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Los Angeles dwelling. Writer for Invisible Illness, The Ascent, Scribe. Lover of personal essays, poetry, nonfiction, and gnitty-gritty realness.

We have to start somewhere, and it can only get easier

Recently, a friend said something to me that felt like truth bombs deploying in my head. “Confidence is a muscle… You have to exercise it.”

In some ways, this was revelatory, a true light bulb moment. In other ways, I kind of wanted to slap her across the face. I used to be someone who flinched in disgust and resistance when I heard that word. Confidence. Barf.

It inexplicably triggered me. People with confidence were assholes. People with confidence were conceited. People with confidence were a threat to someone like me who lacked it entirely.

I stopped for a moment…

Life lessons from an almost 30 year old

It’s finally happening. I’m turning 30 next week.

Anyone I know who has already experienced it, assures me that turning 30 was the best thing to happen to them. They tell me that this is when life really begins. This is when the good stuff starts happening. They tell me that the uncertainties of my 20’s will melt away and I will be born anew… or at least something to that effect. I’d like to believe them. After all, navigating my 20’s was accompanied by a dark cloud of insecurities that made it difficult to see the path ahead.


The complications of grieving the loss of an addict

Grief is complex. It’s not one-size-fits-all. There is no secret to how to navigate it and we all must do so in our own way, at our own pace, in our own time.

Grieving the loss of an addict is a beast all its own. It feels like an entirely different kind of loss. There is so much we think we could have said or done, even when we know that in reality there wasn’t. It’s what makes addiction so impossible to defeat.

My therapist recently said to me of addiction, “No one wins in alcoholism.” I didn’t like the…

How I ended up associated with America’s most dangerous cult at age 13

Trauma is tricky. It can be easy to avoid but also painfully difficult to hide from.

It’s elusive. It’s also icky. It sticks to us like tar trapped to the bottoms of our feet, only visible when we choose to look but omnipresent just the same. It is a hot air balloon of confusion and shame that threatens to remove us from our current reality. Sometimes we are fooled into thinking we can outrun it, or perhaps outgrow it. I certainly convinced myself of that as a teenager.

Here’s the thing… there are a lot of us.

Tens of thousands, though I am not familiar with the firm statistics…

Yearning for what was and is no longer

Nostalgia kicks me hard
Like a blow to the stomach
Unexpected, unapologetic
Memories unfurl
As floodgates are opened to a universe
I’ve considered to be obsolete
And even the air
Has this sickeningly familiar feeling
The way it slaps my face
Like an invitation
To remember the things
I’ve longed to forget
The person I thought I was
The imagined woman I would soon become
Have I become her?
I honestly don’t know. …

I am incubating in my own skin

Learning how to lean in

To resistance

Taking my own reticence

As a hint to push beyond

My make-believe boundaries

To trust that teachable moments

Await me

Outside my comfort zone

Complacency has never been

The cure for me

Though an alluring temptress

It threatens to seduce me constantly

A constriction in my throat

A contraction in my gut

Surrendering is key

To see what lies outside

Of what I know

And it’s so futile

To only dip one toe

The water awaits

To be penetrated by

My entire being.

It’s strange
To look up at a sky
Smothered in shades
Of strawberry
Smeared against a tapestry hung
Across a latent space
That is strikingly familiar
To the ones I’ve grown accustom to
But somehow unnervingly foreign
The shades we know
Fading to a flurry
Of shapes and hues
The dust of the past settles
The same way the sun
Is swallowed by the sky
Its presence no longer necessary
The same question
Relentlessly presents itself
The answer always out of reach
A solution as distant and desolate
As the desert
Far away
Arms reaching
Won’t stretch far enough
To pacify this yearning.

Hi, my name is Candice, and I’m the daughter of an alcoholic

I am the kind of person that when I receive a phone call from my boss, I panic. I instantly assume the worst has happened or that they are angry with me or that I am fired etc. My entire body tenses and I brace myself for impact. This is just who I am. It’s something I know about myself and have never bothered to question.

I am also the kind of person who is incredibly hard on myself. My self-esteem has struggled to stay out of the gutter of my psyche for many years. Again, this is just something…

Every day feels like we are approaching the apocalypse. Flying into the future at unimaginable speeds. A comet racing toward nothingness. Shooting through the sky, hurling itself through space. Only to eventually implode inside of itself. A ball of fiery fury… here, and then gone.

Anxiety is served with a side of hope. It flanks my fears. It accompanies me through the quiet darkness. It offers a reprieve from the overwhelming speeds it seems as though the earth is spinning. I am dizzy and disoriented by the destruction that seemingly surrounds me.

But still, there is hope. Without which I…

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