I sat there on another workday when, instead of doing what I was supposed to be doing, I opened Instagram, seeking an update from the married man I'd been obsessing over for years. I checked his social media daily and also kept up with his beautiful, accomplished new wife, her thick chestnut hair and sparkling career. I browsed their feeds so frequently that I knew practically everything about them: their latest work as successful artists, their cute novelty pet, cocktails around town with fabulous friends. I zoomed in on their facial expressions to prove to myself that they really were happier than me. The man was no ex or close friend. I didn’t really know him though I felt as if I did.
When I moved from New York City to Santa Cruz, California a decade ago, I spotted surfboards atop cars all over town. Their owners rode them in the cold Pacific Ocean beneath dramatic cliffs.
I spent most of my time trying to recreate my former big-literary-city existence (dimly-lit cafe to write in, readings and workshops, a teaching job). I knew I wasn’t in Kansas—ie, Manhattan—anymore. But if someone had told me I would soon acquiesce to the local culture of the small, laid-back locale known as the Central Coast’s “Surf City,” that I, too, would pick up the habit, I would have laughed. In my thirties, how would I even learn?
On the verge of turning 40, all my habits felt ingrained. So I was surprised when, late last February, I became vegan one morning, following an intuitive stab out of the ether. It made no sense, not yet, and Joaquin Phoenix’s viral Oscar speech was still a year into the future, but I’d promised myself to always follow my instincts after, 10 years prior, that little voice within had attempted to warn me to hide my laptop before leaving my apartment.
I don't like him,” my mother said. I had called her from the train after visiting my long-distance boyfriend of eight months in Boston. I wanted to tell her how hard I had fallen for him, a man I had gone to college with but didn’t know then. We met at our 10-year reunion and immediately connected. He was moving to Brooklyn to live with me. I was thrilled, but my mother insisted it was a mistake.
My ex-husband is gay, and I knew it when I married him. We were only 23, at the start of our promising careers, but he, alas, was at the end of his student visa. So I married Rickie to keep him from being sent back to his gay-intolerant Muslim homeland, where he'd have to live a life of lies, secrecy and fear.
What a summer in kid-friendly Brazil taught me about parenting in the U.S. - Washington Post
It all started with a toilet.
My husband and I wove our 3-year-old, our baby and all their accompanying gear through crowds in the Sao Paulo airport, searching for a bathroom while narrowly avoiding collisions as we pleaded desculpa (sorry) to fellow travelers. I was about to beeline to the ladies’ room when we spotted our holy grail: a family bathroom. As the door clicked shut behind us, I stopped short, transfixed by the toilet.
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I was on the couch breast-feeding my newborn second child when her older sibling snuggled up close and asked, “Mama, can I have some mau, too?”
She is almost 4 — she can say “milk,” and she does — but milk comes from a supermarket, while “mau” is the much more personal, magic elixir only mama can provide. During my pregnancy, “‘mau’ went on holiday.” (She’s a casualty of the #PeppaEffect, children who pick up a British lilt from watching the cartoon “Peppa Pig.”)
I see the clutter, the child-detritus, on every surface in every room of my house and immediately need to take deep yogic cleansing breaths. Our kitchen table features chewed-up remains of an apple and a peach, a box of walkie-talkies, a doll’s hat, a half-eaten bag of vegan cheddar square crackers, a school art project, a cup full of flower petals and leaves. The counter displays books, scissors, a rock collection set, art supplies. Living room couch: a toy piano, fidget spinner, doctor kit, board book, dumped-out contents of containers of crayons and markers. I’ll stop there because you get the idea.
My intro to surfing in Santa Cruz came a few months after I moved, in early 2013. My husband’s friend took me to the beginner-friendly break with long, peeling, gentle waves. You can see the pier and hear sea lions barking. In the summer, screams from the boardwalk thrill-rides echo in the distance.
