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Hipster. Hooligan. Writer. Wanderer.
Photo by Giovanni Moschini on Unsplash

Have you ever had a Greek woman cook for you? Heaven can be found in a ripe tomato in the right hands. Sitting at a worn and faded kitchen table with a cool breeze blowing through, pushing the fresh herbs slowly across the counter, she had me roughly chop onions while our hands talked more than our mouths. Breaking off a small leaf, she waved the mint in front of my face to smell. Mundane moments become magical when you are invited into them.

Whenever I hear someone say white people can’t cook well or white people don’t know how…

This Is Us

When you think the problem is the answer, you’re helpless to solve it

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“You have to call it what it is before you can tackle it.”

Those words repeat in my thoughts, bounce around my skull, and buzz under my skin. “But I don’t know what it is.”

“Okay. Describe again how you’ve been feeling the past month?”

“Tired, sluggish. My life just feels monotonous, so I’m bored and restless. I can’t focus on my class assignments, like at all, which is new for me. I keep not being able to sleep, so I feel like I’m moving underwater the next day. I used to love school. I just don’t care about it…

Being Dragged, Kicking and Screaming, into Embracing Change

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I love structure. As much as I try to be hip and flexible, to just go with the goddamn flow, I’m wired differently. I like routines, schedules, and knowing what’s coming down the pipeline. I get the same thrill from new planners that I do from old books. I’m not the tragically creative night-owl writer a few of my internet peeps have suspected. I’m the introverted version of that perky, morning person you want to slap.

After a discussion of the creation of a trauma-based mental health care plan for the students in my local district in January, a friend…

On The Nature of Time and What It Means to Live

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Time is predictable. Constant and cyclical. We’re born, we live, we die. For most of our history, this didn’t surprise us. Humans lived by the sun and the seasons. We recognized that the sunrise and the sunset were the same entity. We didn’t just smell the flowers. We planted seeds, watched them germinate, tended them as they grew, and saw them wilt and decay. Over and over. Birth, Life, Death. We were intimately acquainted with all three.

In the early 21st century, we set out to define and standardize that cycle. We measured it, and created notches and signposts throughout…

Loving A Country That Does Not Love Me Back

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

There’s an essay in my drafts folder that’s six years old. Currently, it’s about an 11-min read with one page of citations. It’s one of the pieces I return to, every few months or so, to jot down a few observations. Stray thoughts. When I started it, I told myself I wouldn’t publish it off the cuff. Couldn’t edit it when I was angry. Or depressed. No, this piece would be polished. No weak spots where a person could set tenterhooks and stretch the meaning until the flesh tore. …

Those Small, Heartwarming Moments Aren’t Actually Good Signs.

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“You don’t know him like I know him” is a phrase I dread hearing. The thing is, I understand where it comes from. To live with abuse, most of the time, you have to make it livable. Frame it in a way that lets you see it positively or with a positive outcome. Your parents raised you right not took away your autonomy or boundaries. Your partner yells because they’re passionate not because they’re a dick. Your friend constantly makes jokes as part of who they are not to put you down in every conversation ya’ll have.

Hearing someone voice…

Pain Doesn’t Give Me The Right To Be a Jerk

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Thanks. You’ll make a great mom!”

The compliment grates in my brain, and I grit my teeth. On the inside, of course. Sweet girls don’t grimace. The sticky-syrup feeling of pushing down my emotions does not slide as easily down my throat as it has in the past. A good seven months of soul-searing honesty does not pair well with this image of me she has as a nice, Christian girl. My laugh startles her.

I don’t want to be a mom. I’m the quirky village aunt, and I like that just fine.”

She smiles indulgingly, pats my arm, and…

How Public Education Failed All of Us

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“The first time I read a book by a Latina author, I was in college. The wind in my chest stood up. It had been 18 long years of textbooks filled with everything but me. For the first time, my body knew a world that could hold it. The quickest way to silence a mouth is to treat it as if none had come before.”-Denice Frohman

The burning of the world has always been preceded by the burning of books. The Qin Dynasty destroyed both books and scholars. Indigenous peoples lost their land and their written stories when America was…

On Chasing Nothing, Letting Go of Everything, and Finding Self

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I pace like a ghost around my living room in the dark. The music’s stopped playing. The books don’t hit the same. I’ve watched all the Netflix I can stand. The conversations are draining. The tea’s gone cold. It’s 10:36pm and I should be sleeping, but my mind and my body can’t quite get on the same page these days. Either I’m physically exhausted and mentally wired or physically present but mentally absent. Knew this was coming, but there’s no way to brace for a tsunami when all you’ve got is a small dinghy and a quiet hope. …

Photo by Eric Muhr on Unsplash

“Do you know where you’ll go when you die?” is a bizarre question I asked complete strangers regularly as a young child. While I no longer agree with the intended point (you can go to heaven) or the delivery (an 8-year-old should not be proselytizing), I still believe in the underlying sentiment. That every human should have the chance to die in peace.

Cultural death rituals have always fascinated me. Elephants revisit sites where one has died and grieve. Humans might sing, sit shiva, pour alcohol out, or place rocks on a gravestone. We’re appalled when graves are tampered with…

Miyah Byrd

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