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Showing posts from 2018

The End of All Things, or, Notes from the Suicide Hotline

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Anthony Bourdain was my godfather of gregarious adventure. I admired his raw honesty, open mindedness, and the way he sought to expand understanding and appreciation of other cultures. He inspired boldness in me to reach out into the world and eat everything. This feels a bit like the loss of a distant but beloved mentor. I will miss his perspective and mourn the work he'd yet to create.

When I was in university, I spent a year working San Francisco Suicide Prevention's crisis hotline. I needed volunteer hours for a class and picked the hotline because at one point in my youth I'd found help through a similar resource. When I tell people about my experience, they expect it to have been depressing. While there were certainly very difficult, haunting moments, the work was largely heartwarming and entirely rewarding. Most of our callers were experiencing suicidal ideation but were not actively suicidal; they didn't have a plan, they were just lonely. They found comfort i…

Desire as the Language of God, or, We Need A Forest Fire

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On the Friday before I left, I woke up with a fire to do laundry and repack my bag. I didn't yet know I was leaving, but the desire to go home had been clear and present in me for awhile. I drew out the decision for as long as possible, encumbered by the ego drive to not yet "fail" at traveling for the whole year. What would it mean to give up on that dream?

An authentic, persistent desire cannot be suppressed, though. When I finally gave in, I was relieved and happy. My very sincere need for a total overhaul of my plan overcame my expectations for myself and my fear of other's perceptions. When I told my best friend I was coming back, she invited me to Portland and the thought lit up all my cells with Hell Yes. Just as clear as I'd been about going home, I was now sure of this. All the pieces slid easily into place and I made the leap into a brand new plan.

Trusting the wisdom of my desires doesn't come naturally. I'm inclined to be wary of following th…

Failing All Over Myself

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Being found wrong or imperfect ignites in me a cornered animal savage snarl. I don't know if failure is a common nightmare among children, but for as long as I can remember it's been my greatest fear. A quiet agreement rattling around in my subconscious asserted that my worth was tied to perfection. Maybe at the end of a semester of straight As, as soon as my thighs gapped, when my hair was smooth and tame, as long as I never ever said or did the wrong thing...THEN! Then I would be worthy of love and respect.

My whole life has been spent gripped by the fear of Fucking It Up. This didn't stop me from being passionately curious and eager to learn, but as soon as things got a bit too challenging and the possibility of failure loomed, I would bolt. I honestly expected myself to be good at everything, even things I was just learning. When caught in a mistake, my gut reaction was fear-fueled resentment and rage. I have had no resilience to the experience of being seen as unmast…