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”

The Discovery of No

I was 25, and I had just learned it was possible to say no. And just like a giddy two-year-old, I began to slap down this word in the midst of conversations, relationships, workdays. One of my library managers planned all our Halloween costumes that fall. We would all dress up as characters from The WizardContinue reading “The Discovery of No”

Learning to Live with the Demon That’s Always There

Anger, like depression, is a stress response, and both can shorten our life expectancy. I’ve been facing some hard facts lately, and one of them is that I go around packing anger like a loaded gun. Still. Don’t get me wrong. Anger serves us well in many situations. It protects us from people who wouldContinue reading “Learning to Live with the Demon That’s Always There”

Workaholism: When You Just Can’t Quit

Quitters are losers, right? But maybe you find yourself still up at 1:30 in the morning, working on a project that’s not exactly urgent. Alert and hyper-attentive to everything but your night-owl family member. And that’s when it hits you–you might be addicted to work. That was my realization, anyway. Workaholism goes by many definitions, but most boilContinue reading “Workaholism: When You Just Can’t Quit”

How Rage Is Shutting Down American Politics

As a high school and college student, I aspired to change the world. I binge-watched The West Wing before binge-watching was a thing. I talked with friends about becoming a lobbyist and engaged in passionate debates about American and global politics. I idolized the Supreme Court and read its decisions with finger-tingling excitement. I evenContinue reading “How Rage Is Shutting Down American Politics”

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”

On Death and Defiance

A few years back I attended a reading by Carolyn Jessop who had escaped a fundamentalist Mormon community. Piled her children in a van in the middle of the night and made a run for it. She’d written her memoir, published as Escape (2008), and now was reading at Third Place Books. She had receivedContinue reading “On Death and Defiance”

Rage Against the Dying of the Light

I inherited my mother’s rage. And she had a lot to be angry about. Growing up in small-town Kennewick in the 1950s and 1960s, she was told she couldn’t do what the boys did. Couldn’t race bikes out in the street. Couldn’t beat them at math. So she did. But, as a consequence, she couldn’tContinue reading “Rage Against the Dying of the Light”