Love: a 4 Letter Word in 4 Parts


I don’t have a memory of love before I was twenty one.

True, I grew up in a close-knit family where the words “I love you” were regularly spoken. But, for me it was a statement of fact or obligation. It was not the joyous, deep body feeling that I now know as love.

The person I dated for a over a year in college was rightfully angry that I told my friends and family that I loved them, but I never said it to her. It is only in hindsight that I see how immature I was. I didn’t know what love was really, what it felt like, or that I was responsible for it. I thought it was a thing that would simply come to me, like Tinker Bell, and sprinkle me with a magical dust. I worried that I would never love someone, that something was wrong with me that rendered me undatable and incapable of love. For years, I was comforted by Melissa Ferrick’s “Love Song.” She sings: “How strange at twenty one, never even had one.” If Melissa Ferrick felt this way too, maybe I was ok. (read more…)

Hard is Ok.


The most physically painful experience of my adult life was having an IUD inserted. I will neither gross you out nor bore you with details, except to mention that I found it so painful that the next day my groin muscles were incredibly sore from having clenched my thighs into wobbly submission during the procedure. Just happy to have it over with, I didn’t think much of the experience at the time. But in a recent yoga class, I saw something more profound in how I tightened against the pain. (read more…)

How to Quiet Your Inner Critic

Yesterday, I left work forty minutes later than normal because of a last minute effort to accomplish work I’d avoided during the day. Finally, I called it quits and walked to my train station to head home.

“You didn’t do anything today!” a voice in my head cried out, “you’re terrible.” I wallowed in that voice, the voice of my Inner Critic, and agreed.

should have done

We all have an inner critic: the voice in our head that says the mean, unhelpful things. My inner critic looks like me, but with a pinched nose and a tight bun. She’s very proper; I imagine her in a tight pencil skirt that doesn’t allow her to take long strides. Instead, she teeters around on high heeled pumps (shoes I would never wear, for the record), and wrinkles her nose at people. She is the type that shushes other people at the movies. (read more…)

Confidence is Doing.
Lessons from a Cheater

infinate recognition

In high school, my friend Seth figured out how to work the system to his advantage. We attended a large public school where we, as students, had little control over our own fates. We were given a schedule of classes each semester that was more or less written in stone. The programming office would refuse any changes other than clear and blatant errors. Seth, however, took matters into his own hands. Each semester, he would volunteer for the programming office for a few days. In exchange, he’d gain the power to alter his own schedule. He’d pick classes with the best teachers and with friends, and give himself first period off. Sometimes he’d do favors for friends (and especially for the girl he was interested in).

Despite sometimes benefiting from Seth’s maneuvering, it infuriated me. It felt like cheating. I was angry that he was above the rules that governed the rest of us. At the time, I only thought of it as an irritating, and perhaps arrogant, side of his personality. It is only with quite a bit more perspective and life experience that I recognize Seth’s maneuvering as instructive on how to find the ways through and around obstacles– a lesson in confidence. (read more…)