How to play when you’re not a sports person

I played on the girls softball league in my town in grade school. It’s not something I wanted to do, or asked to do. My mother simply signed me up and I did it. Why was I doing this? A few other kids from school were doing it, and it would be good to go […]

What a happy person looks like

As a kid, my sister Kim fell into a cactus terrarium we kept on the windowsill (don’t ask why we kept cactus terrarium on the windowsill), and spent hours in the ER where they pulled out one needle at a time. She got a Cocoa Puff up her nose while pretending to eat her cereal […]

Things you think you can’t do

Freshman year, I joined an after-school writer’s club, and even had a poem published in the school literary magazine. It wasn’t bad. But I told my mother, that year and many to follow, that yes I liked to write, but “I’m not a ‘real’ writer.” My best friend, on the other hand, now she was […]

How to deal with your ex (Day 14)

In just about every episode of The Golden Girls, someone rings the doorbell. What’s on the other side of the door looks like the opening line of a joke: There may be a priest, a rabbi, a girl scout, a cross-dressing baseball player, a police officer, a stripper dressed as a police officer, someone who’s […]

Don’t go cheap on your face (Day 13)

When I turned 13, my mother bought me a set of makeup from Clinique: a bottle of flesh-colored foundation; blush that came in a green marbled compact with a tiny brush; a mirrored box that slid out to reveal a tray of neutral eyeshadows in varying shades of brown; a subtle semi-gloss lipstick in a […]

How to sell yourself on something you don’t like (Day 12)

I always loved a good side hustle—even before it was a thing. Having something on the side always made you feel you had stuff going on, especially when you had nothing else going on. For a while I took whatever popped up and was happy to: a job with Captain Morgan that involved dressing up […]

Watch your tone (Day 11)

“If you spoke to your friends the way you speak to me, you wouldn’t have any friends.” My mother is washing and drying the Corningware, sliding it back into its drawer, the lids  making that rattling Corningware sound (a sound unmistakable from any other). The counters are wiped down, and a half empty box of […]

How to defend yourself (Day 10)

There are two good reasons to sign up for self defense: Because you’ve had your boundaries crossed before, or because you’re afraid they’re about to be. Chances are, both things are true. I have never been mugged on a dark street corner or raped or beaten. I had been kissed and pushed and pressed. I’d […]

The Real Reason You Don’t Feel Fulfilled

If you’re like many women, you pride yourself on setting other people at ease. On making clients, colleagues, partners, friends, children feel comfortable, making them feel heard, smoothing over any awkward bits or hiccups of tension. But…

Let me see your scar (Day 9)

When I was 32 years old I got sick. It wasn’t flu sick, and it wasn’t cancer sick; it was the kind of sick that strikes like lightning and nearly kills you on the spot with no advance warning whatsoever. I was on a business trip to a conference…

The art of hesitation (Day 8)

I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to hire me. So I not only didn’t apply for promising jobs senior year of college; I didn’t apply to any jobs. Not one. While my fellow seniors were trotting off to the career center for this or…

What you missed (Day 7)

One of the perks of attending a private catholic, all-girls high school is that the bus picks you up at your front door. It’s a short bus, but a bus nonetheless. The driver is Medrell, a large, tough woman whose ample rear hangs over the edge…

Tell your left hemisphere to shut up for just one second (Day 6)

In the first TED talk ever to go viral, Harvard-trained neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor details the workings of her mind during a severe hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain in 1996. What she describes is inexplicable: When her…

How (not) to sell: What I learned hawking jewelry on the side (Day 5)

I was working as a copywriter at a wig catalog when I got the opportunity I’d always wanted: To work as an editor at a women’s magazine. I took the job—along with a $15,000 pay cut. I needed a side hustle. So while attending a jewelry…