Year: 2020

An Astrologer Tells Us Why We Need to Take a Nap Right Now, And Start Dreaming

“I just don’t know what I should be doing right now!”, one of my clients lamented recently.  “The world is so messed up, there’s so much I should be doing, but I don’t know what to do!” “Get some sleep,” I said. “Sleep? There’s literally a protest going on outside my window!” “So, go join it. And when you get home, take a nap. Neptune is in Retrograde right now, which means all your illusions are being stripped away. Now, you have the space to dream big, without the limits of money, patriarchy, racism or age-ism. But you can’t dream if you don’t sleep.” As an astrologer, I deal every day in the area of dreams.  In the beginning, I thought becoming an astrologer meant I would be reading symbols that helped people discover their true, radical, unapologetic selves, so that they could stop trying to live the lives of others and fully embrace the life they were born to live. Astrology had helped me do that in my own life, and I wanted to …

Nope, It Doesn’t Need to be Steamed, Sprayed or Douched

A few years ago, I was talking with a relative and the talk turned to douches. I don’t remember how we got on this subject, but there we were, biding our time at the grownup table of a kid’s laser tag birthday party, talking about vaginal cleanliness. I was saying that while I had previously douched every month at the end of my period, I had stopped because it gave me a fire crotch of yeast infections. I had even given up the long, super-hot baths that I loved. “Wait…you don’t douche?” my relative asked, her voice full of judgment. She side-eyed me. She might have even sniffed the air in my vicinity; I couldn’t be sure. She’s only about seven years older, but suddenly I felt like I was talking to my mother or my grandmother, the women who raised me. Growing up, a hot water bottle with a hose and applicator attached always hung inside the shower in our bathroom. At some point, I must’ve asked what it was for and was told …

Black Like Lauryn: How I Went from Baltimore Beauty to Diaspora Darling

My last year in college, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill was everywhere. All we listened to, all we sang. The strains of it wafted on the wind across campus. As a Black girl from the hoods of Baltimore, I played Miseducation as much as anyone else. So much, that now, more than 20 years later, I can still sing/rap every note, every word. Lauryn’s epic 1998 LP was groundbreaking, but the woman herself wasn’t new to me. I’d watched her on As the World Turns and in Sister Act II. I’d head-nodded along with her flow when she was a member of the Fugees. But there was something about Lauryn singing and being on her own that spoke to my young heart. Slender, dark, loc’d, full-lipped, rocking her Northern accent and what felt to me like matching aggression. Something about her beautiful Blackness that looked nothing like mine.  College is the time when kids go away just Black and come home BLACK. Before college, my concept of Blackness was home. West Baltimore. Relaxed hair teased …

Summer Book and Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

We’re giving one lucky winner a $100 Amazon gift card and two “literary fans” book packages that feature three titles from Penguin Random House: Mary Gaitskill’s This is Pleasure, Edwidge Danticat’s Everything Inside and Nazanine Hozar’s Aria.  Contestants must be over 18 and from the United States. To enter, you must log into the Sweepwidget module below, and sign up, visit, follow or share before the contest closes on July 30, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Full rules can be found at the bottom of the module below.

My Search for the “Oh Yes!” When Sex Was a No-No

Sexual education in my conservative, southern, Christian upbringing was strictly on a need-to-know basis: I needed to know what I should avoid. An entire sexual revolution swirled around me, giving not thought at all to my existence, yet it was I, I, who madly sought it. My curriculum was carefully curated so that I might be informed, but still avoid the rising tide of desire. Too much information would no doubt trigger the awakening of the wanton sexual temptress hell bent on besmirching my family name with gonorrhea and out-of-wedlock children that ignorance had allowed to lay dormant. I dubbed my sexual curiosity my white whale — an obsession that consumed every waking moment I spent away from the Bible or Knight Rider, sure to lead to my undoing. I had to use context clues for everything else. I asked my parents where babies came from when I was six. They gave me a splendidly clinical “a-man’s-sperm-meets-a-woman’s-egg” spiel. “How? They rub stomachs or something? Does he feed it to her?” It wasn’t until a year …

