After having an IUD for 10 years, I had mine removed last week.
I initially got it at 25 after an abortion, hoping to never have to make that decision again. I was older than my mom when she had me, but nowhere near settled enough to think about having a baby. I had no idea what I wanted. No idea how I’d get it when I figured it out. And even more importantly, I wasn’t very skilled at having difficult conversations around intimacy.
Alcohol didn’t help that particular concern, and it was a big part of my life for much of the past decade. Three cocktails into an evening, I wasn’t thinking about long-term well-being. I was just in that moment, in the low lighting and clever conversation, idyllically disconnected from my anxieties. I didn’t have a good foothold on adulthood– my days were filled with worries like credit card debt, insecurity about my body, romantic missteps, a sputtering career. Alcohol was a welcome escape from these heavy undertakings that I didn’t quite know what to do with. …
Sol pulled her jeans down slowly as she scanned the walls around her. The bathroom was covered top to bottom in magazine cutouts of flowers. Daffodils, tulips, roses, daisies, sunflowers (or girasoles). The fluorescent ceiling light reflected off the shiny patchwork as she bobbed her head around the room, reminding her of Tinkerbell zipping around breathlessly.
She sat on the old porcelain toilet, admired the cluster of pink and red roses near her feet. Behind the curling edges, she could see the concrete crumbling where it met the floor.
This old bathroom… she exhaled unsteadily and tears started forming in her eyes. She washed her hands with a thick coating of the salty sad between her and the ancient mirror. She looked up just once, her eyes red and skin patchy as always in this unflattering light. …
At 35, I’m starting to think seriously about grad school. The thought was unexpected, materializing sometime in June.
I won’t say I was surprised. By June we were three strange months into the pandemic and, like so many, I had gone through countless mental expeditions and detours. Time took on an almost laughable quality. Minutes felt like hours, days felt like seconds. The linear nature we normally plunk along with turned into a wide tarmac of something very different, something unnerving.
My job was still there, but it was excruciating. My clients (small hospitality businesses) were lurching and capsizing. My boss was an emotional wreck. My tiny apartment, as much as I love it and everything in it, revealed a near fatal flaw in its lack of private outdoor space. I realized I was dangerously close to burnout and for what? To live alone in a shoe box? …
Something about the intensity ripping through the US gives me a vaguely disquieting association with that classic activity from sleepovers of my youth — the game of telephone.
One person starts, then we whisper a phrase excitedly down the line. And the longer the better… both in phrase and in number of stops. By the time it reaches the end, some bizarre nonsense comes out of the confused caboose’s mouth while everyone else keels over laughing.
I knew even then — in that storied time before social media and the unrelenting news cycle — it was both a cautionary tale against gossip and a fun game. But it occurs to me that we are living in a giant, infinite experiment of telephone with the way social media & news media function in 2020. It’s a grotesque enterprise in many ways. A monster with no brain. A chicken with no head. …
As Medium is want to do, it thrust on me a gorgeous little article on the more subtle changes that accompanied a mom/therapist/painter/writer’s sobriety. She articulated right there in the subtitle something that I’ve found myself appreciating more and more since I stopped drinking.
Drinking, the version of me who drank, was trudging on a hamster wheel that was both predictable and tedious. I felt jaded, like I’d seen all there was to see. I wasn’t terribly excited about the future beyond a good glass of wine. …
I was recently introduced to a theory of human connection called Attachment Theory through Amir Levine & Rachel Heller’s book Attached. Attachment Theory posits that there are 3 main categories of how we intimately relate to each other — secure, avoidant and anxious. Being human requires connection and intimacy, but each style of attachment engages differently with others. They are not fixed, but they do require consistent intention to change.
Secure attachment is pretty much what it sounds like. You are aware of your need for connection, you seek it and show up for those who are part of that most inner circle. You communicate effectively about your needs and have a reasonable ability to compromise for the benefit of the relationship while maintaining healthy boundaries. Secure attachers tend to have satisfying relationships and can improve satisfaction for all parties. …
Rejection is not an easy experience.
But if we’re doing life right, it is necessary to learn to deliver and receive it. It can be liberating… beautiful, even. Rejection is part of the curating process that allows us to move through life with purpose and confidence. We need it to make sure we’re spending our time on what really matters to us.
Avoiding rejection keeps us in situations longer than we should be, building resentment or weariness instead of connection and intimacy. It keeps us in a state of anxiety when we bite our tongues instead of speaking difficult, but honest, truths. This repetitive omission weakens our resolve and our confidence in ourselves. …
The pandemic is bringing up a great many flaws in the American experiment, like bodies rising to the surface after a deluge. Our disagreements about the merits of individualism leading to a controversial mask debate… our inadequate safety net leaving families without security… our stunted conversations about race and class and life and death. These have been, and continue to be, written about at length and are worth engaging.
But today I want to talk about a more esoteric flaw in our thinking that is creating a lot of the collective anxiety– our expectation of a future.
The part of our brain where ‘intuition’ sparks from is the same as the origin of our unconscious biases.
This is quite a dilemma.
How can we trust our gut, the synthesis of our lived experience, if it feels the same in the moment as a preconceived notion?
Is it the truth or a prejudice? Our spidey-sense or a harmful blind spot?
What happens when our ‘gut’ gives us bad information?
I think the sense of complicity in racism, for many of us white people, reflects the difficulty of unconscious bias. …
Like most, I’ve taken pause to absorb the reckoning taking place in the US and world. It’s incredible for the momentum of Covid to lead into this, like a wave swelling onto shore and bursting an old fortress open. A fortress sealed through complacency and harm. There’s a lot of energy and emotion sloshing around. A lot of perspectives to take in. A lot of reflecting to do.
You’ve already read a thousand takes on this, and I don’t really want to add to the pile. I just want to use my writing practice to offer a few thoughts about how to process this situation, engaging with people about it, and what it means– as much for myself as anyone. …