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Human Parts
A publication about humanity from Medium: yours, mine, and ours.

When my physical voice failed, I had to learn that I deserve to be heard

The voice box is a pink, slick mass through which air blows. It’s an alien with a toothless smile. When its folds, the vocal cords, work properly, they press together as we speak, mirroring humming lips. Air slips through the cords. They quake and can vibrate up to 1,000 times per second. That rattled air becomes voice.

I lost my voice at 15. I sounded like a boy hitting puberty, as my inflections became an unpredictable mash of breaks and warbles. …

Read everything from Sarah Stankorb — and more.

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I love it but I wish I didn’t

Cigarettes are my best friend. We live together, work together, look up at the stars, walk along the beach, sit through sunsets, stay up late watching movies, and escape the world when we are alone. When I am sad, cigarettes pick me up. When I am happy, they never harsh my buzz. When things go wrong, they are where I turn first, and they’ve never abandoned me in a time of need. When I need to think, they help me formulate my thoughts. On hard days, no one bothers us if we need to take some time together away from…

My 25-year journey with an album I just heard for the first time

We are the beneficiaries of a secular miracle. Right now, beneath our fingertips, we have access to more music than we could ever possibly listen to. And like most miracles, we take it entirely for granted. Of course we can listen to any music we like, anytime we like, at little or no cost. Was it not always thus?

Amid all this abundance, you’d think music would be devalued, a currency wiped out by its omnipresence. But music can surprise us with the ways in which something for everyone can also prove itself to be for us alone, the ways…

So few interactions give us unbridled permission to imagine

Six months ago at Café Gratitude in Venice, California — while deliberating between an “I Am Immortal” latte and an “I Am Stellar” blue smoothie — a thought popped into my head and I blurted it out.

“I’m going to stop wasting money on psychics.”

Across the table sat my friend and fellow psychotherapist Sara, with whom I often compared notes on therapists, healers, bodyworkers, psychics, and spiritual teachers. “Totally,” said Sara. “I really can’t hear another prophecy about the man who’s coming and the perfect family I’m going to have with him. I mean, I’m 60 for god’s sake…

Finding out God. And finding out that I’m gay.

I first felt God in the textures of my childhood, nestled somewhere in the tough tweed upholstery of pale blue chapel pews, in the scratchy burlap lining the halls, and in the soft family room rug where we knelt in prayer every night. I felt Him in the cold, unforgiving metal of foldable overflow chairs and in the stringy net of a basketball hoop tucked away neatly for Sunday service.

Lived Through This

Moments when ‘everything’s going to be ok’ isn’t true

Everything is going to be okay.

We whisper it to our children when they skin their knees or have a fight with a friend. We proclaim it to those who have lost their job, their partner, their health. We post it on Instagram, showcasing our optimism. We repeat it like a mantra to ease our own anxiety.

Everything is going to be okay.

We assert it to bolster our conviction that the pain is temporary or even inflated. …

Humans 101

There are so many ways we accidentally make ourselves feel bad

Do you remember that time something on your bike was broken, so the mudguard rubbed against the tire, creating a consistent and terribly obnoxious grinding noise whenever you pedaled? And then you thought, “Hey, I should fix this.” But then you thought, “Hey, I don’t know how to fix this.” And then you didn’t think about it anymore because you were preoccupied with life. Then you got back on your bike, and not only was it still making the grinding sound, but now it was impossible to shove backward, and the light fell off because the wire had been sanded…

This Is Us

When you forgive, you grow

My father was a high-achieving, sharp-looking, charismatic, entertaining guy. He provided well for our family, and I learned a lot from him. He taught me the importance of hard work, paying attention to details, asking for what you want, anticipating what can happen, being a good conversationalist, and being friendly to and respectful of others.

He could also be a short-tempered, controlling, overbearing, critical, and perfectionistic pain in the ass. Like with anyone, overused strengths can become weaknesses. But it didn’t stop there — I heard many racist and misogynist remarks from him throughout my life. …

Have we become more connected or more polarized?

Last weekend, I received the first dose of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. Though I would have eventually got the vaccine, I hadn’t been in any rush. But I sought out the vaccine sooner based on the urging of my boyfriend, who had already been vaccinated. I likely would have waited for my next doctor’s appointment.

As I drove to the convention center to get my vaccine early on a Saturday morning, I started to feel a sense of relief. “Maybe this really will be over soon,” I thought to myself. But I felt something else too that I couldn’t quite…

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