Seven Miles

Seven Miles

My shins felt like sponges.  My ankles were tree trunks.  I was exhausted.  My fucking maternity jeans refused to stay up; it was a constant game of tug-o-war to get them to stay up over the tender, stretched out skin of my stomach.

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Believe in Growth, All Day, Every Day

Believe in Growth, All Day, Every Day

You always hear people say that you grow closer to your partner when you have children, or when you get married, or go through a life crisis. For my money, over the course of this year, I’ve learned that you grow closer to your partner when you travel. Well, you either grow closer or you end up hating them, it’s really a crap shoot.

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Out of Place

Out of Place

In my dreams, a primary recurring theme is packing a bag - what goes in this time? What are the most important things to include in a limited space? How fast can you make those choices?

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To Skype at 3 A.M.

To Skype at 3 A.M.

It was day 8 of a 2-week study abroad trip I was leading through the south and north islands of New Zealand. It was also day 8 of suffering from poor, interrupted sleep, even though sleeping in new or strange places doesn’t generally pose a problem for me. In fact, I’m quite proud of my acquired skill to “travel light.” Give me a backpack with a change of clothes, necessary toiletries, a good book, and a writing pad, and I’m ready to travel anywhere, no problem.

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Guess Who's Coming to Therapy?

Guess Who's Coming to Therapy?

I am a Pop Culture geek. I studied Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer in grad school. I grew up loving stories, and eventually added Doctor Who to my list. As with all the stories I love dearly, Doctor Who reached me on an intangible level. I identified with tiny little things in it to an incredibly powerful degree. Donna Noble’s feelings of insignificance, Rose Tyler’s desire to do something more than retail work, even Jackie’s conflict of wanting to keep her daughter safe while still honoring Rose’s choices and autonomy.

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Dear Linda,

Dear Linda,

I know that sometimes things are rough. I know that people exploit your kindness, mistaking it for weakness; and that you do not find the love that you crave. I know that your intensity and passion make you hard to relate to especially to those who have forgotten the importance of being themselves and the significance of dreams.

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A Letter To My Younger Self: I Am Not The Woman You Expect

A Letter To My Younger Self: I Am Not The Woman You Expect

I am not the woman you expect.  I am not the ideal, successful “career woman”; the brilliant, beautiful, ambitious young professional working in a corporate office.  I am a recent college graduate; lost at sea, a sea of societal expectations and pressing decisions about the future.  Perhaps I am not the woman you have dreamt I would be, but that does not negate the wealth of experiences that will mold you into the strong woman you will become.  Your most difficult experiences and the lessons you will learn about life, love, and womanhood will lead to your greatest successes and reveal you to be far more resilient than you know.

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Dear Mallarie,

Dear Mallarie,

Dear Me, at 20 Years Old:

Don’t wait.

Whatever thing you’re thinking about doing, go do it. This one piece of advice is so important that I don’t mind if you set this letter aside and come back to it when you’re done.

Really.

Go do the thing.

I’ll wait.

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Twilight Through Palm Tree Printed Curtains

Twilight Through Palm Tree Printed Curtains

I take a long drag of my clove cigarette and exhale. It’s 2003 here so it’s still easy to find these things. It’s more incense than tobacco. I miss these. I peer out through the closed palm tree printed curtains to the patio below. I mean, she looks alright from here, she’s not slumped over, her hair is fine, except frizzy from the humidity of the island, and she’s barely slurring her words, despite the many drinks and the empty stomach. Mostly she looks happy; and why not? She’s celebrating her birthday, her 24th, and she’s having a drink with friends on Guam, with the whole world stretched out before her, waiting. I can see, despite the distance in years and proximity, the twinkle of hope in her eyes. 

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To My Younger Self

To My Younger Self

Dear Sarah,

One day, in a future you cannot yet imagine, you will wake up one day with a burning pain that will signal your transition into the world of chronic illness. You will not know it at the time, but your life will be forever altered, upended in a way that will, quite often, seem grievously unfair. You will be scared. You will be angry. You will cry. And you will wish with all your heart to go back in time, but you cannot.

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A Letter to my Past Self

A Letter to my Past Self

Dear Mir,

Just want to say to you, my younger self, that contrary to all your beliefs, you are totally fine. I know you hate yourself and are convinced you will never get out of New Jersey. Let me just say you will see the northern lights over Greenland, San Francisco from the back of a motorcycle, and millions of acres of salt flats beneath the moon. 

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Dear Emma,

Dear Emma,

Dear Emma,

I’m going to be blunt. Your suffering isn’t going to end. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I know you’ve been through so much already and you haven’t even come to realise the impact that has made. I’m not going to tell you what’s going to happen since it won’t help you understand it at the time. You need to go through everything to arrive at the place you are now. Although part of me wishes I could change your path, I wouldn’t have the understanding and appreciation of life I do. Plus it’ll be a total paradox because if I tell you then you’ll avoid it and then how will I send this letter in the first place? Best to leave things be.

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Dear Early 20s Julia,

Dear Early 20s Julia,

Dear early 20s Julia,

I wish you could meet almost 30 Julia.

She’s the feminist you swore you’d never be. She uses the female pronoun for God, hardly ever wears a bra (even when she probably should), and is living in what some in your family might call sin.

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