My Life Is Out of Control, So I’m Trying Goals

Some people scoff at goal-setting. They think it’s new age-y. Or they think it’s fear-driven. Or they think what’s the point? Life isn’t in our control anyway. Which for many of us—especially the lower our incomes, the poorer our neighborhoods, the more marginalized our gender and orientation, the darker our skin, and the more healthContinue reading “My Life Is Out of Control, So I’m Trying Goals”

I’m Still Not Here

At 14, I read the entire Bible, front to back. When I attended sleepovers, other kids brought plastic clamshells of eye shadow or bottles of nail polish, clattering in their backpacks like marbles. I brought my leather-bound Bible. I was always the last to fall asleep. As my friends dropped off into unconsciousness and heavyContinue reading “I’m Still Not Here”

Why I Don’t Have a Therapist…For Now

Don’t get me wrong. Therapists are a vital resource, and everyone should have affordable, easy access. From talk therapy to CBT to prescriptions and support groups, we all deserve to live in a world where whatever works for us is available and affordable. I’ve turned to therapists in the past, and they’ve been a hugeContinue reading “Why I Don’t Have a Therapist…For Now”

The First Steps of Exposure Therapy

The men who attacked me were trying to make me small. They wanted to keep me quiet. I was a reminder to them that strength knows no gender, and neither does intelligence. Regardless of their race, orientation, age, and class, they all shared a contempt for women. They resented any woman they perceived as “withholding”Continue reading “The First Steps of Exposure Therapy”

Four Reasons to Take a Pandemic Vacation

So here’s the thing. I need a vacation. You probably do, too. But we all know there’s no such thing as a vacation from health problems. Whether it’s chronic migraines, PTSD, or any other long-term health challenge, there’s no getting away from it. Wherever we go, there it is. The pandemic can make a vacationContinue reading “Four Reasons to Take a Pandemic Vacation”

Exposure Therapy

I was an exposure therapy skeptic. What I knew of exposure therapy came from abusers. More than one had justified their abuse by claiming it was helping me “face my fears” or “making me tougher.” This is nonsense. Such inhumane behavior will only make someone’s fear less manageable, even potentially debilitating. Research shows fear andContinue reading “Exposure Therapy”

Sexual Assault and the Slow Erosion of Self-Efficacy

Impact statements have revealed the many self-defeating, destructive lessons that sexual assault taught me. In the ten years between 16 and 26, I survived four sexual assaults. The assailants were a high school classmate, a man ten years older than I was who hired me as his English tutor, and my own father. At 20,Continue reading “Sexual Assault and the Slow Erosion of Self-Efficacy”

Why Safe Communities for Artists Matter

When I began my Accessible MFA last fall, I had two reasons. First, chronic migraines limit my functionality to the point that sometimes I can’t work for days, weeks, or even months. Keeping up with graduate-level coursework and meeting weekly deadlines is no longer possible. Second, I can’t afford it. With the struggle to workContinue reading “Why Safe Communities for Artists Matter”

Trauma Stuck Points

Between my twelfth and thirteenth birthdays, I became a different person. At 12, I was still skipping down the corridors at school, shouting jokes to friends. I was the kid who helped new students adjust. Who tutored classmates when they fell behind in spelling. I was generous, boisterous, and fun-loving. I was also boastful, cocksure.Continue reading “Trauma Stuck Points”

Writing the Impact Statement

Pine needles drop from branches out my window. First, they grow brittle, fading from green to ochre. Then, all it takes is a breeze, and they let go. They swirl up into the air and settle into gutters. They pepper the shingles with orange. I used to think the only way to heal from theContinue reading “Writing the Impact Statement”