But affording alternative therapies is a barrier to most

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Photo by Preillumination SeTh on Unsplash

Early-season snowfall covered my windshield as I sat in my decade-old minivan, the motor humming loudly. I needed to drive home, but tears clouded my vision, combining with the large, wet flakes splattering against the glass to distort the world. So, I sat, my hands over my heart, not wiping the tears away.

That’s the difference between tears of gratitude and those of despair. Gratitude tears flow slowly, tickling your cheeks and filling your heart to near-bursting. Tears of despair are forced from your body by throat-clenching sobs. As they pour down, you pinch your eyes closed and wipe them…


I stopped wearing busy like a badge of honor, and I’m never going back.

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Photo credit: Shutterstock

“How are you?” my coworker asks, walking into the basement closet that serves as an office for a meeting.

“Oh, ugh,” I look up from my computer, “I’m so busy.”

“Me too,” she launches into an explanation of all the ways her time is soaked up.

I respond with more of the same.

Working endless hours at a job I don’t like.

Sporting events that drain our finances and that my kids are lukewarm about.

PTA meetings when I’d rather just cut them a check.

Writing lesson plans the principal collects and never looks at.

Cooking homemade meals six days…


Our children learn from us so I need to be careful what story I’m telling

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Photo by Andrii on Adobestock

Tiny Human’s feet — translucent skin, blue veins, little toes — splash in the water as we shower, “Mama, when I grow up, do I have to shave my legs too?” her eyes follow the razor over the curve of my shin.

I pause, mid-stroke, shifting my gaze, so my eyes meet her matching ones, “No, my little. You can, if you want to, but you don’t have to,” the water rains down on us, slightly too cool for me, but just right for her sensitive skin.

When we’re dry and wrapped in towels, I show her pictures of women…


Defense mechanism, competition, or self-hate… maybe all three

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Photo by vectorfusionart on Adobestock

“Kelly said you’ve been acting different.” My mom was concerned. She noticed changes in me, too, and wasn’t sure whether to chalk it up to adolescent angst or more than that.

“I don’t know. I just don’t think I get along with girls very well,” I started practicing this excuse at 13, and by the time I reached adulthood, it was deeply ingrained as part of my identity.

I started distancing myself from my female friends around the same time I learned I was bisexual. I kept women at arm's length because I was afraid that if I let them…


Our schools need to do better with victims of trauma

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Photo by Rafael Ben-Ari on Adobe Stock

I sat in the principal’s office going over some reports that detailed how students in the school rated in the achievement of some arbitrary reading goal set by people who don’t work with children the walkie-talkie crackled.

“John, flipped over a desk again,” his teacher’s annoyance was palpable.

“I’ll get him,” The school social worker rolled her eyes as she stood.

A few moments later she returned, her hand wrapped around the wrist of boy with owl eyes.

“Sit in the corner, right there,” she pointed a shellacked talon at the tile floor.

The boy complied, knees pulled up to…


But not advocating for your need does

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Photo by Alfredo Lopez on Adobe Stock

“Can I have a kiss?” I stood on my tiptoes, still unable to reach his mouth.

“No, not right now,” his hand rests against my chest, gentle pressure, overwhelming pressure.

“Why not?” I cocked my head to one side, the curl that bounces in the center of my forehead covering my left eye.

“I don’t want you to get used to it and think you can have it whenever you want.”

“What? Are you serious?”

“Yeah, besides, you shouldn’t need so much attention.” This time his hand wasn’t so gentle as he pushed me to the side.

Did he think…


And it hurt my family, but, it’s not too late to fix that

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Photo by PR Image Factory on Adobe Stock

I struggled upstairs from my office with my mind swirling with the next steps of my day. I needed to go to my doctor’s appointment, make dinner, pack the kids’ lunches for the next day, help my son with his homework. Was tonight a bath night for the kids? God, my legs hurt. This auto-immune flare wasn’t stopping. All I want to do is lay down with an ice pack and rest.

I rounded the corner into our living room and froze, the anxiety train turning immediately to rage—dolls, blocks, and magic wands from the night before lay strewn across…


The trauma we experience in childhood always matters

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Photo by Aungmyo on Adobe Stock

Our regular babysitter, John brought his friend Dan over to babysit when my mom left that evening. She was probably meeting her friend Suzanne for a drink, something she only started doing after the divorce (that all women should do, any time they need to). I’d met Dan before, at John’s house when our families got together. At twelve, I was newly aware of boys, and, Dan was older and seemed sophisticated in a way that made my twelve-year-old self blush.

But, Dan was a creep.

That night we settled in to watch a movie, me in the middle of…


Breakfast inspires some post-divorce self-discovery

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Photo by esthermm on Adobe Stock

When I started living life with my truth at the forefront, it didn’t happen all at once. It takes just as long to unravel the stories you’ve told yourself as it did to spin them in the first place. For me, it started with eggs.

One day, shortly after I moved into my newly-divorced-and-broke-as-fuck-apartment I decided to accept an offer for a breakfast date with a man named Tim.

I met Tim via the dating app Plenty of Fish back when dating apps were new and super creepy (they’re probably still creepy).

My newly separated self decided to jump on…


I didn’t trust myself enough to call it off.

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Photo by Kzenon on Adobe Stock

“What’s going on here?” Gramma Karen found me sitting in my mother’s Ford box van in the passenger seat, the door open in a failed attempt at combating the Midwestern-summer heat.

Tears fell from my eyes, and embarrassment burned my face. “I just wanted to make sure Merrick has something to eat that he likes, and I don’t know why it’s such a big deal.”

“Ah, so that’s what the fight was about,” Gramma took a drag on her Virginia Slim and exhaled a cloud of smoke that smelled like summer days at the cabin, making me yearn for a…

Maria Chapman

Writer | Coach | Educator | Social Change | Mental Health https://www.mariafchapman.com/ https://linktr.ee/mariafchapman

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