My mom once told me how someone from her women’s group at church announced that her husband had died, which unsurprisingly triggered pity and sympathy from everyone, but also a glimmer of envy.
“Envy?” I asked, incredulous of these reactions and how nonchalantly my mother was reporting this.
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…
Mom had mentioned wanting to take me and my sibling to see where her side of the family was buried countless times over the years. So often, in fact, that I became subliminally convinced that I too wanted to visit a cemetery an hour away for people I had never known.
So on the family’s final day all together before I left for a semester in Berlin, I suggested we go visit. …
My aunt and uncle permanently moved to Maui several years ago, fulfilling their dream. They opened a restaurant, started a dog therapy nonprofit, and take care of their beloved dogs, cats, chickens, and garden.
Still, despite them living an enviable life in paradise, I’d instead think about how they never left the island unless they had to. All of their life confined to 727 square miles. Not only were they physically locked into a relatively small area, but also they didn’t even seem interested in traveling elsewhere.
Despite their happy life that’s fully rooted in one place, I wasn’t able…
I can’t try to explain Kikagaku Moyo without sounding like an obnoxious hipster. “Well, they’re an indie psychedelic rock band from Japan with some Indian influences.”
Yet I don’t really care; partly because I love the band so much and that’s reason enough.
Besides that however, nothing about Kikagaku Moyo feels as though it’s merely capitalizing on growing taste for diverse sounds or interested in their audience’s tastes over their own. The group invests in its own original sound, partly necessitated by their language barrier in English-speaking places and the underrepresentation of Asian bands in rock music.
Additionally, they have…
Note: spoilers for The Vanishing Half and Such a Fun Age; affiliate links used.
My creative nonfiction writing professor would often mention how nonfiction allowed you an outlet to write the clichéd or implausible. If it were really true, no one could dismiss your content as trite or lazy like they could for fiction.
For example, my dad’s best friend ran into the woman he had once loved but had been unable to marry due to her strict Judaism at an airport in Mexico City, 2,000 miles away from their California desert hometown. …
Whether it’s excusing inexcusable behavior in older generations or dismissing reprehensible acts from the past, a common belief is to not judge history by a modern standard, but the cultural standards of the time (and place).
That rationalization feels hollow to me.
To be clear, I’m not blaming older people for not knowing the “wokest” terms, being unaware of nuances in our thinking about marginalized groups and social issues. Being well-meaning and open-minded goes a long way.
Nor am I castigating medieval farmers for not being well-versed in queer feminist theory, for instance.
However, hate is hate. Oppression is oppression.
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My best friend was known in high school for his colorful, stylish outfits. He likes going to thrift shops, and has a talent for finding the best items others miss.
Sure, several peers wondered over his sexuality. I did too intermittently, but figured it was kinder to withhold assumptions, especially when he disclosed in our first year of college how he had toned down his sense of style because of other people’s presumptions.
“People keep thinking I’m gay,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m not,” he said with an adamant solemnity.
I think of Naya Nuki every time I am lost. A twelve-year-old could find her way home a thousand miles away in largely undeveloped forest, I’ll tell myself. Meanwhile, I realize I have to double back ten minutes into walking the opposite direction.
I must have read Naya Nuki: Shoshoni Girl Who Ran by Kenneth Thomasma at least five times as a kid. It details the journey of a Northern Shoshone girl who was captured by an enemy tribe, the Hidatsa, but vowed to not remain enslaved to them and to return to her people, especially her mother.