreaking account of the summer he was 23, needed a job, and found it working with Scooter — a 21-year-old man with autism who needed full-time support. He learned just how unprepared our society is for the half million people diagnosed with autism who are becoming adults.

How To Get Your Green Card In America — Sarah Mathews

Pete Gamlen for BuzzFeed News

Sarah Mathews moved from Oman to the United States as a teenager. What she and her family went through in order to stay here, legally, will make you think hard about the reality of immigration in this country.

The Dicks Of Our Lives — Mary H.K. Choi

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Mary H.K. Choi on dick pics, ex-boyfriends, and growing old — but maybe not growing up.

The Transgender Dating Dilemma — Raquel Willis

Lauren Tamaki for BuzzFeed News

Raquel Willis wrote about the trials of looking for love in a world where trans women are taught to feel grateful for any scrap of affection and made to fear for their safety.

A Black Girl’s History With Southern Frat Racism — Tracy Clayton

Flickr: Jimmy Emerson/Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND http://2.0) / Via Flickr: auvet

Tracy Clayton was one of few black students at Transylvania University, a small college in Kentucky, in the early 2000s. She wrote about being reminded, every day, of just how unwelcome she was there. (The university's administration later sent an email urging students not to share the essay.)

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

When Ramona Emerson left New York City and moved back into her parents’ house on a tiny island in the Puget Sound, she found out that people who aren’t in their twenties do seem to understand some things more clearly.

The Terrible Tale Of My Racist One-Night Stand — Ella Sackville Adjei

Tom Humberstone for BuzzFeed

In which Ella Sackville Adjei discovers, to her regret, that racists don’t wear badges – especially on a sweaty dance floor on a Greek island.

A Childhood Spent Inside A Chinese Restaurant — Susan Cheng

Will Varner / BuzzFeed

When Susan Cheng was growing up, being one of the few Asians in her school was hard enough. Working at her parents’ Chinese restaurant didn’t make it any easier.

Ten Times I Knew I Loved You — Erin Chack

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

A true love story by Erin Chack, written for her boyfriend on their 10th anniversary.

I’m An Adjunct Who Also Works In A Grocery Store — Matt Debenham

Alice Mongkongllite / BuzzFeed

What do you do when you can't make a living as an adjunct professor? Get a job bagging groceries. A tale of trying to be middle class in today’s America, from Matt Debenham.

The Night I Spoke Up About My #BlackSuicide — Terrell J. Starr

Kelsey Borch for BuzzFeed

On the verge of ending his own life, Terrell J. Starr chose instead to overcome the stigma surrounding African-Americans and depression, and to find a supportive community on Twitter.

Haejin Park / BuzzFeed

Kaye Toal explained why anyone who really wants to understand what’s at stake in the debate over abortion should spend some time outside the places where it happens.

Self-Portrait Of The Artist As Ungrateful Black Writer — Saeed Jones

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

No, Saeed Jones is not happy to “just be here.” Racism doesn’t vanish the moment you set foot into the ivory towers and glittering soirees of the literati.

Those Who Leave Somalia Need Remittance Too — Sarah Hagi

Kevin VQ Dam for BuzzFeed

As the child of Somali immigrants, Sarah Hagi inherited an obligation to send money to relatives she had never met. In this essay for our Inheritance Issue, she explained why that connection is so important to her.

I Can’t Live Without Fear, But I Can Learn To Be OK With It — Arianna Rebolini

Alice Monkongllite / BuzzFeed

Arianna Rebolini wrote about coming to terms with her OCD and the inescapable fear that the people she loves will die. Read more from Mental Health Week here.

Kiersten Essenpreis for BuzzFeed News

For Katie Herzog, marijuana wasn’t a gateway to harder drugs. It was an exit ramp from her addiction to alcohol.

Lost And Found In “Majora’s Mask” — Alanna Okun

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Alanna Okun achieved a victory over her own anxiety by finally letting the ticking clock run down in her favorite video game.

I Forgot To Find My Husband At A Black University — Jamilah Lemieux

Chris Kindred for BuzzFeed News

Jamilah Lemieux was told to find the love of her life at Howard University. She wrote for our Black Colleges Issue about why that didn't happen.

I Don’t Care What You Think About My Breakfast — Katie Heaney

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

After years of copying other people’s snacks and fending off unsolicited diet advice, Katie Heaney wrote about finally figuring out what she wants to be eating.

I Was The Best Fake Attorney In America — Sandra Allen

Dakota Blue Harper for BuzzFeed News

In 2005, Sandra Allen won the High School Mock Trial National Championships. Ten years later, she returned to nationals to try to make sense of what that victory meant — and what this competitive celebration of our legal system even is.

My Boyfriend Loves Fat Women — Kristin Chirico

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Kristin Chirico dug deep into her complicated feelings about dating someone who openly appreciates her body type. Read more from Body Week here.

Will Varner / BuzzFeed

Mira Jacob made an impassioned case for why the future of publishing needs to represent the world we live in, and all the colors of people in it.

How One Direction Helped Me Find My Girls — Mackenzie Kruvant

When Zayn Malik left One Direction, Mackenzie Kruvant found unexpectedly meaningful friendships in the community of women who make up the 1D fandom.

I Tried To Use A Hookup App As A Real Estate Listing — Matt Ortile

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Matt Ortile described his search for good sex and some kind of permanence in New York City.

Yes, I'm His Daughter — Lauren Paul

Jon Stich for BuzzFeed

Lauren Paul's dad is old and white; she is young and brown. It’s often been more complicated than it should be.

The Bad Blood: My Life With Sickle Cell Anaemia — Sara Bivigou

Jenny Chang / BuzzFeed

Sara Bivigou wrote vividly about the complicated reality of living with sickle cell, and everything she does to feel normal in spite of her sickness.

What I Learned From My Neuroatypical Partner – Meredith Talusan

Meredith Talusan / BuzzFeed News

Meredith Talusan's partner has severe ADD and is on the autism spectrum. They wrote about seeing his neuroatypicality not as a disorder, but as a big part of why their relationship works.

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