Six weeks ago, when I sat down with my Rabbi in anticipation of my upcoming Bat Mitzvah, I was most nervous to tell him that I was in love with a WASP—who happens to be the kind, caring person I’m marrying.
Before I could be officially accepted into the religious education program—which would consist of six sessions with Torah discussions, guest speakers, lots of falafel, one community service project, one full, 24-hour Shabbos, and the option for a (very reform) Bat Mitzvah (something I, while Jewish, had never had)—I had to get the Rabbi’s approval. Keep reading »
Back in September of 2011, I wrote about a psychic prediction I received from an astrologer who went by the moniker, The Stargazer. While at a party, I gave him my date of birth and he told me the following about my love life:
“You were with someone who was a lot of fun but not marriage material. You will continue to have fun for the next six months. Things will heat up in the summer of 2013. Either you will meet the man you’re going to marry then or things will turn serious with someone you already know.”
At the time, I remember feeling crestfallen because I had recently been dumped by a guy for not being Jewish enough, and in the scheme of being single, hearing that you’re not going to meet anyone special for another two years sounds like a dating death sentence. Keep reading »
“I’m really attracted to you, you know?” I sat in the middle of an Italian restaurant, frozen in disbelief at this audacious declaration. I sipped some wine and awkwardly laughed, my cheeks growing redder by the minute. Waiters and waitresses drifted past. I nibbled a tiramisu and drank another glass of rosé. But all I could think was, I’m really attracted to you, too.
On the surface, this sounds like a typical first date: a guy takes you out to dinner and says he finds you attractive; you flirt back and wonder if he’s going to kiss you goodnight; you’re nervous and jittery; you try to be funny while carefully maintaining that mysterious façade that originally peaked his interest.
Except that this wasn’t a typical date, at least for me.: I was actually out to dinner with a woman. And all I thought about the entire time was how badly I wanted to kiss her. Keep reading »
“Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick born Jan 4, 1935 and died alone on Sept. 30, 2013. She is survived by her 6 of 8 children whom she spent her lifetime torturing in every way possible. While she neglected and abused her small children, she refused to allow anyone else to care or show compassion towards them. When they became adults she stalked and tortured anyone they dared to love. Everyone she met, adult or child was tortured by her cruelty and exposure to violence, criminal activity, vulgarity, and hatred of the gentle or kind human spirit.” – Reno Gazette-Journal
How could anyone write a scathing and public obituary showing such distain for a parent? For me, it was a natural “normal” process for ending and celebrating the death of someone who camouflaged themselves as a mother.
There are no words or expressions to adequately describe the sense of freedom I felt upon a phone call from my brother singing “Ding Dong, the witch is dead.” Keep reading »
They say that your life completely changes when you have a baby. That this overwhelming sense of love makes you forget all of the sleepless nights and dirty diapers, the temper tantrums and crayon marks on the freshly-painted walls. Many new mothers declare that this is what they were meant to do: bring another life into this world. I suppose this is how I feel, too — except that I’m not a mom yet.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always known that I wanted to be a mother. I used to create elaborate scenarios with my dolls as my “babies” where I was their doting mother. When I was around 14, I began babysitting for one of the local church’s childcare centers a few Sundays a month; I’d spend a couple of hours watching after babies and toddlers while their parents attended services. I bounced smiling babies on my knees, fed them bottles as they looked up at me with their big eyes, and patted their backs and sang to them as they cried. In college I made extra money by nannying for a family during the summer. I’d travel with them and their three small children, taking care of them practically 24/7. At night I was regularly woken up because of the two-year-old’s nightmares. My alarm clock was the baby wailing for his first morning bottle. But even though they weren’t my kids, I felt that emotional tug deep inside my chest. Children make me feel a peaceful happiness — like you’re living in a world where everything is pure and beautiful. Keep reading »
After my traditional engagement to my high school sweetheart fell apart, I was faced with the prospect of another devastating loss: the deportation of my best friend Emir. Desperate to stay in America, Emir tried every legal recourse to obtain a green card, knowing that his return to the Middle East—where gay men are often beaten and sometimes killed—was too dangerous. In an effort to keep him safe and by my side, I proposed to Emir. After a quickie wedding in Las Vegas, we faced new adventures and obstacles in both L.A. and New York City as we tried to dodge the INS. Our relationship was further complicated by the fact that my mother works for the State Department, preventing immigration fraud. In my memoir, The Marriage Act, I delve into the changing face of marriage in America and look at the emergent generation forming bonds outside of tradition—and sometimes even outside the law.
