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


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This Is Us

Culture taught me to pursue love, then sex, then marriage — but that formula has never worked for me

I don’t remember the first time I said “I love you” to a partner. I know it was my first boyfriend, but I have no memory of saying it to him. I also have no memory of him saying it to me, though I’m sure he did.

I’m not sure I actually loved him. He pursued me and I surrendered. No one had ever taught me that it was okay to say no to something I didn’t want — not to dating and not to sex. So we dated and somehow, over time, I came to… what? Did I love…

This Is Us

He was more than just a fun distraction, but was it worth the leap?

Sunset with two champagne glasses.
Sunset with two champagne glasses.

A thing they don’t tell you about starting a relationship — of any caliber — in quarantine is that there is absolutely nowhere to put your feelings. They stay contained, like yourself, in a 500-square-foot studio apartment, until you reach a breaking point and decide it’s worth the risk to set them free. And putting your heart on the line during a pandemic? Well, that’s like taking a thousand risks at once. You ought to be prepared to protect all the vulnerable parts.

I met J in the most iconic of destinations: my Instagram DMs. I knew he existed long…

Past Is Prologue

Love is strange

I fell in love with a guy from New England before I knew anything about him, except his art. This is a dangerous practice, as anyone who has spent time with an artist of any sort can surely tell you.

I should know better. I do know better. But I swear this time it’s different.

I found out everything I could about him through the usual channels — not obsessively, mind you, nothing creepy. I made certain inquiries. I’m like that when I’m interested in somebody, as a friend or otherwise. I want to know where they came from so…

This Is Us

My own feelings paled in comparison to the men in my life

Photo dated to 7/15/2020 of a window with slightly light pink sky.
Photo dated to 7/15/2020 of a window with slightly light pink sky.

The language I have to discuss my experiences feels like a very gender essentialist view of human beings in many ways. Because this is my blog, I do not have language outside of my own experiences to express them otherwise. In no way does this encapsulate the range, depth, and complexity of human experience, particularly in regard to gender.

When I was in the 8th grade, I fell in love with my dad’s friend, Patrick. Patrick was 6’5, 250 pounds, and 42 years old. I was so in love with him. He would come over to the house, and I…

Navigating yes, no, and the sticky spots in between

Editor’s note: This story deals with sex and consent. It contains graphic details which may be upsetting to survivors of sexual assault. For support and resources, please visit RAINN.

My door shut behind him. There were chips in its red paint and a horseshoe nailed above the outside for good luck. I wonder how many women close their doors to men, their bodies echoing from the impact of touch and wonder, Did I say yes?

What they don’t tell us as teenagers, as creatures terrified and over-brimming with the need to figure out who we are, is consent in real…

Humans 101

It’s become pop-psych shorthand for our entire personalities

I’ve belonged to my fair share of Facebook self-help groups over the years, and while the people in them are as diverse as the topics they’re looking for guidance on, I have noticed one constant. When it comes to relationship advice, the first response is almost invariably: “What’s your attachment style?”

It feels as though the simple psychological rubric of attachment theory has become a kind of interpersonal catchall—a shorthand for people’s entire personalities and outlook on life, erasing individual nuance in favor of a more palatable stereotype. But while attachment has become a powerful tool wielded by armchair therapists…

Humans 101

Why you want to predict and control the outcome — and how to stop

Multiple exposure photo of a couple hanging out in a hotel room.
Multiple exposure photo of a couple hanging out in a hotel room.

I finally arrive at work after an arduous, 75-minute commute. After taking off my winter coat, scarf, hat, and gloves, I refill my tea. Settling in at my desk, I pull out my laptop and log in to the network. First, I check my schedule and see that I have back-to-back meetings for most of the day — ugh. I see an email from my boss. He needs information for a quarterly business review. The email has a red exclamation point, marking it as urgent. …

This Is Us

But according to the men I know, the feeling’s not universal

Double exposure of a couple standing on staircase against railing.
Double exposure of a couple standing on staircase against railing.

An ex of mine, who I’ll call Matt, recently admitted that if he were to meet someone with a life as established as his own — someone extremely committed to her job, who owned a house, and felt rooted in her community — it wouldn’t work, no matter how compatible they were. It would be too hard for them to merge lives, he explained. He preferred someone who fit into his; he just wanted someone “easy to hang out with.”

Though it felt like a million little knives piercing my skin to hear my otherwise-progressive ex admit that no matter…

This Is Us

Apps, adult braces, and a strong commitment to my own independence

Creative picture with zoom technique of illuminated hearts creating tunnel effect with light trails.
Creative picture with zoom technique of illuminated hearts creating tunnel effect with light trails.

Marriage is a great institution, but I’m not ready for an institution. — Mae West

Improvisation (noun): the art or act of composing, uttering, executing, or arranging anything without previous preparation

When I got divorced, I imagined that after 18 years I might be “out there” dating again, and concerns arose about my appearance.

I know that’s very superficial, but if you ask any newly divorced person, it is realistic.

When I got divorced, I definitely thought dating would be a part of my life because that’s just what people do. It was part of everything I was told or…

This Is Us

Learning about attachment styles has helped me contextualize my previously baffling dating patterns

Have you ever dated someone brilliant? The type who listens to astrophysicists interview each other for fun. Actually, scratch that — the type who ​​watches​​ astrophysicists interview each other for fun. On a projector. As in, the type who purchased a projector for the sole purpose of screening YouTube videos featuring two experts framed by a chilling white background, talking about specific things like the ways REM sleep contributes to longevity.

This, by the way, is just in their free time. A workday is a whole other story, which kind of goes like this: Wake up at 6 a.m., go…

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