Nina Lorez Collins with her dog

TueNight 10: Nina Lorez Collins

Nina is the founder of a social platform and website for women over 40 called the Woolfer, as well as the co-host of a podcast, Raging Gracefully, author of a funny book on aging called What Would Virginia Woolf Do And Other Questions I Ask Myself As I Attempt To Age Without Apology, and the manager of the literary estate of her late mother, the filmmaker & writer Kathleen Collins…
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Black woman in a barren darkened room, looking out of a window

A Freedom Song for Black Women

Black women are like flowers in a field of kudzu. Beautiful, bright and colorful, we fight our way to the light so we are not overcome by society’s demands that climb and shade, smother and constrict our true selves. There are so many ways to be Black and so many ways to be a woman.  Oh, to throw our arms wide and embrace the expansiveness of Black womanhood!  Hundreds of years of misogynoir* — misogyny directed at Black women — have made that harder than it should be, though. Slavers insisted our foremothers were bestial, fractious and over-sexed natural-born servants. They said so in order to commodify our gifts and shame the ones who loved us.  Good White America told Black women we are emancipated, yet still believes what the men and women, who once held our chains, said about us: Too hard. Too mad. Too untameable. Too loose. Too ugly. Too far from fine womanhood. Too contrary to whiteness. After years of terror and trauma and brainwashing, Good Black America believes some of these …

Lift Every Voice And Sing: A Q&A with Activist and Singer Abby Dobson

In this January 31, 2017 interview,  shortly after the Women’s March, journalist Angela Bronner Helm spoke with activist and singer Abby Dobson about protest, the persistent disconnect between women of different races and backgrounds, and the importance of amplifying Black women’s voices. In Abby’s words, we find powerful insights and calls to action that are relevant and necessary right now. The night before Donald Trump’s inauguration, two black feminist icons — Alice Walker and Angela Davis — spoke at the annual Peace Ball in Washington, D.C. offering two key messages about the intersection of art and activism. Walker revealed that the creation of art was one of her five tools of resistance. Davis noted that right now, “We need art, we need music, we need poetry.” Davis and Walker both understand the healing power of art, especially for women who feel under assault under the current administration. Jamaican-born Abby Dobson is a vocalist who carries with her both the activism of Angela and the art of Alice in her song. Dobson says she uses her gifts …

Two Old Friends on Growing Up Black and White in Lincoln, Nebraska

(Photo courtesy of Sara Gilliam) A few weeks before the 2016 election, we shared a conversation about race between Sara, a white woman, and Eric, a Black man, who had grown up as neighbors in Lincoln, Nebraska. In light of the many race-related horrors that have transpired since the election, including the present moment, we reached out to Sara and Eric to find out what’s on their minds. Their original conversation follows this update. What’s changed for me since we worked on this interview is that I no longer question my role in the movement. Years ago, I remember asking Eric, “Should I be posting ‘Black Lives Matter’ on social media?” I was afraid of co-opting the fight. I wanted to be respectful of the movement and acknowledge my privilege. I’ve learned a lot in the last few years. I recognize that to deal with the cranked-up racism and xenophobia perpetuated by the Trump presidency (but certainly by no means limited to rhetoric from the White House), we all have a significant role to play …

TueNight Live is Tonight! Get Tix

Hey TueNighters! Please join us 6/16 at 8pm for a fabulous night of interactive fun, stories and music for our first virtual TueNight Live! For those who haven’t been to one of our events in NYC now is your chance.  For this virtual edition our theme is High Anxiety and we’re turning things into an old-school, interactive variety show with storytellers, musicians and more on Crowdcast. Join host, Margit Detweiler and friends for an evening of fun, chat and true stories. Our guests include: Jill Sobule  — singer songwriter Tara Phillips  — writer, My Year on Mombbatical, educator, executive coach Kat Kinsman  — author, Hi Anxiety; Senior Editor Food and Wine. Robin Gelfenbien  — storyteller, founder Yum’s The Word storytelling  All proceeds will go the The Loveland Foundation, which provides therapy and healing support to Black women & girls. We hope to see you there! Margit

