It Looks Like Granola, But It’s Really Self-Care

The first step was to stop saying, “Stupid, stupid, STUPID, Beth. How could you be so STUPID?” to myself in the car on the way home from work. It didn’t matter, really, what I’d done during the day; I’d slide onto the cloth seats of my Pontiac in the late afternoon and berate myself, like clockwork, sure I’d done something unforgivably foolish or said something truly humiliating.  ...  read more

Maybe It’s a Poem: Thoughts on All of Life

Alrighty, folks. I wrote to you a bit ago about my new welcome mat which reads,

Come on in,
We’re not ready

And I told you about the joy and angst it brings me. 

Joy because YES, THE DOOR IS OPEN even though WE’RE NEVER READY. Joy because COME IN, ANYWAY, and “ready” is overrated. Joy because we choose Welcoming the Wanderers over Pristine Pretend. And joy because there’s something intimate and vulnerable and real about allowing others to bear witness to the mess and the madness.  ...  read more

Feeling Sick Is Part of It: A Response to Kids in Cages

I’m eating white cheddar Cheetos — the fancy kind with no preservatives, flavors or colors. The elitist cheese puffs were only $0.29 more than the regular, neon orange, radioactive kind, so I decided not to get cancer, just this once. I’m drinking diet ginger ale, too, because cheese dust and ginger pair well, and, also, everyone knows the word “diet” counteracts all calories consumed in that sitting.  ...  read more

I Saw an Old Woman

I saw an old woman last night wearing a loose shift in the lobby of my daughter’s condo building. She was tiny in every direction; her arms the size of my wrists, her head as tall as my chin. She must’ve been pushing 80, both in years and in pounds. Her skin was ivory white under the florescent lights, translucent almost, like it was the color of her bones leaching through and not so much the color of skin at all. Like she was turning inside out. Transforming in her skin cocoon in front of my eyes. ...  read more

5 Real Ways I Eased My Depression This Year

SERIOUS ACCOMPLISHMENT TODAY, friends.

I called the pharmacy. On the TELEPHONE.

Like, I was out of medicine, so I casually picked up the phone, all la-dee-da as though I do this every day, dialed, talked to another human, and ordered more meds.

TRUE STORY.

It took less than two minutes, as opposed to the usual two weeks of crippling inertia and dread.

It took no brain space and carried no anxiety, as opposed to a full mental shut-down, clammy skin, and racing heart. ...  read more

Why It’s OK To Cry at Writing Retreats (or, At Least Ours): A Guest Post by Melanie Springer Mock

Dear Friends,

Today I’m delighted to share this space with my friend, Melanie, who is one of my major writing inspirations.

Although I was initially intimidated by her — she’s a real writer, after all, has authored several books, and is an award-winning professor of writing at a university —  I soon learned that Melanie is also an encourager, a kindness monger, a humble advocate and mentor, and a loyal friend. Now Melanie has released her latest book, my favorite so far, and I think you’ll see immediately why I’m sharing it (and her) with you. It’s titled Worthy: Finding Yourself in a World Expecting Someone Else. For those of us who grew up in conservative Evangelical Christian culture and have felt enormous pressure to conform in order to fit in — for those of us who have desperately longed to be wildly and truly ourselves with all our magic and mess, as though that is who we were created to be all along — this book is a life-giver and a game changer. Vulnerable, funny, heart-wrenching, and deeply true, Melanie shows us the way to discover that we’re already worthy of love exactly as we are. Which is what I hope we do here every day. ...  read more

I’m My Kids’ Friend AND Their Parent (Psst… You Don’t Have to Pick)

I spent much of my early parenting life afraid.

True truth.

And although some of my fears made sense — as in, I’m pretty sure it’s a biological imperative and plain good sense to want to keep your child from harm — many of my fears were based simply on the Great Unknown of Parenting. I was afraid I’d do it wrong. Afraid of being too lenient. Afraid of failing my kids and somehow Ruining Them Forever. ...  read more