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


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When walking becomes the destination itself

To the uninitiated, walking is just putting one foot in front of the other. When the destination is the goal, walking is indeed a slow approach and sometimes considered a waste of time. Walking can also be interpreted purely as a form of exercise without the walker having any other expectation.

But “going for a walk” evokes something quite different from “walking.” In “going for a walk” neither destination nor effort need be the prime motivators. Instead, when “going for a walk,” whether it be in the city or country, one takes a voyage into the self that lets the…

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…

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…

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…

Words of wisdom from people in their fifties and sixties

No one wants to ruin their life, but some people manage to do it. Ruin means to “damage irreparably,” and I’ve seen doctors, attorneys, promising young writers, self-destruct as a result of unmanaged bad habits, drug and alcohol abuse, and illegal behavior. When we see it happen, whether it’s a celebrity or someone we know, we’re often surprised, but when we look closer, it’s most often been a slow burn on the way to the wreckage.

That intrigued me, so I asked my friends on Facebook and my contacts on LinkedIn, “What is the best way for someone to slowly…

This Is Us

It can take a long time to decide you are ready to get the help you need

I have a new therapist.

I liked her the first day because she was kind and a little bit older and not a totally silent human being, which is something I look for in a therapist (and is not a given). The second session we got into a small fight, and the third one was fine but imperfect, so the jury is out. In general, it takes me about six sessions with a therapist to warm to them, to click into the thing they have to teach me.

I’ve had a lot of therapists, and some aren’t even memorable. My…

When you dig deep, you’ll find that both victim and perpetrator were fighting silent battles

When I was 22, I spent a night in jail for credit card fraud. I was a mother to six-month-old twins, unwed, and an undergrad in college. My former partner and the father of my children had not paid child support in months, and I was struggling financially. So when I was issued a credit card under his name and purchased $300 worth of diapers, clothing, and other necessities for the babies, I was doing what I thought necessary for our survival.

While the arresting officers were kind to me, I was met with swift disdain by the officers at…

The mysteries of my universe can be summed up with those two words

All women in this yoga class. The instructor, seated on a block, says, “Lunar cycle.” This is code for menstruation. To be on your lunar is to be bleeding, hopefully not through your yoga pants.

In the fifth grade, pencil marks on a large pink eraser. Mandy. This is her homeroom desk. I sit here for Language Arts. We write notes to each other on the pink eraser. Short notes. We are never in class together, but we see each other at lunch and on the playground. Mandy is tall and strong. A big girl. We start out with simple…

Humans 101

Or, what I learned from 100 people over 50

‘Wisdom comes with age’ is not just an aphorism. Life experience is one of our greatest teachers. As we move through life, we accumulate wisdom about who we are, what’s really important, and how we can live productively and happily.

With this in mind, I recently polled about 100 people, all over the age of 50, for advice on making the most of life. I studied their comments, looking for the particular mental attitude or belief underlying each one. …

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