Showing posts from November, 2015

10 things never to say: a rant and manifesto

1. humans vs. assholes The other day, a writer I’m Facebook friends with posted: “I’m tired of personal essays. I really don’t need to know anything else about any stranger’s breakup, dysfunctional friendships, epiphanies, condescending cultural affiliations, or childhoods. Can the age of the universalizing snowflake transition into something else now?” I basically agree; the thread that followed attached some qualifiers, and I admitted I like reading and writing personal essays when they’re good (well, I like reading them when they’re good; I probably like writing them even when they’re bad). But two things became evident: First, the universalizing snowflakes in question are usually middle class white women, rapidly turning their angst into a bid for internet fame. Guilty as charged, Your Honor. Let me tell you all about my night and how dark and stormy it was. Second, there’s a particular subgenre of the universalizing snowflake personal essay that especially bugs me, a

village people

The other day at work, in an admittedly cynical moment, someone said: “Let’s start a drinking game at staff meetings—every time someone says ‘It takes a village,’ we do a shot.” Let's talk about this mother of at least two and her 19" waist. Today I brought Dash to work with me and asked one of my coworkers to watch him while I met with a foundation officer. He was cuddled by coworker after friendly, generous coworker, and when someone asked how he’d spent the past hour, I found myself saying, “It takes a village.” I also used to joke that It takes a village to raise a Cheryl. This was during the time when I had two oncologists, a radiologist, a reconstructive surgeon, a physical therapist, a regular therapist, a couples therapist, a hypnotherapist, a nice lady at church named Margot and a couple of cancer pen pals, all working overtime to keep me alive and sane. High five. Three years ago today, an ultrasound tech told me the doctor wanted to do a biopsy

the halloweens of my people

1. turnips and sugar skulls The other day I caught a lighthearted BBC News Hour story on Halloween. Two reporters with crisp English accents discussed the fact that Halloween had been exported from Ireland and Scotland to North America, altered, then re-exported back to the British Isles. “Pumpkins are a new world vegetable,” one of the reporters said. “If we wanted to truly celebrate a local holiday, we’d be carving turnips.” “Turnips!” the other exclaimed. “Well, that sounds quite mushy.” Turnip spice latte, anyone? Around the same time, I read a Huffington Post piece titled “Dia de los Muertos is Not Halloween,” which included some good (and sadly not obvious?) points like: Dia de los Muertos is about “paying respects to late loved ones, honoring their lives, and acknowledging the fragility of life,” not just painting your face like a calavera and partying. Fair enough. But one (white) activist in my Facebook feed posted a long admonishment to her fellow non-