Here’s a Story About How to Stop Eating Bullshit

Here’s a Story About How to Stop Eating Bullshit

Passports are amazing. In 1998, when I received my first passport, it was as though I had a golden ticket that could take me anywhere. I flipped through the pages, dreaming of all the stamps that would one day fill this little blue-covered book. I was an insecure twenty-something who graduated from high school two years late and had just been fired from my low-paying factory job. People like me didn't travel. People like me only visited far away places in books and movie screens. That's what I believed. So, it was funny that I had a round-trip ticket to London, a packed bag, and a Let's Go! guide to Britain under my arm. Other countries were an intimidating and weird magic. I wanted to experience that. During that adventure, I explored various parts of England and Scotland. I took the Eurostar to Paris. I rode the métro. I made an ass of myself. I talked with strangers, got lost, rained on,...
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You Can’t Outrun the Uncertain Future

You Can’t Outrun the Uncertain Future

A few months ago, life was normal. The future was uncertain, but I slept better than I do now. My husband Olivier and I were enjoying our first year of living in England. After ten years in France, it was a welcome and exciting change. We often had conversations about what the next big leap might be. Maybe back home to the States, depending on the election. Or, maybe elsewhere in the U.K., depending on how the whole Brexit thing goes. The threat of Brexit cast a shadow over everything, but it didn't feel menacing. Hell, it probably wouldn't actually happen. That'd be crazy. Then came the morning that we woke up and found ourselves living in fucking crazytown. My husband, a European working in England, had to go to work immediately afterward, all the while wondering if everyone he looked at had just voted for him to leave. Luckily, working in an office with a colorful international mix softened the blow....
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How to Find Closure When Your Bullies are Dead

How to Find Closure When Your Bullies are Dead

I wore the dress because it was Halloween. One day where we can dress up and pretend to be something that we're not. Something we don't get to be every day. Something more wild. Cooler. Louder. My dress had a newspaper print pattern splashed with neon pink and green. My mom wasn't crazy about it, but I loved it. It was cheap, so I was allowed to buy it when we were shopping for new clothes a couple months before. However, she hardly ever let me wear it. It was too "tacky" and too "loud." But then, Halloween approached and I had a last minute idea. I was now 12 years old and adult enough to dress my own self up for Halloween, thank you very much. I put on the dress. I slipped into my neon green jelly shoes. I sprayed red and black and glitter into my hair, which I curled and teased and sprayed and poofed. I did my...
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Lessons From a Dollhouse: Longing For a Smaller Life

Lessons From a Dollhouse: Longing For a Smaller Life

My grandfather gave me the dollhouse right about the time my brain began to form lasting memories. He'd built the entire thing himself, with his own two hands. My mother, the oldest of four children, was the first to give her parents a grandchild, so I was a big deal. My grandparents spoiled me in the usual ways, but the dollhouse held the most meaning. Within each piece of tiny furniture there existed a universe of adoration. Every small human figure and carefully cut piece of fabric, another echo of love from my grandfather to me. A few years later, my mother and I moved halfway across the country. I could only take with me a few things that would fit in the car. The dollhouse, with most of our other possessions, remained in my grandparents' garage. "We'll come back for that stuff later," my mother said. "We'll rent a U-haul and move it all into our new house when we find...
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Living on the Periphery of Terrible Things

Living on the Periphery of Terrible Things

It's been a week since Hell hit Paris, and those French flag profile pics on social media are already starting to go away. They won't vanish as swiftly as they appeared. They'll decrease in number, little by little, just like those rainbows from a few months ago. Those rainbows made me happy. I enjoyed opening up my timeline and seeing the burst of color. We'd fought for equality and won. This is how we shout things from the rooftops, now. This was our happiness, translated to small, digital images. Of course, seeing some people ranting about the greatness of the Confederate flag from a rainbow profile made it clear that many didn't give a shit about (or comprehend) equality as much as they do following the photo filter herd while screeching about what they want. Yeah, I got cynical. I forced myself to focus on those I knew were genuinely shouting with pure joy, and I felt better. When the French flag filter...
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London, Paris, New York… and Longmont

London, Paris, New York… and Longmont

It all started with laughter and a longing to be somewhere else. I don't miss my hometown. I moved out of Longmont, Colorado in 1994, and never wanted to move back. For me, crossing that town line is like stepping into a dark parallel universe of bad memories. It's a time machine that only goes back to traumatic events; to people who only knew me as the juvenile delinquent offspring of a narcissistic, alcoholic mother. People who said I'd end up as nothing, popping out kids, smoking crack and ending up dead in a ditch. It's the town where a loser who nearly killed me is still frequently seen walking around on the street. I still have some very awesome friends living in Longmont, and while I almost envy their loving view of the place, I simply do not share it. My home life was not as bad or as good as it could have been, but it was difficult. It had a...
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