Modern Heroics & the Tragedy of the Beauty Movement

I grew up with a grandmother who had facial paralysis due to an advanced brain tumor a few years prior to my birth. She had had surgery that caused the left side of her face to droop, her eye to lose function and subsequently be sown shut to avoid visual disorientation as her ocular muscles attempted with futility to fight gravity. She always made jokes and referred to her appearance […]


Three-Legged Dogs in The Land of Want

I glanced down at the floor of my litter-strewn car, noticing not for the first time the photoshopped face of a realtor smiling up at me from a flyer advertising yet another apartment I couldn’t afford. I sighed, silently reminding myself that it was time to shovel the trash out of my car. I couldn’t be reminded every time drove anywhere that by Southern California standards, I was basically poor. […]


Records on Repeat

They were bad eggs. At least that’s what I told my family when they found the entire sheet cake I had just baked in the trash can. Obviously, I explained, I was looking out for their best interest and health, and so naturally if there was any question about the contents of that cake it just had to go. That wasn’t the first time they had found my food in […]


Since When is it Cool to be Aloof?

I trudged through the piling snow on the Ohio sidewalk, inwardly cursing myself for not wearing two pairs of socks. Luckily I was almost to the local coffee shop where I was to meet one of my long-time friends. It was our tradition to hole-up in the cozy atmosphere and catch one another up on life until there was nothing but cold dregs left in the bottom of ceramic cups. […]


What if I Make a Mistake?

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, hurdle! One, two, three four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen hurdle! Faster, faster, Coleen. I lengthened my stride, breathing in my nose and out my mouth. I rounded the home stretch of the 300 meter hurdles, taking the competition by just enough to gain about a stride lead. It was all I needed. […]


Skinny Won't Solve Your Problems.

Cameron Russell is a stunningly tall woman with shiny brunette hair cascading down her back. As a 16-year-old, she began traveling across the globe as an esteemed model. She lives a lifestyle of fashion and fame, and she frequently participates in luxury fashion shows and editorial shoots for Vogue. Cameron is lucky; if we were all as pretty as her, we would be so much happier. To be gorgeous means […]


Confessions of a Self-Doubter

Three weeks until the annual youth conference at my church. Three weeks to prepare lessons, deep discussions, service projects and notable scriptures. I’ve been teaching this young group of girls for the past five years, you would think I would have a better handle on it. I have a confession to make…I don’t. My head is pounding and my anxiety level is rising. I scour the internet, study my books […]


Vulnerability Remorse

I climbed into my car, sliding across the front seat and slamming the door simultaneously. It was a foggy evening and the marine layer that hung in the air over Pacific coastal towns had left its mark all over my car windshield. I sighed, turning the key in the ignition. I had fun… I think I had fun? No…I had fun. But then why did I feel so unsettled? Why […]


True Beauty

Throughout my entire middle school experience, I was the epitome of the definition of awkward. I was short, shy, and mildly overweight – not to mention those horrid braces. Gym class was pretty much awful for everyone involved. But the awfulness was especially true for those of us who weren’t exactly the athletic type. Teenage girls can be downright cruel when they want to be. When they see the chance […]


Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

A nosebleed helped me learn to love myself. How, you might ask? Well, first I have to give you some background. I was in 7th grade when two boys from my class messaged me to meet them because they “thought I was cute.” When I said no, because I didn’t really know them, I was bombarded with hate. Words like “ugly” and “fat” kept appearing in their little AIM bubbles. […]