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 I was a dog that would be spoiled by too much petting or too many treats? …

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 rug. …

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 the couch, and my little brother to my right. It was chilly in the basement, so we had a comforter over our laps. Dan and John entered the room with popcorn and handed a couple of bowls around just as the movie started. I took one and placed it in my lap, so Little Brother and I could share it. …

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 dating apps, not because I wanted a relationship, but because I’m a sexual creature (like most people who aren’t asexual) and wanted to find a way to get those needs met when my son was away visiting his father. Single moms with full-time jobs, master’s degree programs, and a household to run do not have time to socialize in hopes of meeting someone. …

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 bit more childhood. …

Actually, it doesn’t. That’s just a lie I let myself believe.

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Photo by Atstock Productions on Adobe Stock

I love makeup, especially eye makeup. I love eyeliner and eye shadow like a dog loves a kong ball filled with peanut butter. Right now, I have five shades of eyeliner and six different palettes of eyeshadows in my bathroom. I also have an assortment of individual eyeshadows in shades I just had to have, or that make traveling easy.

For the longest time, I was self-conscious about my love for makeup (and writing this with the thought of publishing it still gives me a bit of that feeling in my stomach you get when you’re about to be vulnerable with people about something you’re not entirely done working through the shame of yourself). …

Rather than tell women how to avoid sexual assault, let’s teach men how not to rape women

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Photo by Monica Melton on Unsplash

Quake Lewellyn, 28, of Newport, Arkansas, faces charges in the rape and murder of Sydney Sutherland, a 25-year-old woman from Arkansas. Sydney was kidnapped, raped, and murdered.

According to The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network, one in six American women were victims of sexual assault during their lives, and sexual assaults occur every 73 seconds. That means that by the time you read this article, another person will be the victim of sexual violence.

In response to Sydney’s murder, Good Morning America printed a report listing ways women can behave to stay safe well exercising outside. The article listed things such as not wearing headphones, paying attention to your surroundings, running with a group, and even how women should dress or wear their hair. …

The creation of pandemic-pods seems like the best option for many, but it is the wrong answer to the school opening question

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Photo by Santi Vedrí on Unsplash

This week I completed another survey from my home district about what my plans are for sending my son back to school in August. My choices are to send him full time, or engaging distance learning. Like many parents, I’m concerned that the full-time in-person option will be shortlived if it gets off the ground at all. Distance learning last spring was, to put it mildly, not good for my boy, but I’m optimistic that this summer of curriculum work will yield stronger results.

Like many parents across the country, I’m considering the option of a micro-school, or “pandemic-pod”. As a certified educator, I may choose to operate a homeschool model for my son and the children of a few close friends who have jobs that take them away from home. …

You can’t love someone else more than you love yourself

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Photo by Pixel-shot on Adobe Stock

Today I looked at my teenage daughter. She put on a new sundress in a beautiful yellow with tiny black flowers on it. She pulled her thick, chestnut-colored hair into a ponytail. Her face was devoid of makeup because it’s 90 degrees and humid, so makeup is pointless.

When I caught sight of her, I told her the following:

That dress shows off your chubby arms, put on a sweater.

I can’t believe you thought the dress concealed the rolls in your midsection.

With those under thighs, you shouldn’t be wearing such a short skirt.

Don’t go in public without makeup; you’ll scare someone. …

Nancy Mahany lost more than just her health, and now she’s reaching out to others with chronic illness

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Photo courtesy of Nancy Mahany

After one of her spinal surgeries, Nancy rode a wheelchair through the airport to catch her return flight from Denver to Arizona. An airline employee told her she didn’t look disabled and couldn’t possibly need the wheelchair. Unfortunately, this shaming reaction is all too familiar for Nancy and many other people with persistent symptoms of tick-borne illnesses.

I spoke with Nancy via a FaceTime interview. If you judged based on her appearance, you wouldn’t know she’d spent nearly three decades battling an unknown illness that almost killed her more than once.

Nancy is a woman who, at 58, appears significantly younger and whose funky glasses suggest a fun, outgoing personality. As we talked, she sat in a zebra-striped chair and described her physical decline, her voice breaking with emotion. …


Maria Chapman

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

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