Its alarming frequency and some hope for the future.

Credit to Brooke Cagle on Unsplash.

“Widowhood Was Escape, Freedom, a New Life.”

“Envy?” I asked, incredulous of these reactions and how nonchalantly my mother was reporting this.

She went on to say that she assumed some resentment in the sacrifices and responsibilities demanded of a woman in a traditional, heterosexual marriage. …

Writer, sister, traveler…still figuring out what else.

Me in Bergen, Norway in 2019.

Introducing Myself

Reading others’ “about me” posts made me question how much I have to share about myself. Especially now, feeling isolated and aimless while basically unemployed and living at home again during a pandemic. However, I think for a shy 22-year-old I’ve experienced a fair bit so far.

I’ve lived in or near Los Angeles, Munich, San Francisco, and Berlin, although my closest emotional ties are to L.A. — was born in Santa Monica, spent most of my childhood somewhere in L.A. County, and moved back here after graduating from the University of San Francisco last December.

Moving to Bavaria as…

I acknowledge that pleas to support independent bookstores, especially during the pandemic, are nothing original. Just recently, The New York Times highlighted how crucial it is to support local bookstores. And the American Booksellers’ Association, or the ABA, recently launched their “Boxed Out” campaign to encourage people to shop indie, complete with cardboard installations covering bookstores across the country, indicating how indie bookstores have been shut out by Amazon deliveries. So while articles like these may sound repetitive, as the pandemic wreaks havoc on the economy, while billionaires get even richer, it’s become vitally important to sound the alarms to…

Complexity shouldn’t always equal redeemability.

Photo by Gita Krishnamurti on Unsplash.

I never watched the full-length How the Grinch Stole Christmas because my parents were Dr. Seuss purists. (They even denied me permission to watch The Cat in the Hat with my first-grade class, as Mike Myers’ portrayal was too crude).

“That takes away the whole point of The Grinch!” they’d say. “The Whos are good people who believe in Christmas.”

And while both my parents and I can now agree they were a little overprotective when I was younger, I do kind of see their point in that regard. …

Dementia had changed her so drastically.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash.

Grandma moved into her nursing home and showed major signs of dementia only after I was six thousand miles away. So the day after I returned from studying abroad in Berlin, my mother arranged for us all to go visit. The wind barreled against us as we crossed the street, and I tried to feign comfort in my thin sweatshirt because I wanted to prove I was newly impervious to silly Los Angeles winters. But the cold stayed with me for a while.

We knocked on her already-open door and walked in. She lay in bed, her glassy eyes facing…

An invalidating yet seemingly pervasive take.

Photo by Isi Parente on Unsplash.

My realization of my bisexuality in college didn’t come from experimenting with a girl, like the stereotype goes. I wish. That would have been way more fun than agonizingly second-guessing myself for months before my inevitable, anticlimactic conclusion I wasn’t straight.

And it would have been far more validating for my discovery to have come from feeling wanted by women instead of unlearning my shame, wondering if my affections were creepy or predatory.

Either way I found out though, I’m sure some would find a way to invalidate my discovery.

Newfound bisexuality in college is basically a punchline, insinuating that…

Processing after my grandma’s death.

Photo by author.

For a long time, I envisioned therapy as something that only existed for those who were “crazy,” or going through something terrible. Even when I grew less ignorant on the matter in college, I still couldn’t muster up enough motivation to go myself.

I wanted to, but I couldn’t think of the words to describe how sad I felt. Why I was what I was.

I couldn’t imagine summoning the vulnerability needed to tell anyone close to me the depth of my feelings, so telling a stranger felt even scarier.

Especially when I didn’t have a “reason.” My family was…

Why is the opposite so rarely seen?

Photo taken by author.

I can’t think of a single band featuring a male singer among otherwise-all-female bandmates. (Or, for that matter, any band comprised of one man and multiple women). No doubt they exist, but I usually listen to 6+ hours of music a day. Shouldn’t I be able to name one? (If you know some and want to share, leave a comment because I am genuinely stumped).

Even bands with two women alongside men are relatively difficult to think of.

Certainly, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a female singer alongside male bandmates. …

An obvious yet oft-ignored sentiment, at least online.

Photo by Feeh Costa on Unsplash.

Bringing Your Looks Upon Yourself?

Countless posts have pointed out how some celebrities don’t seem to age — in particular, Andy Samberg and Paul Rudd — with the implication that they appear younger and still attractive because they are unproblematic. Not entirely serious, but still so frequently repeated that it almost feels believed.

I appreciate both of them for their use of their platforms for social issues that don’t directly affect them as white men. Beyond that, they’re talented and from what I can surmise without knowing them personally, kind people. I have nothing but love for them.

That being said, according to Google anyway…

Shame and most boycotts do nothing.

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash.

I was excited to visit the Schwules Museum— the Gay Museum —while studying abroad in Berlin. Berlin has a rich LGBTQ+ history, and I looked forward to the unique perspective the museum could offer.

And I did enjoy it, although I wouldn’t consider the destination a must-see if not in Berlin for very long. But there was one specific part that bothered me.

At the end, there was a large map of the world, with a color-coded guide outlining the different punishments for being LGBTQ+ in certain countries. …

Kayla Vokolek

Recent creative writing grad located in Los Angeles. She/her.

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