I was nervous. I loved swimming, loved the ocean. But I didn’t know what to do with the giant board, where to sit, how or when to paddle, or what constituted a desirable wave. I’d see whitewater coming my way and panic.
I walked into the darkened auditorium of the conference center at nine in the morning, with my baby girl Olivia strapped to my chest in her wrap. Linda Gray of Dallas was speaking to a large audience of women. I stood at the back of the room with Olivia, while my friend Angela, who had come to the conference to help with Olivia, went to find a place where we could set up for the day ahead. Olivia made a few baby peeps in her wrap, and I ducked out of the room behind someone else who was to take a call on her ringing phone.
Tne night, when my husband Jason and I were in the earliest stages of our courtship — which, since we lived in different states, took place over Skype — we found ourselves talking about potbelly pigs. We’d succumbed to the pastime of browsing cute animal photos, and together, on our respective screens, ended up looking at pig pictures. When I joked about getting one of our own, Jason said, “We could name him Señor Bacon.” It was as if he’d flipped a pig-switch I hadn’t known existed in my brain.
“I hope you know you just made this a real thing,” I said.
I wish I could say I started exercising for myself, but as with many things, I did it for a guy. He was a helicopter pilot, and he had once been an expert in the Brazilian martial art of capoeira. I lived down the street from a capoeira academy, so I vaguely knew what it was (a mysterious mix of dance, fighting and acrobatics). But despite years of overhearing call-and-response singing pouring from the studio's windows, I'd never been curious about what went on in there. Until I met the pilot.
That's how I acted with men. If a guy was interested in something, I got interested, too. My high school boyfriend was into the Pixies and existentialist literature, and I still own every Pixies album...
"My ex-wife got remarried fast," Andy said the night I met him at our ten-year college reunion. “I’m that guy in the crappy romantic comedy ‘Good Luck Chuck,’ where every woman goes on to find the love of her life right after him.”
“I don’t believe it,” I said.
“I was born with bad luck,” he said. “If something bad can happen, it happens to me.” That night, Andy and I learned we’d gone to college together but hadn’t known each other. At a potentially awkward reunion karaoke session, he belted James’s “Laid” like a professional rock star.
When my father was born, he was strapped to a board so his spine would grow straight. He claimed it was a common practice in rural Italy in the 40s. Thirty-six years later, my mother spotted a handsome man — standing upright, working in a ship’s kitchen. She was 24, traveling through Italy, vivacious and speaking the language fluently. They married after three months and moved in with her American Jewish family in Seattle. Italy was utopia to my mother, so she worked at its consulate. My father waited on tables.
Even at 6 years old, I sensed some tension. He was always talking about opening a restaurant of his own but never took action. ...
WHEN I first moved to an inconspicuous block where Chelsea meets the meatpacking district, an old-timer reached out to welcome me to the neighborhood -- in his own way.
"Hello, beautiful," he catcalled. "Are you Persian?"
I get this question so often, I wondered whether my family had hidden the truth from me about my adoption from a Tehran orphanage.
"I'm Italian," I answered.
He leaned out the window of his rickety steel coffee cart. He was around 40, with smooth, tan skin.
"Can I offer you anything?" he asked with a wink.
That nice gay roommate of yours. What's his name again?" my mother asked over the phone.
"Emir," I said, though I'd told her before.
"When I get there I'm taking you both out to a nice dinner."
My mother's generous offer to dine at a restaurant Emir and I couldn't otherwise afford would not typically have been cause for a panicked frenzy, but things had changed. The night before she landed in L.A., Emir and I scurried around our two-bedroom apartment like squirrels preparing for winter. We buried banking paperwork bearing both our names, photographs of us with the red-suited Elvis impersonator ...
Unlawfully Wedded Wife - Psychology Today
"I don't know how to tell you this," said Razi. "I have to go home." At first I didn't understand what he meant. He was my best friend and he'd come to my West Hollywood apartment for a Sex and the City marathon.
"You forgot something?" I asked.