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”

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”

Stalked by the Mormon Church

I had not been to church in over three years. I had moved to another city. I had not informed The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints of my new address. I had, in fact, not had any contact with the church or its representatives for over three years. And yet, one cloudy dayContinue reading “Stalked by the Mormon Church”

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”

The End of Faith

Faith, the people who have it will tell you, can get you through anything. And that is so. But the loss of it can take from you everything you have left. I’d had a complicated relationship with God since I was 12. Ever since I invoked Mormon norms of fatherly conduct and my father beatContinue reading “The End of Faith”

Navigating Religious Differences: An Agnostic Visits Christian Family

I grew up in a religious community that fanatically converted neighbors, friends, and relatives. A Sunday wouldn’t go by without a reminder to pick up extra copies of The Book of Mormon and hand them out when God so moved us. But the world grows thick with difference, and to cull the diversity through conversionContinue reading “Navigating Religious Differences: An Agnostic Visits Christian Family”

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”

All in the Family

I imagine my mother at my age. A little older. Maybe 36. It’s all she has left, she tells herself. And then she flips the switch. The motor hums. And she leans into the sharp light at her sewing machine and plows another seam. One woman mattered to my mother more than any other: herContinue reading “All in the Family”