“What time do you go to bed?” the acupuncturist asked while monitoring my pulse.
“Like, midnight?” I said.
“And what time do you wake up?” she asked, examining my tongue.
“Um, 6:30,” I said, proudly.
I’ve always thought of excessive sleeping as a sign of weakness. Just for myself, not for others. It’s too closely related to depression, so I try not to do too much of it. I didn’t say this out loud, of course.
We sat there, staring at each other for a silent moment.
“You need to sleep more,” she told me. “You don’t take good care of yourself.”
That’s when I started to cry.
“Let her out,” she said. “Let the real you out.” Keep reading »
I am a woman who is engaged to be married. But unlike lots of your friends who are busy posting photographs of their diamond engagement rings on Facebook, you wouldn’t be able to tell by looking at my left hand.
This is because I told my fiancée many times before we got engaged that I wasn’t interested in getting an engagement ring at all, diamonds or no. There are a lot of reasons I feel this way, including my particular indifference to jewelry. “Honestly, I’d rather have an iPad,” I told him.
Diamond engagement rings are a translation of a much older sexist tradition of putting a down payment on one’s bride. This is, incidentally, still legally the case. In many states a bride-to-be can still sue her fiancée for breach of contract if he breaks off the engagement, as a Georgia woman did last year. After all, it is only women who are marked with an engagement ring as taken, suggesting that the balance of power doesn’t lie with the one who wears it. Keep reading »
I moved to Charlotte a few months ago by way of Syracuse, New York. I left my family, the only place I’d ever lived, and snow in both May and October to check out life down south. Since I was Syracuse born and bred, I didn’t fully realize how monumental moving is until I did it.
When you move, you go into survival mode. It’s time to stop being polite and start getting real, as the kids say. Whereas at home you could get by just binge-watching Netflix and going to the same places with the same people, that’s no longer the case. You have to put yourself out there so you can start to build a life for yourself. Some of the other things I didn’t realize until I moved include… Keep reading »
Up until two months ago, I was drinking, on average, a bottle of wine a night. I don’t know if that makes me an alcoholic. I wasn’t going out and getting blotto at bars; I was coming home from work, pouring myself glass after glass while I did responsible adults things, like laundry, cooking dinner, watching “Scandal,” scowling at OK Cupid messages, and getting ahead on work tasks. I wasn’t sending inadvisable drunk texts, maybe because I wasn’t even drunk — my tolerance was that high. But I was doing it night after night, all the while thinking, I should probably take it down a notch. Drink less. I’ll start tomorrow. Keep reading »
When I first decided to give spontaneous sex a try, I wish Whoopi Goldberg had been there to warn me: “Krissy, you’re in danger, girl.”
I first learned about our generation’s favorite pastime while watching – surprise, surprise! – “Beverly Hills, 90210,” where the primary plot line was: Doorbell rings. Hot guy stands there. Spontaneous sex ensues. I thought, “Pffft, I could do that.” As it turns out, I really, really can’t.
I’m Type A, which means I’m completely capable of letting go in the bedroom…but only when my to-do list is complete, my apartment’s in order, and I’m waxed, armed and ready to go. But after watching lucky bitches being taken advantage of by the Brandon Walshes, Pacey Witters, and Chuck Basses week after week, my light bulb turned on (among other things) and I thought, “WTF am I doing? I’m missing out!” Keep reading »
I hate the term holiday blues. I think that’s because when I was 19, December rolled around and I fell into a full-blown depression, complete with sleepless nights, loss of appetite and thoughts of suicide. The holiday blues sound like an uptempo jazz standard compared to the nightmarish thoughts blaring in my head. I’m hardly the only college student who has teetered on the brink of a breakdown. It’s practically a cliche to experience some sort of mental and emotional suffering when you’re that age. But at the time, it didn’t feel like a cliche. It felt like the fight of my life, the recovery from which, with the help of therapy, was an epic journey up from an underworld I feared I might inhabit for the rest of my life. Months later, sitting in my therapist’s office, trying to solve a Rubick’s Cube that she kept on her desk, I clicked one row of orange squares together and felt a spark of hope. I woke up the next morning and thought, What’s for breakfast? I knew I was doing a lot better — at least enough to begin to function again.
