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”

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”

Another Staycation

I don’t know about you, but I like to start every vacation with a clear idea of what I’m going to get from my time off. Half the fun for me is in the planning. The other half is in making the plan happen. Except this time, no such luck. This time I spent theContinue reading “Another Staycation”

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”

Mourning

The first thing it makes space for is sorrow. As the rage and terror ebb away, the grief can overwhelm us. For me, I think it was the grief, more than anything else, that I feared. I had lifted my rage against it like a shield. Hadn’t trauma cost me enough? How dare anyone, evenContinue reading “Mourning”

On Father’s Day Weekend

My father kept an old Yamaha acoustic guitar in his bedroom. Sometimes I ran my child-round fingertips over the strings just to see if it was still in tune. It was, then. I whispered secrets into the sound hole, and it always whispered back. It smelled of dust and spruce and something metallic, like aContinue reading “On Father’s Day Weekend”

Breaking Away

It took me two years. Healing from abuse, finding the confidence to believe that you are capable of leaving—it takes a long time. It also takes seeing the other life that is possible. *             *             * The spring I was 30, I began to make friends with a coworker of mine at the college. WeContinue reading “Breaking Away”

My Breakdown in a Bus Depot

And then I went to New York. If you have been asleep, New York will slap you out of it. I boarded the Q47 bus and watched the sunrise from the bus window, mentally reviewing Manhattan’s grid of streets and the carefully plotted route that would take me to the Hotel Chelsea for a nightContinue reading “My Breakdown in a Bus Depot”