Sometimes, I have a hard time talking about being bisexual.
Part of the difficulty is label itself: bisexual. As soon as it’s said out loud, or implied with the abbreviation bi, lady sex pops into peoples’ minds and all of a sudden things get X-rated. The mere mention of bi conjures images of co-eds kissing and dancing on bars for male attention. Or, it incites the delightful fallacy that bi-folk are lying to themselves about their sexuality.
So, if labeling myself bi creates a feeling of ick, then why not call myself something else?
I’ve thought about latching onto other labels: flexible, fluid, queer, open? Why not just call myself straight when I’m with a man and gay when I’m getting my lez on? Why a label at all? Keep reading »
Up until last month, my boyfriend Nick and I had lived in Oregon all of our lives. We both grew up in small towns outside of Portland, and then, after high school, we migrated into the city like people from small towns tend to do. For the past few years, Nick worked at the cheese counter of an upscale Portland grocery store. Like most things in our lives, his job was fine, but it wasn’t spectacular. We felt stagnant in many ways, like we were passively living a life that had been set out for us, rather than choosing the life we wanted. Looking back, we lived in Portland not because we wanted to, but because we always had.
A weekend trip to Nashville changed everything. Within hours of landing in the city, we knew we wanted to move there. After feeling anchored in place for so long, the prospect of picking up and moving made us feel practically weightless, not to mention giddy with excitement. We couldn’t wait to start a new life. But first came the responsible plan. Keep reading »
The June issue of Allure has the usual headlines about what beauty products to buy and how to get good hair and better skin. Also thrown into the sexy, sun-kissed mix is this tidbit of information about their cover girl: “Zoe Saldana: 115 Pounds Of Grit And Heartache.” Hey, she’s slight but this gal’s got might!
Do the editors of a beauty magazine think of a celebrity’s weight as just some random fun fact to share with their readers? No, of course they don’t. It’s aspirational. Even if the number itself is completely out of the realm of healthy possibility for most women, it reinforces a longing — that dream of ultimate thinness. It’s defining. An entire interview with Saldana and how do they describe the stand out qualities they learned about her for their cover? In pounds. But what is most insidious about that headline is that it immediately forces comparison. For many women, that comparison is likely to stoke insecurity. Even if it doesn’t, it’s still a giant waste of time and energy: Do you weigh less or more? But wait, are you big-boned or small-boned? You might weigh this much, but actually you wear this size in pants or that size in tops. You felt best about yourself when you were this weight. You’re proud of your weight and fuck anyone who says you shouldn’t be! Keep reading »
When I was pregnant, everyone warned me not to judge myself against other women either positively or negatively. They told me not to compare myself to the Super Moms, the Momzillas or even the Deadbeat Moms. People warned me that once I was a mother there would be some things I would do effortlessly, and others I would fail dismally at.
Largely, I ignored their advice and trusted in my own self-worth and confidence. I was a little older than most of my mom friends and figured that with those extra years came extra wisdom. I instinctually understood that hanging out on online baby forums leads to intense paranoia about teething, and battling it out with anonymous strangers is stupid. I never thought I would succumb to the motherhood comparison game. But in the end, I was wrong. I did judge myself harshly. But it wasn’t against other moms. It was against my own husband. Keep reading »
As I am getting ready to leave for the doctor’s office, Auntie Shadi gives me a warning: “Now don’t expect to be seen exactly on time. This is not America.”
“Oh. Ok,” I say, instead of admitting that we don’t necessarily get seen exactly on time for our doctor’s appointment either. During this one-month stay in Iran I have learned to choose my battles with misconceptions. I only correct the important ones, like the one where they assume that anyone who lives in America has lots of money without working.
Since I had left a lucrative career as an oral surgeon to become a writer, money was tight and most of my activities were on hold. When dad invited me to Iran on an all-expense-paid trip, I gladly accepted. As most everything is cheaper in Iran, I decided to get some of my annual medical exams out of the way, too. My father takes a particular pleasure in going to the doctor. It’s his fear of hospitals that makes him so diligent in preventative care to the point that when he runs out of things to do, he just pops in for some blood work. So, hearing about my interest in seeing a doctor (any doctor, really) was good news. He secretly wanted to show off the excellence in Iran’s medical care.
A routine check up at the OB/GYN could not be that complicated, I reasoned. Besides, nowhere in the United States does a specialist visit cost $16. Keep reading »
The unexpected side effect of running into an old friend from college on the subway and falling deeply in love with Him, for me, has been a renewed interest in my past. I can’t tell you definitively why this is. Maybe it’s because I knew Him in college, and re-meeting Him after 16 years gave me a new lens through which to view my past self and understand her better.
My hunger to reconnect with my past self started with the hint of a memory of a photograph of the two of us from college. In my mind’s eye, I see it: Me and Him sitting next to each other in his dark, dorm room, both of us dressed all in black as we did at the time. Me: black dress, black fishnets, black leather jacket and heavy, black eyeliner. Him: oversized black pants, a black baseball cap, black hoodie. His arm around me. Sitting on top of his extra long twin bunk bed. Top bunk.
I’ve convinced myself that this photo exists. Keep reading »