A couple years ago I shared my story about growing up as the child of an alcoholic. After years spent screaming into journals, wrestling with how to move beyond the mess and the pain, it was cathartic. But something incredibly unexpected happened after the story was published.

My inbox exploded with messages from readers all over the world who shared their stories, in shock that mine sounded so similar. My tribe. These people knew exactly what I had been through and had felt it all in their own way.

Keep Reading Show less
Family

A request from your chronically ill friend: what I need when we talk about my sickness.

When I meet new people, I often struggle to explain what I need. This is it.

When I was 14, I woke up with a fat face.

I was sick with a fever higher than I had ever felt. My face felt like a sumo wrestler had crammed a cantaloupe into my ear.

My mom took me to the emergency room in the closest town to our family’s remote lake house in North Carolina. Receptionists shooed me in, nurses injected butt shots, and doctors gave me doe-eyed stares. They had no idea what was wrong with me.

Keep Reading Show less
More

These 11 childhood cliches are still totally on point.

If we follow the voice from childhood still ringing in our heads, we might do better at adulting.

Did your parents set boundaries for you when you were a kid? Mine did.

But if you were anything like me as a kid, you questioned all of it. I wondered why I couldn't stay up all night at a sleepover, or why I couldn't eat a bowl of Fruit Loops at bedtime. (My mom always said, “You think you’re hungry, but you’re really just tired. Go to bed.” Thanks, Mom.)

Me and my mom. Photo courtesy of the author, used with permission.

Keep Reading Show less
More

What I learned about emotional baggage on my most recent first date.

What if our 'perfect' online dating profiles are hurting our chances of finding something real?

It seemed like Seth and I would be a match made in cyber heaven.

Of course, I determined this based on our skimpy online dating profiles where we both strategically left out pieces of our life stories. Little did I know that Seth would teach me what it means to admit I’m human and come with a lot of baggage, just like the rest of the world.

Like every safe online dater, I made sure we met for our first date at a coffee shop. Nothing too serious to break the world’s most awkward ice. (Seriously, if you’ve never had the privilege of walking into a crowded public place with all eyes on you to meet a stranger, consider yourself blessed.)

Keep Reading Show less