Pain Points

True love is when he buys you an acupressure mat. Mine was black with gold trim, and came with a promise: He would attend to my hurting back in solidarity. Together, we would find relief, in 30-second increments of pain tolerance. And so, this is where I recently found myself—lying on my new, spiked mat…

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Layers First

There I sat. Alone. Silent. And in pain.   During my seven-year marriage, I encountered other couples who had divorced and often wondered, “Why didn’t they try harder? Why didn’t they keep the marriage together at all costs? I just don’t understand.” But, now, on the other side of marriage and trying to pick up the pieces,…

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The Realm of Regret

My husband has a phrase that makes sense when he is talking about finances, but sometimes he says it out of the blue. He will say, “I should have bought Amazon.” In 1997, like any academic, Dan purchased lots of books, but that year he began buying lots of books from Amazon. I remember when…

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Painting a Vision

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.”  – Billy, age 4, defining love If you were to come to a Red Tent dinner at my home, we would sit in my dining room. The table, purchased twenty years ago at…

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Casting Out Fear

Nestled on my favorite side of the couch with a well-worn quilt on a quiet Saturday, I make quick work of the book on my lap. I haven’t read A Wrinkle in Time since childhood, and the plot has grown dim over the years, yet I still vividly remember my fascination with the story. I don’t…

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Devouring Joy

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be. We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is it’s way of fighting back,…

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Leaning into the Absurd

It was 3:57 AM. As I bounced back and forth, back and forth, listening to the combination of my “sh sh sshhh” and the creaking of the floor boards beneath my unslippered toes, I stared at the canvas on the wall across from our bed that says, “Be still and know.” I’d been up since…

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The Woman in the Red Dress

In February of 1998, I became that woman. I was a 21-year-old newlywed, trying to finish nursing school and navigate marriage and life. I had a history. This history of chest pain, fainting and exhaustion had been diagnosed as a treatable valve issue. Doctors said I would “grow out of it.” But that year everything…

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Comforting My Critical Self

You know you have an internal critic when your therapist tells you that you have an “Integrated Self” and a “Critical Self.”

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Hungry for Worth

When I was in college, I heard a rumor that the cute girls who worked in the cafeteria would take all the leftover slices of pie from the food line and eat as much as they could hold; then, they would force themselves to vomit. I was so jealous. I tried, yes, but my body…

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