When Death Comes

Death is a strange thing the first time we encounter it. Of course there had been distant relatives, a great-grandmother, someone’s elderly uncle. And the pets that had preceded me in my parents’ lives and towards which, as a small child, I had always felt a vague competition. But when I was nine or tenContinue reading “When Death Comes”

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”

“The Good Place” Makes Peace with Death

SPOILERS! SO MANY SPOILERS! Over the last four years, The Good Place fans knew writers were going to have to deal with the “real” good place eventually. It was the inevitable end. Each character, including our favorite demon, was invited into a deeper knowledge of their shortcomings. Which meant growth. As each character got betterContinue reading ““The Good Place” Makes Peace with Death”

Life Goes On: Trauma Revisited

TRIGGER WARNING So I don’t talk much about trauma on this blog anymore. And you know what? It’s a relief. I started to face the abuse and assaults I survived when I was 25. Last month I turned 39. I’ve been at this 14 years. And I don’t expect it’s a journey that’s ever reallyContinue reading “Life Goes On: Trauma Revisited”

This Word Chronic

I’ve been so angry at people who ask me, “How are the headaches?” and “Feeling better?” “It’s still chronic,” I say flatly. “I was diagnosed 27 years ago. Five years ago, it went from episodic to chronic, and there’s no cure. In the context of chronic migraines with vertigo and brain stem aura, most drugsContinue reading “This Word Chronic”

Why “I’m Not a Rapist” Means Nothing

In Zen Buddhism, Ango is a three-month period of intensive study and practice. One aspect of Ango is that members of a Zen center study the precepts. These are guidelines for ethical conduct that have been passed on by ordained Buddhist priests across the millennia. My Zen center is headed by an ordained male priest,Continue reading “Why “I’m Not a Rapist” Means Nothing”

Shelving Books

Libraries are not what you think. They are not havens. They are not sanctuaries of peace and learning. Each morning I unlocked the book drop-off bins and wheeled the returned books into the library. Sometimes orange juice or applesauce had been spilled on a book jacket. Other times, the stench from a pile of spyContinue reading “Shelving Books”

Thailand

Top had booked his first visit home in three years, and I went with him. I had learned so much living above the Thai restaurant. And yet I had learned nothing at all. Thailand, I thought. Asia.  More than 9,000 miles away.  I expected freedom. I expected healing. For my relationship with Top. For myself.Continue reading “Thailand”

Siddhartha

But depression does not recede with the ministering of kind words from a friend. Joe’s words had been a balm, and the pain stopped smarting enough that I could continue. But looking back, I do think depression persisted in a milder form for years—largely because of my parents’ ongoing abuse. I made poor decisions thatContinue reading “Siddhartha”

Losing Faith

For me, the loss of my faith was much like gaining it. Something outside my control, like a storm blowing in. And this frightened me when it happened. Growing up Mormon, I had been taught that faith is a virtue. And virtues, by definition, can be chosen. Cultivated. Integrity, loyalty, honesty, charity. But faith, it turnsContinue reading “Losing Faith”