All posts filed under: Popular

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 …

The Mazel Tov Slap: The Jewish Tradition You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

When I told my mother I got my period for the very first time, she slapped me across the face and shouted, “Mazel Tov!” It wasn’t a punishment slap — more like the way you’d slap a person who fainted, or something out of the Marx Brothers — and it didn’t feel violent. I don’t remember the moment in great detail, and I don’t remember it as something terrible that happened to me. I mostly remember knowing that it was part of long-standing tradition from shtetl times, passed down from Jewish mother to Jewish daughter, the purpose (supposedly) being to bring the color back to your face (because it’s all draining out through your vagina now!). It’s possible I even knew it was coming, that it was something we discussed in advance — probably with all of my female relatives! — as I eagerly awaited the big day. And yes, I so desperately wanted my period, because at 14, it felt like ALL OF MY FRIENDS had theirs, and I was on the outside of this magical …

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My Rock Bottom Came in a Pretty Dress and Heels

God bless the busted boat that brings us back.” — Jason Isbell, “New South Wales” Here’s what you should know about this do-over: Everything and nothing changed. In my 30s, I had everything I ever thought I wanted. I was a travel editor, catching planes and writing stories about the next great city or restaurant or artisanal cocktail. I had this fancy job, which I’d worked my entire life for, and a family and a home. But while I tweeted images of beach views and carefully plated food, I was also drinking a bottle or more of wine a night. Sometimes I passed out. Sometimes I couldn’t remember things, and I often had unexplainable bruises. By day, dressed in a pink shift dress and gold heels, I gave talks about nimble new media strategies. By night – it was another story. I drank to deal with my anxiety. I drank to deal with my physical limitations. I drank to deal with never “being enough.” I drank to slow my brain when I was enough. I …

That Time I Was Totally Naked On Stage

I don’t recall the first time I undressed on a stage. Probably college. Taking clothes off in the presence of others is not unusual for an actor; you do an onstage costume change with dim lighting between scenes or a love scene in which you unbutton your shirt until you’re left in your bra or, lordy knows, your character is arbitrarily described in some super sexy way and the costume designer has given you a skirt so short you can’t sit down without flashing the front row. Even if you don’t strip on stage, you certainly do behind the scenes. Every actor has done the lightening fast scene change that requires one stagehand to rip off your clothes, one to Velcro on your new outfit and one to swap your wigs — all while you’re holding your arms straight out, breathing deeply and switching dialects for your next character. There’s no time to worry about anything other than whether or not your underwear is clean. (Remind me to tell you about the time I unexpectedly …

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Ovarian Rhapsody: Side Effects, Unfiltered

Rock the Taxol. (Photo credit: Margit Detweiler/TueNight) I’m lying flat on the bed with just yoga pants on. My legs are propped up on a stack of pillows. I can’t muster enough energy to finish getting dressed this morning, so here I am, half nude. My mind wanders to that hilarious Bill Murray SNL skit about an out-of-shape Hercules and his bad back. “If I lie flat like this it will fix itself!” If only. My entire left side feels swollen and pricked with pins and needles — it’s probably neuropathy, a chemo side effect. Yet…  I can’t be sure if this is actual neuropathy or the fact that I have a recently developed a blood clot in my leg. Or that I now have a new toe infection because of the clot, because of the chemo, or because of surgery. Who knows. The icing on the cake? I have a cold so I’m coughing and hacking and sneezing out chunks of blood. The blood thinners I’m on, to combat the clot, make bleeding from any orifice …

Nice to Meet You, I Have Cancer

It was the first time I’d been out to a restaurant since having a cyst removed, and only a few days after learning I had ovarian cancer. > Insert record scratch sound here < Yeah, I know, I know. That’s some big news right there. But hold on, let me finish my lede… I’d spent the last week and a half recovering from surgery and, up until that November night, had been pretty much down for the count. A Percocet-induced haze of Broad City binge-watching and crushing fatigue. So by the time my friend Shelly came to Brooklyn for a visit, I was ready to shake up my bed-couch-bed routine and feel somewhat normal again. What I wasn’t quite ready for was having to share my big news with the outside world. We decided to go to a red booth and burger joint right around the corner from our apartment — a place where my husband and I were semi-regulars and would often sit at the bar and order dinner. I’d gotten to know Tommy the bartender a bit, a …

Songs We Worked Out To in the ’80s (If We Worked Out At All)

Aerobic Lady from Buns of Steel (Photo: YouTube) Back in the 1980s, working out wasn’t inextricably linked to music, the way it is today. There weren’t Zumba songs or “Jock Jams.” We didn’t listen to playlists oriented by BPMs. We didn’t have a handy, clippable iPod touch. Yes, we had our Sony Walkmans, but I had nightmares of trying to “jog” with that thing affixed to nylon shorts and watch it crash to the ground. While the ’80s saw the advent of aerobics, and Jane, and Olivia, of course, we did our jumping jacks to whatever music was bouncy. I remember taking a “dance fitness” class in 8th grade and my young teacher playing the Moody Blues “Tuesday Afternoon,” which we thought was the coolest thing ever, if completely inappropriate for Jazzercise. So we conducted a purely unscientific poll of friends, asking people what music they worked out to back then, and found a wide range of tunes — from the obvious to the obscure. We say, whatever moves you. Good For:  Aerobics 1.0  “Can You …

Big Moments in My Big-Breasted History

Overlooking Hanauma Bay in Hawaii, boobs and all. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Ha) Growing up in Florida in the ‘70s, everywhere I looked, boobs and bikinis. As my family was always at the pool or the beach, I just thought that bikinis were what most women wore, all the time. Laugh-In was on television, and seeing Goldie Hawn smiling and giggling in a red two-piece reinforced this. I was a tomboy and could have cared less what I wore. I did notice that boys, however, got away with wearing swim trunks (for reasons which eluded me). It all seemed so unfair. Of course karmically that meant that I would be blessed with that which I did not want: big boobs. My First I started to develop on the early side, and resisted bras for as long as I could. Finally, when I was about 10 years old, my mom trundled me off in the car to J.C. Penney in pursuit of the dreaded “training bra.” Mom took me first to Ladies’ Intimates to ask where to find bras …