Below is an excerpt:
I remember the citrus salads and late-afternoon Cosmopolitans in the sunny outdoor courtyard of the Abbey, our favorite West Hollywood gay bar. I remember how strange it felt to walk to his apartment rather than drive even though he lived only three blocks away from me. I can’t remember the precise instance when Emir first brought up the verging-on-problematic visa situation. It might have been at a sushi restaurant, or over lunches at the Abbey, or while in line at what the boys around the neighborhood called “the gay Starbucks” on Santa Monica. Emir wanted to stay in the United States past this year to avoid going back into the closet in Emiristan and living with his father. In order to stay, he had to find a job before his visa expired in December, a year after graduation. I told him I was sure he’d find something and I believed it; Emir was creative, intelligent, outgoing, and capable. The possibility that he might not find a way to stay did not cross my mind during those early conversations. Keep reading »
This piece was republished with permission from Role/Reboot.
Wednesday morning, 7a.m., the radio alarm blaring. Keep your eyes closed. Don’t move, because you have miraculously woken up in your old life.
The bed’s warm, your husband’s snoring next to you. Only the snore is more of a low whine, accompanied by a rough pawing against your back. The dogs, nudging you to get up. Your brain, moving slowly, registers this as a logic puzzle. If you’ve gone back in time, and your husband is still here, the dogs can’t fit on the bed, and the alarm is set to beep.
The dogs do fit on the bed, and the alarm is set to radio, therefore he’s dead and time is linear after all.
Your mind veers toward the surreal these days. This person who was Here is Gone, and it’s not much of a leap to think other seemingly impossible things may occur. But there’s no time to delve into that, the dogs need to get outside; you’ve got to be at work at 8:15. Keep reading »
I recognized her immediately: the soft, brown golden retriever-like eyes that turned down at the corners, the blonde, slightly over-processed hair and tan skin with a smattering of freckles that betrayed her Southern sorority girl roots despite her New York fashion girl get-up.
It was 2010 and I was working behind the cheese counter at a shop in the Chelsea Market. And she was … well, obviously doing well enough to spend $30 a pound on farmstead cheese. As I stumbled to weigh out her dainty wedge of artisan sheep’s milk, flustered and flushed, I felt a strange surge of vindication that twisted and wrapped around a twin, slightly nauseating feeling of anxious jealousy like some cruel double helix.
We had never met in person but I could have spotted her a mile away. And here she was, smiling obliviously at me across the refrigerated case as I swaddled her Manchego in butcher paper. Her credit card confirmed the name I had come to know and agonize over for months upon months of my life. She was The Ex. Keep reading »
When I saw an online ad that said, “Seeking Elves For Seasonal Position,” I admit, I was pretty excited. Not only did I fill out the application and provide a full resume, I also attached a cover letter with reasons why I would make the perfect elf:
“With over six years of experience working with children, I have full confidence in my ability to be an asset to your elf team!”
In my defense, even as a freshman in college, I was still a big kid inside. I was envisioning my elf experience to be like a scene out of an iconic Christmas movie. I would hand out candy canes to smiling kiddies, hoist little boys and girls onto Santa’s lap, listen to bubbly recitations of toy-filled Christmas wish lists, and push gleeful children down a slide into a sea of puffy, cotton clouds. As a Christmas elf, I would have the power to make so many childhood wishes come true. I would be part of the spirit of Christmas!
I showed up to the first day of training at Macy’s flagship New York City store. Getting in character, I practically skipped all the way there. When I entered through the huge golden doors of the mega-retailer, I was bombarded by sales people wearing Santa hats trying to sell me luxury bags I couldn’t afford, and the overwhelming scent of perfume.
“Where do I go for training for SantaLand?” I asked a sleepy looking security guard.
“You have to go through the employee entrance around the back,” he explained. Keep reading »
About 20 weeks ago, I decided to train to do the Seattle Marathon. Sunday was the Seattle Marathon. When I woke up at 5am I told my partner Julianne “It’s going to be a long day.” I was not wrong. I’ve been training for the last 20 weeks, 370 training miles in all, for an 8.5 hour marathon. That is not how it worked out. Keep reading »