Depression in the Time of COVID-19 and a Lifetime Before

I’m afraid of my bed. When I landed in a major depressive episode at the end of last October, bed wasn’t exactly a choice. My legs suddenly grew heavy. Bed called as if I were being suctioned toward it. Although there was nowhere in particular I wanted to be, just anywhere else, I felt scared there. Bed was a place my chronically depressed father had always favored. Because I didn’t want to be majorly, chronically depressed like him, bed became a Rubicon. And I crossed it. From bed, I listened to the sounds of life being lived out of bed, beyond my room. Cars, the early morning train at six, runners, kids parading to and from school buses, and sometimes the cacophony my household made while I couldn’t connect with it during those weeks. The autumn air grew thinner and the leaves fell and were swept away. Far outside earshot, I understood people were busy. They were getting book contracts, getting new jobs, going to classes, going to work. I wasn’t. I could barely crawl …

Baldwin & Baguettes: A Mother’s Burden at a Distance

The worn cotton fibers of Emmanuel’s hoodie rubbed gently against my cheek when he went in for a final hug. “I love you, Mom”. “I love you too, Boo. I’m so glad I got to see you.” I marveled at the immensity of his shoulders and chest as he enveloped me in his arms. My baby boy had grown so big. Those moments —  his tender little arms wrapped around my neck and later, my legs — were long behind us. After a flurry of goodbyes between me and Emmanuel’s father, Raliegh, I stepped out into the brisk San Francisco air. This was my first official visit to their cozy little home, back in February, and I left with the reassurance that all was okay.  A year and a half prior, I had officially handed Emmanuel off to Raliegh. We decided it was his turn to do the heavy lifting of parenting while I made a life for myself in Paris — a move I made from Brooklyn. It was a major transition for all …

Self Care Tips When You Are Utterly Devastated

Watch Karrie’s video below. Shortly after the 2016 election, astrologer and wellness guide Karrie Myers Taylor penned this essay to address our collective post-election blues. And here we are, not four years later, utterly devastated again by the manifestations of white supremacy that are woven into the fabric of this country. We’re thankful for Karrie’s tips, but sure as hell wish we didn’t need them. Practice forgiving… yourself: Trump did not become President because you didn’t know enough or didn’t do enough about the presidential campaign.  Learn how to forgive yourself and move on.  Here’s a great book to get you started: How To Forgive Ourselves Totally: Begin Again by Breaking Free from Past Mistakes Turn off negative media: Choose two media sites that you trust and only read those.  Quietly stop following the Facebook feeds of friends and family who are sharing inciting media on their pages. Medicinal baths & body brushes: Take 30 minutes a week to soak in a steaming hot bath to get some clarity.  Add some magnesium flakes and essential oil, and be sure to …

Roller Boogie: My Pandemic Security Blanket

One of my earliest pandemic projects was to clean out my desk alcove, which I often refer to as “the Dorian Gray of my apartment,” because it’s where I stash anything and everything I don’t want to see. The depth of that mess is no exaggeration or hyperbole, as evidenced by me finding – while cleaning and organizing – a DVD that I failed to return to the rental place at least 15 years ago (I’d been juggling a full-time day job and part-time graduate night school and apparently couldn’t be bothered).  It was the 1979 movie, Roller Boogie.  My first reaction to that discovery was a mildly upset and anxious, “Ooops.” Which was quickly followed by my second reaction: “Oh, HELL yes.” That night, I popped the DVD into my old laptop, and, like something out of an Olivia Newton-John song from a different roller-skating movie, it was pure magic. Because despite being here, now, in the ominous gloom of 2020, sheltering-in-place alone in my Brooklyn apartment while the global Coronavirus pandemic grimly ravaged …

