Forget Finding Your Voice, Find Your Subject

All this hand-wringing over writers finding their voice. Find your voice, writing instructors told me. Here’s how to find your voice, craft talks assured me. Once you find your voice, it will unlock everything, writing books promised. I’m starting to question, though, that voice is the big deal everyone seems to think it is. I’mContinue reading “Forget Finding Your Voice, Find Your Subject”

I Feel Ashamed of My Chronic Illness

It was the second-to-last assault. Jonathan was my best friend at the time, and when he stepped forward to hug me hours after the assault, with no acknowledgement of or apology for his earlier use of force, I felt the ground sink under my feet. Two giant hands seemed to press down on my skull.Continue reading “I Feel Ashamed of My Chronic Illness”

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”

The Return

A sea-change had come over my parents’ house. The walls were still the same ice-blue. The kitchen where my father had assaulted me still had its polished parquet floor and the same Formica countertops. But once, there had been alliances. Once, my brother and I had commiserated in our rooms long into the night, plottingContinue reading “The Return”

Guilt Is Just Laziness

I should be ashamed of myself. When I do something I shouldn’t–skip a workout, criticize someone in anger, or stay up so late I’m a bitch the next day–I feel guilty. And that’s usually where it ends. I check off the box that says I’m a good person and move on. It’s a problem. GuiltContinue reading “Guilt Is Just Laziness”

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”

Just Do What You Can

My first day back at grad school this quarter, and I’m feeling so much calmer. Even–dare I say–at peace. So what gives? I used to press myself into a corner and demand that I read 50 pages a day–even if it’s not assigned. Make all my deadlines and make them early. And ace them. InContinue reading “Just Do What You Can”