The Moment I Broke the Cycle of Anxiety, Insecurity, and Perfectionism

The Moment I Broke the Cycle of Anxiety, Insecurity, and Perfectionism

I was standing in a sea of college seniors, moments away from graduating.  I gently caressed the pure white tassel on my cap, poised to turn it at any second.  

In that moment, I did not worry about how many people were graduating with a higher GPA than mine.

In that moment, I did not convince myself that I did not belong at my own graduation ceremony.

Read More

Water Protectors

Water Protectors

In November, like many people, I watched a horrifying video of North Dakota Police backed by private mercenaries from Tiger Swan fire a water canon into a crowd of peaceful protestors, severely injuring several of them. It wasn’t the first moment that I had heard of the Water Protectors efforts against the Dakota Access Pipeline but it hit the hardest. I was a soldier. I served my country for five years and this… this offended me. And I wasn’t the only one. Veterans Stand for Standing Rock was started because of that video.

Read More

Patronizing Bullshit

Patronizing Bullshit

Growing up, I often heard about and saw depicted in books and movies the whole idea of the “importance of work to a man.”  Men who could not work, who could not support their wives and families were frequently depicted as victims.  They drank. They were abusive, but it was okay, or at least understandable, because they world had dealt them a bad hand.  They were to be sympathized with and pitied.  To be honest, I always wrote off this line of thinking, this story line as patronizing bullshit, especially when a woman or other family member was able to provide for a family.  Why did it matter who brought in the money as long as there was food on the table?

Read More

Unregistered

Unregistered

Four years ago, after a long day of teaching kindergarten, I sat down, opened my laptop, and wrote the words, “Bristol Ray did not exist.” 

In a few weeks, those words will be printed in a book—my book—called Unregistered. 

Read More

Tired

Tired

On those rare occasions that I venture out into the world and interact with other humans, common courtesy makes people ask how I’m doing, but I never know how to respond. I’d say “I’m tired,” but my mind says I haven’t the right, haven’t earned that descriptor. When ‘tired’ is for marathon runners or physical laborers, when ‘exhausted’ is reserved for working 100 hours a week or a harried mom of 3, I’m not allowed to be tired. When the adolescent me had aches, they were ‘just growing pains;’ when youth me was feeling down I got reminded that there was ‘nothing to be sad about;’ and teen me falling asleep in class was labeled ‘bored’ at best or ‘lazy’ at worst.

Read More