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


In Human Parts. More on Medium.

How sheets, docs, and folders can help you make sense of your relationships (and yourself)

We often use organizational tools to manage our external lives: to track deadlines, goals, and tedious projects that require pivot tables and formulas. But for all the energy we put into charting our professional growth, our personal lives are often a swirling mess of feelings, thoughts, and relationships in need of definition — or at least reflection.

Forge’s new Guide to Google Drive contains tools and templates for everything from ranking your exes to talking to God. Want to spice up your sex life? There’s a Google Sheet for that. Host a virtual party? Here’s your doc. …

More To That

Beat perfectionism by embracing this one simple concept

When I start on a new post, I’m off to the races.

Words connect, the creative juices flow, and I’m able to get a lot done.

More To That

You can’t predict the countless benefits that await you on the other side

A smiling person jumps toward the viewer, fist raised triumphantly.
A smiling person jumps toward the viewer, fist raised triumphantly.
Illustrations: More To That

Life leaps come in varying distances.

Some feel lofty and risky:

More To That

Learn the three rules of self-doubt to silence its voice for good

Illustrations courtesy of the author.

Of all the emotions I struggle with, the toughest is self-doubt.

To give you an idea of our tenuous relationship, here are some of the questions self-doubt routinely asks me:

“Hey, you. Yeah, you. Will your work ever be good enough?”

“Do you really think you’ll be able to grow this blog into something financially viable?”

“Shouldn’t you just give up now and do something else instead?”

These questions are no fun to face, and the most frustrating part is that they can appear at any moment. Even when things are going well and I’m feeling good about my work…

Lived Through This

She helped me survive with a new understanding of the world around us

A black and white photo of the author’s shadow along with her dog’s shadow.
A black and white photo of the author’s shadow along with her dog’s shadow.
Photos courtesy of the author.

The day I almost died, my dog was at my side. Now in her final stage of life, I pay tribute to her by sharing what she did as I lay dying, in hopes it helps others find meaning through these, and all, difficult times.

Virginia changed my life. She woke me each morning, just past dawn, and brought me into the woods, among the trees. She taught me to rise early when the world was silent and my head was silent and my heart was open.

Every day, little by little, my dog woke me from the sleepwalk that…

Express Yourself

You may disagree with your editor, but they’re (probably) right

Photo illustration; Image sources: Liliboas/CSA Images/Getty Images

Welcome to The Draft, an advice column about writing and life from Eileen Pollack, former director of the University of Michigan MFA Program. We’re here to answer your questions about storycraft, writing, and telling the truth.

Have a question? Share it with us.

Dear Draft,

I’m using the lockdown to finish and send out a bunch of essays, but all I’m getting are rejections. You’d think with all these submissions, the editors would at least send a personal note. Can I write back to ask why they’re not taking my work?

Rejected and Dejected

Dear Draft,

I know I’m…

Humans 101

When keeping up daily routines feels impossible, there’s a deeper cause at play

Photo by Walling on Unsplash

If there’s been any resounding sentiment on the internet over the past few weeks, it’s this: Functioning at optimal levels of productivity simply isn’t a reasonable expectation right now.

This is true. However, it ignores the fact that many of us lacked motivation before the pandemic — and our current reality has only exacerbated that.

If the simplest tasks feel overwhelming right now, don’t worry.

It’s not just you. It’s everyone.

It’s also a solvable problem — but solving it requires a few mindset shifts.

If you’re someone who finds very little motivation in completing mundane daily tasks that are…

A visual essay about seeing the world more…

Lived Through This

Lessons on grief, gratitude, and uncertainty from my time behind bars

A filtered photo of a chain link fence.
A filtered photo of a chain link fence.
Photo: fanjianhua/Getty Images

By the time I was 24, I had been addicted to heroin for several years. My life was objectively miserable, and despite my attempts to quit, I couldn’t. Felony convictions dashed my hopes for my future. The possibility of a career in medicine, and a life worth living, vanished. I actively wanted to die.

It was in that state that I found my mother dead from an overdose. She had retired from the Air Force after 20 years of service. By 2013, she was in poor health due to COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), but I never thought she would…

This Is Us

Because with cancer, you learn to let the little things be little

A photo of the author’s wife in front of a wall painting of wings.
A photo of the author’s wife in front of a wall painting of wings.
Photo courtesy of the author.

Two years ago today, we got the call from the doctor to inform us that we had cancer. Yes, I said “we,” because it wasn’t just her. It was us. And it wasn’t just us, it was we.

A cancer diagnosis doesn’t just attack the patient. It attacks families. Our children. Her parents. My parents. Our siblings, nieces, and nephews. Our aunts and uncles. Our friends, our community, our tribe. We all got diagnosed that day.

It was never just her. It was us. It was we. We were all in this together. Heck, many of us would have raised…

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