All posts tagged: Bravery

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Learning About Bravery from My 10-Year-Old Daughter

I watch my daughter come out of a long, twisting water slide, arms thrown out triumphantly, eyes and mouth wide open, soaring for a moment through space before crashing into the pool with a loud splash. We are on a two-week family road trip and are at a hotel pool. She turned 10 just a few days into the journey. And she is brave. I’m afraid of water slides and afraid of this one. I marvel at how one moment, my daughter can be fearless, climbing to the top of a water slide and jumping into it without a second thought, laughing all the way down and going back up and down again. Then the next moment, she wants to be held, comforted and protected. At one truck stop on the trip, she strides into the convenience store, insisting that she can go to the restroom on her own. My eyes dart vigilantly about as I try not to follow her too closely, try to give her a wide enough berth so she doesn’t feel …

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Come Wade In My Stream of Consciousness

I am forever aswim in my own stream of consciousness. Socrates and I would have been very close friends, I’m sure, as I have exactly zero capability not to consider and reconsider every thought I have or decision I make in order to better understand its origins. What is it that motivates me? (Curiosity.) Why I am threatened by not being understood? (Because I need to feel known and seen.) What is it, exactly, about okra that grosses me out? (Simple: the slime.) As Socrates put it, before being put to death, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” And my life, well, it’s very deeply examined by me̶  in a way that is exhausting. Frankly, it’s very tiring to be in a constant meta-conversation with myself. But there’s no stopping it. So to keep things lively, I made my streams of consciousness public. I wrote a book about a time in my life when my house and my marriage fell apart at the same time. And, in it, I laid it all bare: the …

Quitting Booze Made My Beauty Products Work Better

Clearly, by writing this column, you can see that I’m open about being in recovery. In fact, let me properly introduce myself to you: “Hi, my name is Susan and I’m an alcoholic.” Nice to meet you. For the past 21-plus months, after many failed attempts to get sober (including three stints in rehab — luckily I’m still below the Lohan count, I believe), I feel like I’m finally on my way. I feel like I’m finally starting to understand what this sneaky beast of a disease can do, and has done to me (and my family), and what I need to do, each and every day, to keep it in check. To put it in the simplest of terms, I finally realized I had to stop drinking or I would die. And right now, sobriety is starting to suit me. It’s a constant emotional rollercoaster — between AA meetings and group therapy and one-on-one therapy and time spent with my sponsor — sometimes I just feel like a raw walking wound, stripped of my …

Gay Is The New Brown

It was “obvious” to most and “not a big deal” to others, but it took me almost a decade to figure out that I was not the person I thought I was. A pivotal moment came in 2008: I was with my then-girlfriend on my way to work, and we stopped in a posh little West Village coffee shop. A few important facts: – I don’t live in the West Village. – I’m not a posh person. – I wasn’t “out.” So when I ran into two former colleagues from Conde Nast, I was terrified. These were two of the highest-level executives who knew me, and knew that I didn’t live in the neighborhood. So why was I getting coffee with a woman at 7 a.m.? My girlfriend expected to be introduced and acknowledged as my lover. I was trying to avoid the “guilty, I’ve been outed” look. These were the same two people who, almost a decade earlier, had accused me of being gay when I was adamant that I wasn’t. I believed that …

Being Authentic, Cue Diana Ross

“I’m coming out. I want the world to know, got to let it show.” Since 1980, Diana Ross’s rallying cry disco hit has been one of a series of earworm-y songs running on a loop in my head. (Just added: The shamelessly addictive soundtrack to Kinky Boots. Make it stop!) In our third week of TueNight.com, “Coming Out” has re-entered my brain playlist. I think because I want this site to be a sort of a coming out: a culmination of who I am, who we are as mid-life/ gen-x women, and what we love to do/ read/ experience/ share. Something like the actual conversations I have with my friends. As we progress in life, it can become harder and harder to be authentic, or our true selves — not to sound all Deepak Chopra, but it’s true.  We navigate worlds by playing multiple roles, shifting and adjusting our voice. Today I’m a financial analyst, in three hours I am a mom, tomorrow night I am a drinking buddy, consoling my recently-divorced pal. As in …

What I Learned From My Stalker

I may have the word “open” tattooed on my back, but I consider myself overly cautious. By nature of being a sex writer, many people think I’ve offered myself up for explicit, inappropriate conversations, and that’s forced me to keep my guard up. Normally, I don’t answer my phone unless I know who’s calling. I vet strangers I’m meeting extensively online beforehand. On a recent flight, I even took my laptop to the bathroom rather than leave it unprotected in the seat back compartment. My caution is what stopped me from contacting a man I met on my flight to Dubai after I let him borrow my phone charger; I didn’t want to give him the wrong impression. I was excited about this trip to Dubai, and announced it on my blog, Twitter and Facebook in case friends had recommendations or knew people there. The primary purpose of my trip was to find the world’s first and only Hello Kitty Spa, which had recently opened (yes, I was 36 going on 13, and am more …

Baby Steps to Bravery: How I Finally Became Courageous

I left my husband after eleven years of marriage. We lived a comfortable life with money in the bank, good jobs, a nice house, a dynamic circle of friends, all within an interesting and livable town.  But I walked away from it all and when I did, people said I was brave. I came clean about my sexuality in the midst of leaving. Bisexual would be the culturally understood term to describe who I had known myself to be since I was a teenager, but that cold and lifeless word didn’t quite fit the heat of my reality. In truth, I was just plain sexual with people of any gender that I found interesting. But while walking down the street with my girlfriend, I was called brave. People thought I was crazy, but said I was brave when I quit my full-time job that provided me with a modest income, health insurance and most importantly, credentials. I could read it on their faces. Or perhaps those looks were a reflection of my own feelings about …

A Random Timeline of Brave Women in Literature

My father, a good ’70s feminist type, was always very conscious about providing me with examples of fierce women protagonists.  He wanted me to see role models who were strong and courageous. He took me to see Sigourney Weaver in Alien (Of course I was traumatized; I was eight.) He gave me a copy of Robert A Heinlein’s Friday.  He made sure I knew that girls can change the world, and that I should plan on it myself. I was a bookworm, not an activist, so I ended up bonding with some brave literary characters in my reading life. Here are a few of my favorites in chronological order: 1599 Rosalind: As You Like It, Shakespeare Elizabeth I was on the throne, and Shakespeare wanted to impress her — who didn’t? — so he wrote one independent female character after another. One of the most audacious is Rosalind, a young woman banished from court after the exile of her father. She flees with two others to the Forest of Arden and disguises herself as a …