Self

Creative professionals telling real stories about balance, mental health, or self-expression — with introspective, often funny, and always evocative results

Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland
The Ghost of Jimi Hendrix in Electric Ladyland

Near the House of Pot, sandwiched between an electric power station and a direct path to the local airport, the neighborhood I live in is a mix of working-class Asian immigrants, mostly Cambodian and Vietnamese, and long-time African American denizens. The only prophet to ever come out of this northwestern hub, Jimi Hendrix, shuffled through these parts as a latchkey kid.

Sexuality, Womanhood, and Power. Simone and Lorde.
They Don’t Have to Be Friends

There are these standards of friendship applied to kids that I think should be eradicated.

Sexuality, Womanhood, and Power. Simone and Lorde.
Toxic Femininity

Black men are supposed to be the ultimate image of strength and sex appeal. Linebackers and the Sexiest Man Alive. But, when is the linebacker allowed to cry? How does the Sexiest Man Alive express his honest insecurities about his image? For so many Black men, there’s no safe space to express this level of vulnerability.

Sexuality, Womanhood, and Power. Simone and Lorde.
More Sex, Less Playdates

On almost every TV show I watched growing up, the mother was always too tired for sex. Mothers would constantly shoo away their husbands’ flirts and affections. I am determined to understand the absurdity of the sexless mom.

Audre Lorde
The Plight and the Path: At the Intersection of Race and Gender

Black women have always fought for women’s liberation. As far back as the Suffragist movement, Black women have always rallied for equality of the sexes. But, Black feminists have always had to consider their plight in the fight, the intersection of their blackness and their womanness.

Sexuality, Womanhood, and Power. Simone and Lorde.
I’m Gonna Make A Mistake

I am a card-carrying member of the worry club. But I’m showing up in relationships as my whole self, flaws and all, and evolving outside the narrow margins of perfectionism brought on by the patriarchy.

The Moon, Desire, and the Pursuit of Joy

With music—as with many crafts—once you experience that first tremendously powerful time when something really clicks, the intrinsic and dynamic reward system can become intoxicating.

Ink wash by Nikita Gurnani
Airless

you photographed me
exposed, image of your arm
outstretched clenching my neck
squeezing cluster of wind where life
temporarily nestled

The Big Picture

A story about tapping into who you are and where you come from. What happens after we uproot? I was one of the 300,000 Romanians who emigrated in a wave following the political regime change in 1989.

A Letter to My Young Self

At eight years old, everything is alive, and everything deserves love and companionship, which, come to think of it, even at 37 years of age, still makes sense.

Star Rockets in Flight, Afternoon Delight

Is it possible to be delighted, almost mesmerized, by a red carton containing scoops and scoops of my favorite chocolate peanut butter dessert, Oregon’s very own Umpqua ice cream, and not feel as though the burden of guilt—maybe the most wasted emotion of all—has flipped into hyper gear?

The Most Unexpected of Gifts

When empathy is lost, what follows? What is the agenda? Perhaps, a steady march toward denigration and solidly placing the foot? The assumption of power surely is an unapologetic aphrodisiac.

Sexuality, Womanhood, and Power. Simone and Lorde.
Carnal Kissing

We sat on the edge of the bed, in darkness, unsure of ourselves or how to proceed. I looked at him, and he looked back. Moments later, my face was wet. It was over. I was confused. Had I been kissed?

Editor’s Note: The Miracle Of Delight

Journalists are telling story after story about the COVID crisis and the devastating government policies of the past four years. This media coverage is vital. And yet, we’re more than pain. The part of us that feels joy also needs representation. Space to grow. Here are essays and meditations about delight that are moving, vibrant, and necessary.

Notes on Living With Plants

Findings and observations from someone without a green thumb.

Acting Outside the Box

As I listen to very well-meaning white people discuss white supremacy and the reckoning they are having with their own bias, they often forget to mention the work they’re doing with their children.

America (Revisited)

I hopped on the cheapest flight from Los Angeles, California, to New York City, New York. I arrived with my Walkman, Simon and Garfunkel tapes, one suitcase, an old Apple computer tower, about $1,500 in cash, a place to crash, and a pocket full of promises and recommendations. All I needed.

Waiting for My Dad

The other night I sat with my guy and had the talk. The talk you never want to have. That final talk. That talk where he is no longer my guy and I am no longer his girl.

She Can’t Get Me Pregnant

I am a woman who was married to a woman. I am a divorced woman. I married a woman only my friends liked. I am a woman who spent five years in a marriage I thought would last a lifetime.