Personal Essays

Smile Like You Mean It

I shot to the surface of post-grad life just below the Verrazano Bridge, my lungs choked with the bay’s refuse. College had been all riptides and sea squalls that dismantled my former identity centered around childhood’s structure. I’d once considered myself responsible, but that sense waned when circumstances shifted significantly for the first time in my life. College found me living a slapdash existence, propped up by the certainty pre-paid room and board offered. No one told me I should be s

Some Unnatural Stillness

“There is something uneasy in the Los Angeles air this afternoon, some unnatural stillness, some tension.” Joan Didion I believe in our human connection to the Earth’s seasonal machinations. I establish equilibrium in solstice seasons. Anxiety characterizes the equinox months, more manic and restless in Spring, more moody and destructive during Fall. I developed this belief last year, when I relapsed after eight months of sobriety. I can’t believe it was just a year ago, it feels like lifetime

Bed Mates

I’d never had a sober sexual relationship. “Honestly non-monogamous,” read Rob’s online dating profile. At the beginning of 2018, I was just two weeks out of my five-year affair with alcoholism, but I was still perusing the same apps I’d use to find men who might buy me drinks. Armed with no 12-step program, just my own desperation, I passed the days doing anything that would fill time. I loved the idea of men. I thought to find one might brighten the landscape of an otherwise dark, blank future

The Wasted Years

My first drunk New Year’s brazenly betrayed my parents’ trust. “No drinking,” my mother emphatically reminded me over the phone. I struggled to hear her above the revelrous noise of her friends in the background, beckoning her outside to the makeshift shooting range in their backyard. “I know, I know,” I chided back, my voice sharp with an edge that read, “I’m an honors student with a laundry list of extracurriculars and big dreams. You know I wouldn’t do that.” I clenched our cordless house

Meeting Your Heroes

I had been depressed before, but never like that. The first time I experienced an episode withW symptoms resembling those in the pamphlets guidance counselors give parents, I was fifteen. I had no business being in a relationship at that age, my propensity to love was far too precocious, my acuity with emotional terrorism startlingly advanced. The intensity of my first “real” relationship dragged it to the border of abuse, making accomplices out of both of our inexperienced hands. The ensuing in

By Any Means —

Three drags from an Uber driver’s cigarette bolstered my facade of calm. I swallowed the acidic taste in the back of my throat and stepped through the entrance for my first glimpse into Richard’s apartment. It was bigger than anything I’d ever seen in New York, with a spacious terrace featuring panoramic views of Central Park and the frosty Upper East Side. Black and white tiles gave the floor a sense of antiquity. I noticed a thin layer of dust covering everything and thought, Couldn’t he affor

2 Poems for Lovers Long Gone

I had to sit down on the floor of the sixth story balcony, smoking a cigarette in the plush hotel bathrobe. I didn’t really want to plummet to my death, but the novel fact that I could consumed my mind. With no one there to stop me, I could feel gravity running through my hair. but I still insisted upon setting down the paper plates, stacked with marshmallows, chocolates, cookies, and stalking the halls to double, triple check, my brain racked with visions of intruders. It reminded me of

11 – 26 – 13

When the day finally came for me to write this, I’d pretty much given up on its subject. Aside from the way the situation itself bothered me, the fact that its ickiness stuck around for so long proved extremely troubling. I have intellectualized my way around every angle as to why I put myself through this emotional turmoil, so I don’t have much to say about it, just that it happened and, for whatever reason, is a part of me. This essay was published in Left Bank Magazine shortly after my ill-fa

1 – 29 – 13

I am writing to you in a Moleskine. We used to bond over these things in a time and place where anything other than pop hits with rap interludes and teacher-mandated spiral-bound notebooks felt fresh, foreign, exciting, individual. We were filling out the shapes of our selves, delighted to find we were different. Intelligence could be sumptuous, covers saturated in color, scented with some ripening intellect. Yours had staff paper for music theory, mine was blank for drawing. The first time the

11 - 26 - 13

"Fighting against yourself is a battle you will wind up losing even if you manage to win. Berating myself had been the most effective - the only - method I'd ever employed in seeking personal advancement. But much like the manner in which alcoholics can recall their beloved substance becoming the problem rather than the solution, my saving grace grew to be my most avid tormenter. "Carrot and stick have worked for an amazingly long time," says businessman Peter Drucker. "One does not lightly toss out the tradition of the ages." I could make it work for me again, I reasoned, but first I had to get him back.

On Being Immoral, Publicly

Calling yourself an “artist” is an inherently egotistic act. Even as a certifiable egomaniac, I restrained myself from sitting down to write for so many years because of a lingering voice that asked “and what right do you have to say this?” Eventually, I made it through so many emotionally-wrenching experiences that I chose to ignore this persistent voice. I have found that the years have made me strong enough to decide being a person is qualification enough. So much of my experience as a human

If You Can’t Beat Em’…. Run Away

Well, winter is on its way once more, and it’s time for me to face the fact that in spite of previous forecasts, I will be spending another season getting cozy in solidarity. With work and weight loss occupying the front of my mind, I find myself sitting surprisingly well with this fact. Furthermore, I am at an uncharacteristic loss to define what I would even take from a relationship. It seems I’m either aloof and manipulative or prone to codependence stemming from all-consuming lust. Even the

Inner Child Work with Bon Iver

After years of training in strange and minute ways that would later prove unnecessary, the time finally came for me to move to New York. Countless days preceded the occasion, entire summers and winters spent visualizing and yearning for a fuller life, one populated with the sleek objects of wealth I imagined would inevitably come my way in this city, where everything is possible. The dream originated in a period of my life where I was sure of everything, but I greeted its arrival while inhabitin

Life and I Have One Thing in Common: We are Both Cold Mistresses

I have six angry pimples on my forehead. This isn’t your standard hormonal break out. This is a fucking coup against my visage. My skin is revolting, my whole face is spitting at itself. I feel as if I’ve been smote. Let me tell you, there’s nothing more disheartening than trying to do everything right and getting THIS. Every night before bed, I drink senna tea followed by a magnesium pill and glass of water to cleanse. I wash with Cetaphil sensitive formula, tone with Keihl’s calendula, and fo