Unexpecting

Unexpecting

When my mother tells stories about me from when I was young, she often highlights the fact that I never wanted to play with baby dolls. I never willingly pretended to be a mother. I liked stuffed animals. Theywould be my children, and I would brush them and care for them rather than baby dolls.

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'Bad Side'

'Bad Side'

Ten months ago, I stood in front of the mirror and called my body “beautiful.”  For the first time in years, I did not criticize my appearance.  I did not disparage my physical features.  I admired every curve, every scar, every tensed muscle.  I discovered strength cloaked behind weakness -- a powerful, invisible strength I have carried with me for my entire life.

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The Great Escape Artist

The Great Escape Artist

I remember my granddaughter’s fourth birthday party. I was there. So was my ex-husband and his girlfriend. I spent most of the time in the kitchen, avoiding them. When the cake was being served, I bolted out the door and into the safety of my car.

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Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental Grasses

When I was a child, we didn’t travel very often.  I didn’t even board a plane until I was 11 years old. We would go to cabins in the woods for a couple nights or so, but they were always within a few hours of home.

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Soaring with Eagles

Soaring with Eagles

Whenever I see a drawing of a bird, I think of my sister. Cherie had a fascination with birds and an encyclopedic knowledge of every species. She worked at a wildlife center and fostered the injured birds, but she had a particular fondness for the birds of prey. She took beautiful photographs of hawks, eagles and owls, and sketched them every chance that she had.

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Our Birth Stories

Our Birth Stories

In early 2013, when my partner and I had just moved to LA, we found out we were pregnant for the first time (totally unplanned!). I was working on a small stipend in which over 75% of my income was going towards the rent of a furnished 400 square foot studio apartment; while my partner was living in a city an hour away in his first year at graduate school, also living on a stipend that was mostly going towards rent.

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Self Awareness

Self Awareness

To me, knowing who you are is as important as remembering to breathe.  Self-discovery is a bit of a winding road. You never know when the curve in will cause you to veer and go off the road.  We all experience our fair share of darkness and light. That is almost a given in any life, no matter how ordinary or lavish. It is about creating a delicate balance between the positive and the negative.

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Perfectly Flawed

Perfectly Flawed

When I was a small child, my grandmother took me to see The Elephant Man, a movie about Englishman Joseph Merrick. Joseph was born with severe facial deformities and was exhibited as a human curiosity in the late 1800’s. The depiction of Joseph Merrick shocked me, but not for the reasons it shocked others. For me, the shock was recognition. I knew Joseph Merrick. I was Joseph Merrick.

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Natural Disaster

Natural Disaster

She said she thinks it’s terrible I don’t want to have children. Like being childless is the Plague or natural disaster. Maybe to her and to many others it is just that. It’s certainly not seen as natural not to want to do the one thing a woman’s body was built for.

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Hasidic Women Tell Their Story

Hasidic Women Tell Their Story

It is Friday night in Montréal and Molly and I are walking along the sidewalk in Outremont, a historically Hasidic neighborhood. I am an anthropology student at Concordia University returning from a field assignment to attend a Shabbat dinner at Molly’s home and investigate the gender based boundary building in the Hasidic community.

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How My Tragedy Became My Passion

How My Tragedy Became My Passion

It was the fall of 2010 that change my life forever. I was a freshman in high school going through many changes in my life already and just trying to find out what I wanted to do in the next four years. Then something tragic happened that I would never forget.  On October 19, 2010 my longtime friend Daniel, who had cerebral palsy and a brain tumor, lost his battle to the cancer.

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Letter To My Hidden Girl

Letter To My Hidden Girl

I see you walking through the halls with your books pressed up against your chest so uneasy and unsettled. I see you sitting uncomfortably in class extremely intelligent and driven, but bearing the feelings of belittlement and inferiority because of the jokes about your nose and bumps inconveniently distributed on the surface  of your big cheeks and forehead.

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Command Presence

Command Presence

I’m an introvert with an outgoing mind, the shy kid in the back of class, timidly raising my hand as if to say, "I have a voice, but I'm terrified my words will come out wrong." I only got my Masters because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, and I was terrified of living a wasted life. Wealth was always secondary to being meaningful, and, to me, being meaningful meant I wanted my day job to be something I was proud of because it helped others as much as the paycheck benefited me.

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