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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The Cure for Arachnophobia

The Cure for Arachnophobia

I sat with my friend Ed at the tiny kitchen table in my shitty apartment sipping coffee, watching the spider dangling above us. The table used to sit in a Village Inn, before it became the place where I ate ramen and drank coffee with my downstairs neighbor. "Dude. Squish that thing." "Aw, we don't have to do that," he said, stepping up on a Village Inn chair. "You got a jar or glass or something?" I handed him a jar. He trapped the spider in it and offered to take it outside, but I stopped him, reaching for the jar. A weird curiosity suddenly laid eggs in my brain. I poked some holes in the lid. "I've got to get rid of the arachnophobia somehow," I said. I named the fuzzy brown wolf spider Cowboy Otis. For a few months, I took him everywhere. To work. To the bar. To lunch at Souper Salad and to my weekly therapy sessions. He sat on the...
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People Are Full of Shit, So Don’t Let Facebook Bring You Down

People Are Full of Shit, So Don’t Let Facebook Bring You Down

I keep seeing these articles all over the place. You've probably seen them, too. Using various combinations of words and pictures, they all say the same thing: Facebook is making people feel sad. Depressed. Unsatisfied. Unhappy and lonely. The list of negative sentiments goes on and on. My knee-jerk reaction to the headline was, "Okay, this is just more whiny, paranoid bullshit about the evils of the internet." Then I decided to actually read the article. It doesn't matter which variation of this article you read - the gist is the same. Facebook makes people feel bad because of our absurd human tendency to measure our failure by our perception of other people's success. But here's the thing: we're comparing ourselves not only to everyone else's highlight reel, but to their bullshit, too. We're often looking at our real selves, our real lives and holding them up against personas that are not real. A social media profile might be a window into...
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