Secret Santa

Secret Santa

"No!” I said as Angie, my coworker approached. She didn’t have to say a word. It was evident by the clear bowl in her hand what she wanted. She opened her mouth to speak but again I said, “No!” I raised one hand to let her know just how serious I was about the answer to the question which she hadn’t even asked.

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Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

Trimming the tree was a Christmas Eve ritual
in my family.
Each year my cousin would come to help my mum.
They would carefully take the glass baubles from the box
that used to hold her big doll called Topsy.
Then they would put them all in their special place
in my family.
 

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Room at the Inn

Room at the Inn

My water broke as I climbed out of bed on Christmas morning. I'd stayed up late the previous evening, listening to a reading of Dylan Thomas' “A Child's Christmas in Wales” on the radio. Afterward, I lumbered to bed and collapsed onto the mattress like a sinking ship. Less than six hours later, I was suddenly in labor with my first child.

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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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