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January 20, 2019

New Year, New You! 

Isn’t that the idea behind every New Year’s resolution? To shed off one’s old skin and put on a new face, a new body (as long as you meet your diet and exercise goals, of course), new habits, because the only thing that can get you the future life you dream of is change?

And yet, all I can think of now is the past.

Blame the movie EIGHTH GRADE (2018), which I cringed, cried, and laughed over.

Blame every visit to my childhood home, with its boxes of memories laid out for me to decide which to keep and which to throw away.

Blame the upcoming full moon in Leo, the total lunar eclipse.

Blame my recent birthday. I turned 29, so forget the New Year—how about a new decade? Maybe I’m already starting to decompress the past ten years i...

November 19, 2017

I’m three semesters into my MFA in Creative Writing, and I’m burned out. It’s been a tough semester. I’ve felt elated at times while brainstorming the full trajectory of my novel and writing to bring that outline to life...and then discouraged and stalled when I’ve had to revise that outline and rework those pages again and again.

Part of this discouragement, I'm sure, is because I have a hard time taking certain critiques. The more my novel seems to be becoming someone else’s work, the less I am interested in it. I no longer care about the novel, because it no longer has the heart and soul that only I can infuse into it.

Part of this discouragement, too, is that at 27 years old I am not attempting to create my masterpiece. My magnum opus. My...

September 24, 2017

This essay is in response to feedback I received on my last blog post (the post can be found here). It was an essay on my experience of finding it difficult to speak up (an experience I generalized as being shared by most women) and on my persistent fear that what I have to say isn’t valid.

A male friend shared that, while he appreciated and got behind most of the post, one paragraph in particular offended him. Here it is in full:

“Meanwhile, men will just say anything, whatever comes to them, and expect to be heard. No matter how relevant or insightful their thoughts are—or how dumb and uninformed—no matter if their opinion is not backed up by anything, or is even proven to be false, men will share that opinion as easy as you please. They kno...

September 17, 2017

I don’t know when it started exactly, but at some point it became hard for me to speak up. I mainly noticed this in the classroom. I felt so nervous to speak up in class. The majority of thoughts and reactions I had to a classroom discussion went unvoiced. They were too opinion-based, I thought. Not factual enough. They could be argued with, disagreed with. I needed more research, more knowledge, more experience to back up the thoughts and feelings I had about the subject.

On the rare occasions that I did decide to offer up an insight or reflection in class, I had to go through some intense mental acrobatics before my hand would raise and my mouth open. For several minutes beforehand, I would pay minimal attention to the discussion as I rehea...

September 3, 2017

Ever since my first trip out of the country (to Australia), I have felt a strong sense of wanderlust. I’ve traveled to many countries over the years, motivated by a need for adventure, for newness, for learning. Whenever I see a friend on social media share posts about their travels, a part of me twinges in envy of their experiences. There’s a vast world out there of which I’ve barely scratched the surface, filled with different landscapes to see, different cultures to explore, different worldviews to try on. There’s so much to learn and so much to know.

I feel less of a burning need to travel now. My wanderlust is sated by my happiness at where I am in my life, my strong conviction that I’m doing what I want to be doing, that I’m fulfilling...

August 20, 2017

But if I can’t stick with anger at all, and if I can never express it as I’m feeling it in the moment—what sort of protection can I offer myself?

August 13, 2017

I won't live a life not loving every inch of me.

I won't go down this road not expressing every aspect of my capricious nature.

So I ask,

Can you handle me?

Can you handle my lust, my rage? My greed and my jealousy?

Can you handle my sweetness, my love? My tenderness and my need?

Will you still be there?

Can you handle my tears, my laughter? My screams and my moans?

Can you handle my destructiveness, my creativity?

Will you create with me?

Can you handle my moodiness, my temper?

Know that, first and foremost, I am a woman.

I am mother earth.

I am the full, unstoppable, and beautifully terrifying force of nature, inspiring wonder, fear, and awe.

I will not be tamed or domesticated.

Like the ocean, I am more wild and powerful and have more depth and beauty t...

August 6, 2017

I am astonishingly bad at resting. I’ll accomplish one thing and then immediately move on to the next. My ambition and excitement carry me along until I have so many projects going on that I’m living entirely off of momentum—the moment I pause or slow down the whole thing falls apart. I’ll realize how dang tired I am. I’ll realize how silly it is to not actually enjoy the fruits of my labor. But ambition will call, and I’ll answer. I’ll start spinning the wheels of productivity until I’ve built up that safe momentum once more.

There are positive reasons for this sort of active lifestyle. I genuinely love what I’m doing. I find meaning and fulfillment in all of the projects I take on. I relish pushing myself further and seeing how far I can go...

July 30, 2017

There is a hedge maze at the MN Landscape Arboretum. This is how it starts.

Already you have options. Which way to go? You make your choice and proceed to walk into a dead-end, the first of many. Bother. But what can you do? You backtrack, take note of where you had gone off-track, and continue winding your way further into the maze. 

Occasionally, the dead-end includes bright red stop signs with encouraging words to help make clear what the thick, impenetrable wall of shrubbery before you cannot. In more helpful cases, the dead-end includes a bench for you to rest and recuperate on your way through a maze that in all seriousness should take you less than 3 minutes to get through.

This next...

July 16, 2017

A few weeks ago, I enjoyed a drink with a table of women at a night-out event for my MFA program. As our peers mingled around us, as the sun set over L.A., as promises of late-night karaoke were made, our conversation turned to our unpleasant experiences with men. We had many of them. One by one, we shared of situations where a man went too far, where we felt uncomfortable, uncertain, or unsafe. The common thread of our stories was that we couldn’t say “no.” We couldn’t stop it from happening. We didn’t know what to do.

This is over drinks, right? So we’re laughing, playing it cool; we don’t want to ruin the jolly atmosphere. But as we were talking, I was struck by this idea that it would somehow be worse to be considered rude than to be stuc...

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