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What happens when the diet everyone says will work for you . . . doesn’t? Over the last two years I have developed a careful relationship with food. I’ve had to give up gluten and dairy (originally in order to recover from constant respiratory infections). This means no processed foods for the most part. I also consume vastly less sugar. It’s quite a change from my carb-heavy (and weighty) days of yore. I lost 100 lbs and five dress sizes. There have been other profound changes. If you’d like to

I woke up this morning to find a pitch rejection in my inbox. This was happy because the rejection was expected, but not within four hours of submission. I expected to wait 2-3 weeks for any response. I can’t take the immediate rejection as an insult because, while the pitched piece is strong, the essay walks just over the line of what this magazine publishes. I was well aware of that, having done my research first by reading their published pieces. What I said to myself was, “It can be

Three years ago, I sat in my therapist’s office with my face in my hands. I wanted to look anywhere but at her because she was looking at me, she was waiting for me to release whatever had me wound up and fidgeting. “I’ve been reading the news,” I finally said. Our sessions often opened with a long silence followed by me trying to connect with her life, her as a person, her as someone who was not me. She drew her eyebrows together in concern. “How long has this been

On 9/11, my husband and I stood in our living room. The TV was on and I remember trying to turn my body to force my eyes to look away. The second plane hit. My husband’s hand covered his mouth. He felt too far away. I couldn’t move closer. One of us was saying, “Those people. All the people. Why would anyone do this?” At that time, we were learning to be practicing Muslims. I helped my university Muslim Student Union set up interfaith dinners where we sat with college students and

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.

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