You know those moments when your conscious mind separates from the body and you briefly become an observer of your own actions? You watch your lips move and hear yourself rambling on and on, lecturing your younger coworker about life. You’re horrified at how cynical you sound, but you can’t stop yourself. It is in that moment, watching yourself from the outside in, that you realize you have become a jaded thirtysomething. Do you know that moment? No? Allow me to elaborate.
I was talking to a 21-year-old coworker of mine. A sweet, hopeful, hardworking, lovely young gem of a person. He had overheard me discussing a friend’s failed marriage and seemed confused. I tried to explain to him that marriage was a wonderful thing, but it can also be, well, difficult. “I’m excited to get older and get married,” he said. “Life gets easier when you’re older.” My head spun on him like I was in “The Exorcist.” “WHAT?” I snorted, “Are you kidding me? Life just gets harder.”
His eyes widened. “No…” he argued, “it gets easier.”
“No, you’re wrong.” I pressed, and as I continued to explain the onerous nature of life, my tone becoming more insistent, I realized I wasn’t talking to my coworker anymore. I was talking to myself. Specifically, my idealistic 21-year-old self. Keep reading »
He seemed sweet at first. In fact, he had many sweet moments. But then there was the other stuff …
Abusive behavior isn’t as simple as we, as a society, want it to be. We often think that the kinds of signs that tell you a man could be abusive are very obvious. We imagine monsters, overtly misogynist thugs. We think of extreme physical violence as being the key – or the only – signifier. But often the violence doesn’t start until a relationship is already established – sometimes not until after a woman has moved in with her boyfriend, marries him, or becomes pregnant. In fact, the leading cause of death in pregnant women is domestic homicide, which is to say they are killed by their intimate partners. If we limit our understanding of abusive behavior to physical violence, we risk ignoring other red flags we should be heeding. Keep reading »
A few weeks before my wedding, I was in the dinnerware section of Macy’s with my friend Sam. I was talking about all the things that were wrong with my relationship, and she asked me, “Are you sure you want to do this?” My response: “At this point, I’ve put so much effort into this relationship that I have to make it work.”
Let’s reinterpret that: “I’m unhappy, and I know I should leave, but I’m so desperate to make all the sacrifices I’ve made worthwhile that I’m not going to.” Keep reading »
I started dating immediately after I told my now-ex that I wanted to get a divorce. This was because, as one of my friends very aptly put it, I wasn’t really “rebounding” so much as just “bounding” — rebounding assumes that you’re bouncing off of something, and I wanted a divorce because my marriage no longer qualified as a relationship. A relationship is the state in which two things or people are connected to each other; we were not that so much as one person making loud proclamations about what the other should be and the other, by the end, just going “NO” (and this is a generous description of a very unhealthy situation). I was definitely bounding out of and away from that, and gleefully. Keep reading »
I was born with Freeman-Sheldon Syndrome, a genetic bone and muscular disorder. I had 26 surgeries by my 16th birthday, so hospital rooms and intimidating doctors’ offices quickly became the backdrop of my childhood, filling up metaphorical pages that other kids had reserved for dirt hill races and princess tea parties with their stuffed animals. Growing up, I was always a little different than my peers. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just boiled down to different life experiences that I was having. I spent a lot of time reading, but it was tough to relate to the characters’ adventures when my world often seemed confined to a small, square hospital room.
Then a little book called The Fault In Our Stars came along. Keep reading »
My best friend works at a handmade art market in Portland. She meets a lot of interesting people when she’s sitting at her booth selling necklaces — earth mamas who share recipes for homemade toothpaste, wood carvers who claim very matter-of-factly that they were born on a different planet, chakra healers and aura seers and everyone in between. A few weeks ago, she texted me about a young hippie writer who had stopped by the market as part of his nomadic journey across the country and offered to pay for his items with “trippy treats” instead of money (I die for details like this).
“He said something really cool while we were talking,” she wrote in her message. “He said that life is about choosing paths. We all must choose a path at any given time, and there is no right or wrong path, but there is always a path with more heart. When you choose the path with more heart, life becomes easier and happier.”
I stared at her text for a moment, letting the words sink in. I thought about all the paths I’ve taken, the way I’ve drastically altered the course of my life over the past few years, the way I’ve been itching to alter it again, and damn, let me tell you: hippie kid knows what’s up. Keep reading »