I’ve never suffered another episode of depression, but ever since then, I’ve never experienced a happy holiday season either. I know that this is a particularly difficult time of year for many people. Especially those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder or those who are grappling with more tangible hardships like financial struggles or a death in the family. I wish I could say I had a definitive reason to feel so meh in December. It’s much harder to pin down my discomfort around this time of year because it’s not related to my external circumstances — I have a wonderful family, great friends, a happy relationship and a job I love. I have much to be grateful and joyous about and I know it. The thing is, I consider myself a more-or-less happy person — at least for big pockets of time year-round. I understand how to access joy more often as I get older — positive thoughts, low expectations, balance. Even still, at this time of year, despite my best efforts, despite all my blessings, I find myself hanging on tight and crossing my fingers that I don’t spiral into darkness again. Keep reading »
I have a couple of girl friends whom I really envy. They know exactly what they want — or rather, what they don’t want. They don’t want to have children. Two of my girl friends are childless by choice, which means that while they enjoy being involved in the lives other people’s children, they have no interest at all in becoming parents of their own. There isn’t a doubt in either of their minds that kids are not a possibility.
My own feelings on the subject are much more hazy. Keep reading »
A quick note on anonymity. Support group meetings like these are anonymous. The stories told by others and their names are not to leave the room and therefore all references will be very vague and general, with only a specific focus on my takeaway as it pertains to my situation. I’m also not attempting to evangelize for the 12 Steps and, in fact, don’t even discuss the actual 12 steps in this essay. I’m simply sharing my thoughts on my experience with the group, which may or may not reflect others’ experiences with it.
I think the first 12 step meeting is probably a little awkward for everybody. It’s already some level of uncomfortable to talk in front of a group of strangers, but to do so about such personal issues? Really weird. But even if you’re used to talking about your problems and showing your emotions to others, be it friends or family or a therapist, a 12 step meeting is different, in that nobody responds. Nobody interrupts, nobody asks questions, nobody gives advice. They just sit and listen. Usually in life, when we share things about ourselves, we look for some kind of reaction or feedback, those remarks or gestures from others that ease the story along. During a 12 step meeting, one person shares at a time and everyone else just listens; when the share is over, its someone else’s turn and so on. The conversation happens through the interaction of those individual stories as they are heard, received and understood by everyone else in the room. Pause, and it’s quiet. Stays quiet, until you’re ready to continue or conclude. I’ve found those moments to be the most transformational.
I am not personally an addict. But other people’s addictions have been a constant presence in my life, in some way, since I was born. Yet, it wasn’t until a few months ago that I decided to attend my first 12 step meeting for family members and friends of addicts. Keep reading »
One of the weirdest things that people say to each other about relationships is “When you know, you know.” It means that when you’ve found the other person to be your singular life partner, you’re practically struck by a bolt of lightening. You just know.
It’s a weird aphorism, because it’s so often untrue. Many of us know people who actually don’t know. They’re ambivalent about the person they’ve been dating, even for a long time, or they’re ambivalent about commitment, fidelity or the institution of marriage.
Then there are the other people who do know, who do find someone, and then they get proven wrong. They know someone is right for them, but life turns around and tells them, “Actually, you don’t know.” Keep reading »
The first time someone called me a derogatory name on an internet comment forum, tears stung my eyes like I just got sucker punched. “Drunken slut” was not something I ever expected to be referred to as simply for writing a well-intended, personal essay about my dating life. I was reminded of being blindsided at the mall in 8th grade by a girl in my class I barely knew. She rounded the corner of Sam Goody, and closed in on me with two of her sidekicks. “I’m gonna beat your ass, you whore!” she screamed in my face.
I had barely even kissed a boy. I wasn’t anywhere near ready to process, or even understand, her insult. I called my mom to pick me up and didn’t go back to the mall for two months. Keep reading »