Tag Archives: Drama

The M&M’S Must Come From Within

20160424_154105I started hiking about 18 months ago, after swearing it off as a young teen. Many weekends of my childhood found me struggling along behind my dad on various trails in Washington State. I hated hiking. I hated it so much, in fact, that I promised myself I would never do it again once I became an adult. And I didn’t. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

The last time I hiked as a kid was uphill, in the snow. Continue reading

This Isn’t About Safety

safetyReading the news today about convicted rapist Brock Turner, the accounts of his crime, and the extraordinary lenience of his (six month!) sentence have me reaching for my throat. My gag reflex activated by another miscarriage of justice, I stand here staring at the screen wondering if women have any value in society at all. Continue reading

Why The Villain Is A Stronger Role Model Than The Princess

villainOn our most recent girls’ nights, my buddies and I decided to re-watch some of the Disney classics (both the 1950s and 1990s era) to see how they hold up in modern times. We selected “Sleeping Beauty” (1959) for our most recent hang out and snuggled into the couch under blankets like six year-olds. None of us had seen this particular movie since we were very young, and we were eager to see how it played to our adult sensibilities. Would we long to be princesses?

By the end of the movie, I felt a stronger connection to Maleficent, the evil fairy than I did to Aurora, the title princess. I remembered then that I had always found Maleficent captivating, even as a child. And why wouldn’t I, when she holds all the power while Aurora/Briar Rose has no personality and makes no choices of her own? Continue reading

Unisex

We were only on the road for ten minutes before we had to make our first bathroom break.I’m grossed out by public restrooms. I hate using them. And I have to all the time due to the amount of water I drink. I’m that person who’s in-and-out, holding my breath, trying not to to touch any surfaces, flushing with my foot, washing up quickly (with soap!), and using a paper towel or my foot to open the door. You will never see me using these vile spaces to primp, change clothes, or brush my teeth. Too unsanitary.  And god forbid I have to wait in line for the privilege of exposing myself to a public petri dish. I will use the men’s, if I have to. I do not make eye contact, I do not look around the room, I do not chat or smile. My objectives are access and expediency.

What grosses me out more than public restrooms is this asinine controversy we’re currently having over who is allowed to use which room. Continue reading

This Is How I Do It

facebook_1453575635098This month marks seven years since I quit drinking, since my life went off the rails and skidded out of control. I memorialized that experience with a post I shared last year, a warts-and-all portrait of alcohol use gone unmanageable.

I believed my drinking gave me an edge, allowing me to express my most unhinged, outrageous desires and thereby differentiating me from the group at a time I felt invisible. It turned out, however, that when I got right down to it, blackout drinking (I know no other kind) was a form of self-erasure, a way to pull the plug on my conscious self and disappear. What good is standing out from the crowd when you’re not even there? What had gone so horribly wrong socially that I felt such a need for otherness, when my sense of otherness was the source of such pain? Why was I unable to make a choice about how many drinks I was going to have and stick to it? Why wasn’t one cocktail feasible? I was living with my foot pressed to the gas, and dying all at once, and these questions had to be answered. Continue reading

I Felt Nothing.

nothingIn the full daylight of 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 I slept the deep, tunneled in, wake-me-and-die sleep of the depressed. My mom’s voice began to come through my bedroom door, joined by that of my boyfriend’s–a surprise since he had no car and rarely showed up of his own volition. They knocked, then walked right in as I struggled to gain consciousness and go back to sleep all at once. Sleeping my activity of choice when I wasn’t working or at school, I resented the intrusion and bristled, scowling at them from my cozy den. I wasn’t a morning person, and they both knew it. I was not friendly or even really coherent before my first cup of coffee, preferring silence for the first hour or so of wakefulness before the more reasonable hour of 10 a.m.

“Ryan’s here,” my mom, Captain Obvious, began, her brow furrowed, manner grave. “New York has been attacked, it’s all over the news. Why don’t you get up and watch with us.” Ryan towered over her in my doorway, wringing his hands, face ashen. “I ran all the way here,” he said. “I told him he should come over immediately,” my mom continued, “because we don’t know what’s going on yet, or if something more will happen.” Continue reading

Under The Radar, Pt. 2

radar iiContinued from Tuesday

But what were the options in that moment? I couldn’t very well snatch the offer of fifty bucks away, I’m sorry, but I can tell you’re not into this even though you said yes, and in order to preserve your dignity I’m going to make your choices for you? Run out and hope she’d go permanently under the radar so QC could never reach her? I struck a deal with myself, do the interview but pay close attention for signs of discomfort and remind, in such a situation, of the respondent’s ability to skip questions or stop the interview at any time. It never felt like a convenient time to tell the respondent that if they answered fewer than sixty percent of the questions they didn’t get the cash. That wasn’t exactly in the consent form, but that was the expectation.

I dove in, starting at the beginning, questions I knew almost by heart at this point, what services have you been offered by DSHS? What services are you utilizing? And on into questions about ages and special needs of children in the home? What about the children not in the home? What disorders did they have?

She sat on the bed, fixing me with an intent stare that communicated in no uncertain terms, “I resent you for taking me through this.” Continue reading

Overheard Through The Wall

wallI was sitting at my dining room table when the voices on the other side of the wall went from a murmur to a sharp, clearly audible argument. In this apartment complex the walls are made of kleenex and spit, which means privacy is often at a minimum, especially if you’re unselfconscious in your own home. Which really, you should feel you can be. But the reality is that builders use cheap materials and what you’re doing and saying next door may be on aural display for your neighbors. In three of the many places I’ve lived as an adult, fights have erupted on a consistent basis on the other side of a shared wall. In one spot the walls were thick and it was the routine slamming of doors, kitchen cabinets and drawers that served as an indicator. In another place it was the shrieking of accusations by a woman to a man with a low voice, altercations that always ended in her bitter weeping.

Yes, I listened. Continue reading

The Interview Series: Preparations For The Divorce Party

IMG_20150220_170714He offered to be interviewed when I put out the call for volunteers, and I knew immediately I wanted to hear about his experience of divorce, Initially I had wanted the series to be all about different peoples’ experience of sex–what they learned growing up, what constituted sex ed at at home/school, first experiences, overall attitudes. But with him I remembered getting a facebook invite to a party that was part farewell to a marriage, part estate sale. At the time I thought him and his soon to be ex-wife incredibly respectful toward each other and thus felt intrigued by his seeming drama-free divorce. He had “a lot of angles and spins on divorce in his head” which I found him quite open to discussing, as I sat in my car outside work, furiously scribbling notes while he spoke into the phone.

A man in his mid-forties, he had been in the marriage for ten years, divorced now for three. I told him about my impression of his “divorce party” to which he replied, “I’m sure we seemed very evolved. In reality it took a lot of drama for us to get there. Once we had decided we weren’t healthy for each other, if we ever had been, it was easier to be civil.” Continue reading

The Interview Series: What’s Left Behind

I’m an obsessive reader of all things relating to drug addiction, be they memoirs, ethnographic studies or public health reports. Addiction and its effects on individuals and communities fascinates me, and so when my dear friend Kyle posted the following facebook status about his hometown, I knew I had to find out more:

“Podunk please stop sucking out loud…There hasn’t been any growth in thirty+ years other than the amount of DUI’s and deaths from heroin, coke, etc. Statistics that no one is proud of. Stop looking at the police blotter as your high school yearbook. Change comes from within, or we’ll all be left without.” Continue reading