Elana Frankel

TueNight 10: Elana Frankel

Elana is a founder (indigonandhaze.com); author and writer (Women and Weed, the book); Editor in Chief (Women and Weed, the magazine). She’s worked for One Kings Lane (creative director), Architectural Digest, Martha Stewart Living, The New York Times, WSJ/Off Duty, New York Magazine and Oprah (to name a few). She also teaches yoga and meditation.
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Wenderella: A Gen-X Fairytale of Viruses and Princesses

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful middle-aged woman named Wendi. Or Wenderella, as she called herself one night after she took a lot of cold medicine and watched RuPaul’s Drag Race. Wenderella lived in a far-off, foreign land called TEXAS in a big, big castle. More specifically, a single-story house in a cul-de-sac that was a little too tame for her liking, but whatever, the school district’s good. Not everybody needs to be Carrie Bradshaw. Wenderella ruled her queendom along with her dashing husband and two strong teenage sons. There were also a couple cats and a white dog you may have seen on Instagram. But they were a happy family because they didn’t see each other very often. They frequently did something called “going places.” All was well. All was good. Until one day when everything changed.  “Hear ye, hear ye! There’s an evil disease afoot!” Wenderella’s husband proclaimed to the family. “We must stay inside our castle, or we shall perish!” Why did she order so many rice cakes on Instacart? …

I’m Willing to Dye for Normalcy

I haven’t worn makeup in 34 days. Or pants, for that matter. Since my family and I decamped from our New York City apartment to our upstate home, I wake up every day and slip on one of the two pairs of black leggings I have with me, and one of two stretched-out sports bras. Apparently, when packing for a pandemic, it’s smarter to bring an assortment of workout clothes than it is to bring cute sweaters. Those sweaters, along with a couple of pairs of jeans, remain folded in my duffel bag, next to the flat iron I thought I might use.  Use for what? To make my rooty hair look better as I trudge between my kitchen and garbage shed for the hundredth time? Or sit across a silent breakfast table from my shell-shocked family who could care less how I, or they, look? I was never much one for elaborate beauty routines but my regimen has now been reduced to face splashing and teeth brushing. Last night I tweezed my eyebrows for …

TueNight 10: Sulyn Silber

Age: 52 Quick bio: Sulyn has been a personal trainer for 20 years and a massage therapist for 14. She has recently moved from NYC to Denver to spend more time in nature, and more specifically, in the mountains. During the Covid-19 pandemic, as a professional who relies on in-person workouts, she switched up her business to offer customized virtual personal training sessions. She mixes her simple DIY workouts with a badass personalized playlist from her days as a DJ.  Beyond the Bio:  “Turning 50 was huge. I found more confidence in my daily life and I wasn’t afraid to ruffle feathers, but I also realized that I had the power to defuse situations. Part of this comes from my daily meditation practice, which started in 2014, and from endless hours of talk therapy. Being in my 5th decade on this planet, I live life as fully as I can, each and every day. And I try to find kindness in moments that may have eluded me in my younger days.” What makes you a grown-ass lady?  “Being …

What Our Country Has Lost With Corona We’ve Lost Before

I wrote this poem in 2001, just days after 9/11, when I was 25 years old and living in Brooklyn. Reading it now, at 43, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am experiencing similar feelings of grief, anger, suspicion, confusion about what this means for our civil rights, and yes, fear of going to war once the dust settles (because let’s be honest, the U.S. cannot let ineptitude go unpunished, even when its our own). The reason I want to share this poem now is because I know that fear and turning a blind eye to injustice increased exponentially in the decade following 9/11, and I’m hoping that doesn’t happen this time around.  “A Matter of Gray” Questions have come to visit mea life led carelessly is hard to organizeprioritize, re-schedule, pencil inagain. I spent those first days looking for clues, conducting my own “investigation”unraveling global maps gone dusty to find the jagged, colored section with which to drop my rageI placed a push-pin there like people dowhen they have visited a place… or hope toas if …