Pride in blackness

My husband is a black man. We’ve engaged in ongoing conversation about issues pertaining to race in the United States since our very first conversation on the subject. What you see below is a highly condensed version of one part of an ongoing, complicated discussion.


“Hon, can I ask you a question that will probably sound all kinds of ignorant? But that I really want to understand and I’d probably get crucified for asking anywhere else?”

“Sure,” my husband answered while continuing to tap away at his laptop keyboard.

“So … ” I fumbled for the words. “You remember … no, that’s not the right way to say this. OK, so I’m following a few young black leaders on social media. My feed right now is like a terrible accounting Read more…

On casting light and Christmas without her

On our first Christmas without her, one last Christmas tree at her house

On my first Christmas without Mom, one last Christmas tree at her house

I wrote “On your first Christmas without her” for a friend last year.

I was surprised when that post started turning up in searches more than a month ago. But Christmas is so far away!

As Christmas draws nearer, more and more people find that post with search terms like “first christmas without my mom” and “christmas without mom.” I’m no longer surprised that they’re searching now or that they were searching then, because … of course. This is the time of year when the resounding push toward collective joy can actually enhance the sense of isolation in grieving:

There they all are going about life as usual, expecting life to go on as usual, and here I am with no idea what “as usual” means anymore. 

I wrote last year’s post after a conversation with my then four-year-old son. This year, I see those search terms as the start of another conversation worth having a little earlier.

I’ve thought about grief a lot more since then. When my husband’s friend lost her baby a month ago, I thought about how people sometimes disappear from grievers’ lives after they realize they can’t fix grief. More than that, I thought about why. I finally understood that when people disappear during other’s grief, it usually reflects not callousness but a sense of powerlessness: Read more…

Not just the merry parts easily spoken

I routinely get emails for a couple other women named Deborah.

I don’t usually read more than a sentence or two of their emails. Once I realize I’m not the intended recipient for a letter, I shoot off a short note letting its sender know they’ve gotten the wrong Deborah. I’d like others to do the same so I can get my emails to their intended recipients.

Only once did I read the whole letter. 

Its sender forwarded a letter from his doctor. The opening explained that his doctor–who had become a friend–had urged him to open up about his cancer to his partner, his Deborah, Read more…

Once Sisters, now sisters

Sometimes it’s easy to miss the glory in small moments.

This afternoon, I saw one such moment for what it really was: the culmination of millions of choices made in very particular order to bring a tiny band of people together beneath the Los Angeles sun.

sparkly auntie

For one the two people pictured here, some of those choices included: Read more…

Meeting Anka

131221 FB post nathan

My most bittersweet journey to date was made with a friend I’d first known as a sequence of blinking green letters on a black screen.

In 1993, Nathan and I started chatting on local bulletin boards before meeting up in person and becoming in fast friends. In 2008, with many years of history between us, he drove me and my newborn son up to Oregon say goodbye to my dying mom.

Nathan was my first online friend to become an offline friend, but I’ve made many more in the 21 years since then. In fact, almost all of my Los Angeles friendships began as virtual ones.

Soon, there shall be better Mackorah pictures to share! (What, you really think "Bennifer" is better?)

Mackenzie and I met thanks to our affection for the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer; she has been a rock to me since almost the moment we met.

Maggie and I first blog-bonded over our common love of Gandalf before she introduced me to her high school girlfriends, who adopted me as one of their own; I thanked two of them in this shout-out to teachers.

It was Maggie who introduced me to my now husband shortly before I moved to Japan. My second son was born ten years to the day after that meeting.

To say I’m open to beginning friendships online is an understatement.  Read more…

DESTROY DENIAL. #EricGarner #ICantBreathe

Eric Garner, father of six, was choked to death last summer. 

As I wrote here, he “was choked to death by police for potential sale of untaxed cigarettes.”

Today a grand jury failed to indict the police officer who killed him. This is so despite the fact Eric’s death was filmed, or that choke holds had been banned in the jurisdiction since 1993.

Eleven times he said he couldn’t breathe. Eleven times he was ignored by someone who had likely surmised–from precedent long preceding Mike Brown–consequences would be few to none.

My ex-boyfriend was better with computers than people, which made him a better teacher than boyfriend in some ways.  Read more…

In which we sing, and kinda “Let It Go”

My husband and I owed our five-year-old’s teacher a Christmas version of “Let It Go.”

Today we worked through our first draft. Afterward, I sang it back to Anthony since he was driving.

We burst out laughing at the end result. I asked, “Five-year-olds won’t really care, right?” He answered by improvising increasingly more nonsensical variations of our song. My shoulders shook as I listened while slightly tweaking our first draft.

Once finished writing, I asked him to improvise one more version for the camera: Read more…


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