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…
By the time I attended my first Al-Anon meetings as a teenager in the ’90s, I had heard the word “codependency” many times. Where? No one in my house talked about it, nor did friends, but it was ambient in the culture at the time. While researching the genesis of this term and its conceptual underpinnings for a memoir about my own disastrous relationship patterns, I realized I’d probably heard it on the daytime talk shows I sometimes mindlessly watched after school.
Codependency had a moment in the late ’80s and early ’90s. But, sadly, when the term went mainstream…
“Never be afraid of the conversations you’re having. Be afraid of the conversations you’re not having.” — Susan Scott, Fierce Conversations
Have you ever struggled with saying what’s really on your mind? We all do. When we’re not being fully honest with others, it’s often because we:
However, problems occur when you don’t speak honestly:
I asked “When you told your friends you don’t love me anymore, how did they feel?” and you said “Not surprised.”
Three days later you posted a photo and your friends were like “You’ve never looked happier!!!” and they were right.
My friends don’t ask me where you are anymore because they know I don’t know.
I guess we were ships crashing in the night.
So now my memory of you is like money in a glass case in the sea: beautiful, untouchable, distorted, seductive, sinking. …
My brother Kevin had a baby, a beautiful little girl who cries, stress vomits, and has too much gas. I never thought I’d have so much in common with a baby. My brother was prepared for her arrival. He’d been prepared years in advance: wife, house, car, job, money, pets, crib. The last time my girlfriend’s period was late, my life flashed before my eyes like a freight train barreling down on a toothpick castle.
I am a stick person. Kevin is a carrot person. He sees a reward, prepares, does the work, gets it. I see a temptation, run…
You’re walking on an empty street in your hometown. Someone approaches and a meeting of some kind is inevitable. To ignore them would be an act in itself, since it almost seems, for a moment, like you’re the only two people in existence. Perhaps there is mistrust or fear or who knows, but there is an antidote, it turns out: the humble nod. That simple movement, if returned, can be a powerful act.
What does it mean to be a “wild woman?” If you’re visualizing someone baring her chest at Mardi Gras in exchange for beads, that’s not what I’m talking about. A wild woman is someone who has a keen sense of intuition, follows her instincts, feels empowered to protect herself and her pack, and has the confidence to pursue what she desires—and not the things that society tells her she should want. I’m talking about the desires she can feel in her bones.
This version of a wild woman has been drastically domesticated. …
“Did you know my Shanna is making straight A’s again this year? And that she made captain of the cross-country team and the speech team? She’s my pride and joy.”
Growing up, my mother never missed an opportunity to brag about my accomplishments to relatives, coworkers, and grocery store clerks. My accomplishments were her accomplishments. She would preen herself on my achievements while I stood by feeling like a show pony.
Sometimes, I let her boasting feed my ego. Other times, I felt awkward and ashamed. “Is this all I am to her?” I’d wonder to myself.
I thought my…
My love lives far away so we spend an inordinate amount of time on the phone. Hours. Sometimes entire days working, running errands together. When the silence gets too much we entertain ourselves by posing absurd, impossible questions to one another.
“Okay,” one of us might say, “I’m me, but I’m really into golf. Like my whole identity is based around golf, I have golf friends, and wear golf clothes everywhere, even to formal events. I wore a golf shirt to your dad’s funeral. You didn’t want me to, but I insisted. It’s like how I deal with some childhood…