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 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”

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”

What Are You So Afraid of?

If I’m being honest? Well, everything. Let’s start with coconuts. If you’ve never spared a thought for what can fall out of trees and kill you, maybe you should. In 1777, a woman in the Cook Islands was killed by a falling coconut. In 1952, a coconut murdered an infant. In 1966, a perfectly innocentContinue reading “What Are You So Afraid of?”

Nine Ways to Cope When You’re Stuck Inside

I’ve been at this for four years and counting. In early 2016, a medical provider ordered me to stop all work, and I was put on extended medical leave without pay. A few months later, my boss and I called it quits. After all, it was my second medical leave in six months. So IContinue reading “Nine Ways to Cope When You’re Stuck Inside”

Handling Resentment

I’m not a pro at this. I’m not here to give advice. I’m just saying that sometimes I look at people who’ve had it easier than I did for their first 30 years on this planet—people who have the education, the financial stability, the family—and who think they have all that because they’re awesome. NotContinue reading “Handling Resentment”

Life and Death

I apologize for being MIA the last week and a half. Things have been happening. Those of you who have been following me for a while know that I have chronic migraines. I developed migraines shortly after the first assault I survived at age 12, and they became chronic shortly after the last assault atContinue reading “Life and Death”

After He Strangled Me

The next morning I went downstairs to breakfast in the dining hall as usual, but it wasn’t usual. I sat beside my brother, poking my spoon into the cereal I’d let go soggy, and I avoided looking up from my bowl. My hands were shaking. My pulse throbbed in my throat. I had done everythingContinue reading “After He Strangled Me”

Predatory Men

Some of my friends—women of color, white women, cis women, LGBTQ+—regard their single years as a time of liberation and friendship and fun. And I am always happy to hear that. I am grateful that they had such a joyous opportunity to come fully into themselves and their lives. And I certainly remember my singlehoodContinue reading “Predatory Men”

Sexually Harassed by a Mentor

In the faculty office building, Top never dared follow me. Neither did the Mormon missionaries. Friendly faces smiled back as I waved at professors who remembered me as their student. I sold copies of my recently published chapbook. I knew I was safe there. It was my sanctuary. One of my old English professors, Gary,Continue reading “Sexually Harassed by a Mentor”