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Nonfiction

If you are coming here via HuffPo, welcome! This piece is linked because it provides a partial origin story to my anxiety. If this doesn’t quite resonate, feel free to check out “Confessions of an Almost-Abuser” as it more directly addresses PTSD and its source. If you are looking for something more positive, check out “She Could Love Herself.  *** As the media machine shines its unrelenting spotlight into the personal life of yet one more victim, the internet scrambles to separate itself into a frenzy of individual voices, although

When night breaks into the house, it crashes directly through my ribs and pours in the memories of when we were children on a dusty road that lead nowhere. Nostalgia expands in my body until I heave with tears and hope and longing that you will reach for me as I reach for you, my sisters and brothers. Reach for me with the life we shared like blood, and the field we trampled to the pond, and the dogs on the porch that I hedged around nervously as you laughed,

I have written and buried multiple posts in the last few weeks. It’s hard to know what work  to shop around versus what to press here. As I listen for the muse and follow the silence, more words come. More pain comes. I sit with it and work with it and grow. My discovery? I have a lot to say on a topic I thought I was done with. I admit it. I was reading the news. Ferguson reminded me of what I have worked so hard to change in

One of the ways I defined myself in middle school was writing timed, rhymed poetry on a topic chosen by a peer. Me classmates considered it something of a superpower- a handy party trick I could pull out at a moment’s notice, often using the topic itself as an acronym that began each line. They would then take a copy of the poem for themselves, sometimes even place bets on whether or not I could complete a piece, say, on leprechauns in three minutes. I earned my fair share of

As expected, my public confessions of abuse resulted in an emotional barrage akin to a hurricane. The response was so swift and fierce that I was left breathless. It arrived via text message and frantic, tear-and-shallow-breath-filled phone calls. I read. I listened. I paused. Were the allegations true? Was I an emotionally unstable child in a woman’s body acting unfairly? Were my experiences the manufacture of an overactive imagination, my admissions false and vindictive? The accusations battered me. I shed my own tears, but I remembered my goals, assessed whether

*This post was contributed by my sister-in-law, Cheryl Ainslie-Waldman, who now has a PhD in Nutrition from University of Minnesota, back in 2009. It appeared on a blog Jehanzeb Dar and I co-published called Islam on My Side (now someone else’s blog). I like to repost this every year because the information is important, especially during a summer fast! Cheryl recommends increasing your liquid intake this year as the days are hot and long. Pay attention to that third paragraph for some tips on caffeine and juice intake while fasting.

I’m big on plans and lists. I like to plot out my day the night before. I plan my meals a week at a time. While my house is often a mess or I’m behind on chores, I have my ways of staying comfortably organized. However, for the last two weeks, nothing in life has gone as planned. My “simple procedure” to help ease the misery of repeat infections, excessive bleeding and other menstrual-related pain managed to amplify all of those problems to the point that I have had to

Dear Elaine, You won’t see this, but hello. I miss you on your fasting days with a McMuffin tucked in your bag of supplements because you were going to live forever God-willing-inshallah. Three days without food and you still answered the phones cheerfully and printed every email for the files you had me make sense of one summer nine dollars an hour and copies on the machine in a room with one window sealed shut and no air because it used to be a closet. I miss you, Elaine, your

I was in a conversation the other day in which a friend was mentioned. She is in poor general health, struggling with chronic fatigue and a host of other pain issues. I was speaking with her mother, asking after her and expressing a wish for ease in her life. Her mother said, “I don’t know why she has these problems. Her father and I don’t have any of them.” Okay. I can roll with that. But I know this person fairly well. Enough to love her. And I know she

It took me ten years to work up the courage to write about my childhood. In that time, I explored every field except nonfiction, earning an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) with a thesis my husband describes as “stories in which girls don’t act quite the way they should”. Fiction was a safety net-a space where I could address my sexual, physical and emotional fears without honestly admitting to them. During workshops of my short stories, I often felt personally attacked as my writing was critiqued. While my peers were

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