A Story About Expat Depression and How I Might Be a Wizard

A Story About Expat Depression and How I Might Be a Wizard

When you move to another country, the whirlwind of emotions begins to wreak havoc before you even take the suitcase out of the closet. Anticipation. Fear. Sadness. The entire spectrum from a childlike eagerness all the way to paralyzing despair. Trading in home, friends, family, your native language, and all that is safe, comfortable, and familiar for a strange and uncertain future is scary, but exciting. Profoundly exciting. I often deal with complex emotions and challenges in one of three ways: 1) writing about them 2) completely avoiding them with chemicals and escapist entertainment 3) Googling the shit out of every aspect and detail until I fill my brain with enough information to comfort myself, or ignite a full-on freak out. In 2005, I scoured the Internets and found mountains of bullshit about what moving to Paris is like for an American. Intimidating bullshit that made me feel like a sewer rat. These blogs and sites were written by people very...
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Finding Hope in a Galaxy of Women’s Stories

Finding Hope in a Galaxy of Women’s Stories

If you're reading this, that means we made it through 2017. What seemed like a hopeless quagmire of shit and doom in January is still an insane quagmire of shit and doom, but maybe it's a little less hopeless. A little less shitty and a bit less doomy. At least, in the way that I'm choosing to view it, the world is still broken, but nearly one year into the most powerful country in the world being run by a bile-spewing fleshy cesspool of fetid narcissism, I've seen plenty of clear reminders that he isn't the one with all the power. I'm still angry. I'm still worried and freak out a lot, so when I catch myself sinking and letting my imagination overwhelm me with worst-case scenarios, I look elsewhere. I follow the advice of Mr. Rogers, and I look for the helpers. Lately, though, I don't stop with the helpers. I look for the fighters. The resisters. After watching a...
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Short Stories and Tiny Blissful Moments

Short Stories and Tiny Blissful Moments

How are we doing these days? Holding up? Hanging in there? I hope so. If you're reading this, I hope you're doing so during a brief pause from doing nice things for yourself like reading books, making art, drinking beers, and eating some really incredible food. Tiny blissful moments are a big deal. Everything that's going on in the world constantly draws me in and I feel compelled to read the news and dive into my Twitter feed, but lately, I'm suffering from information fatigue. Mostly, it's Trump fatigue. I don't need to experience a daily bombardment of voices each day telling me that he said an awful thing. Both sides harbor their own set of obsessions that tend to weigh heavy on everyone. Too much of that shit and I start to morph into Rust Cohle from the first season of True Detective. There's a lot of scared people. Angry people. And people who think none of this matters, or...
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Break Through These Times of Trouble

Break Through These Times of Trouble

This is a love story. It is not unique. I've lived others like it, and so have you. Like many love stories, this one ends with tears, confusion, and a lot of reminiscing about its beginning. Where it began was 1991, a time in my memory that is strange, dark, and forever distorted by a thick layer of time and smoke. It was an unhappy time, immersed in anger, abuse, and large amounts of cheap booze. My mother and my boyfriend at the time had a weird and wildly inappropriate thing going on together. When I'd catch them in the act, they responded by telling me I was crazy. I felt crazy. This was compounded by the fact that we three lived in the same house. I wanted him to leave. She did not. Every day, I was furious and frustrated. But, one day, just as 1991 was nearly at an end, on a not so very special day in...
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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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