Friday Lunch! Weekly Blog

Altering Perception as Survival in 2020’s Era

In today’s world of screens, scrolling and endless information, it is hard to not feel overwhelmed. Having access to global news is daunting as it is and adding “fake news” to the chaos of information extends the complexity of comprehension. After three years of bipartisan war in America, I do not like the fact that I have in many ways shut down. Diplomacy seems more like sensationalist theatre.[…]

defining ableism

“A Quality, Good Life” —Defining Ableism and What It Means to Be Human

It took me ages to graduate with my bachelor’s degree — eight years to be exact. I kept changing my major, I took some time off, and I could only afford to go part-time for a while. All this to say, I had quite a bit of work experience by the time I graduated, so when I saw a job listing for “Marketing Director” at a small nonprofit, I jumped on board. It didn’t really matter to me what I would be marketing for.[…]

Why American Dirt Matters to All of Us

My friends and I are still reeling from the news of American Dirt, that pinche novel written by Jeanine Cummins, rolled out by Flatiron Books as the next Grapes of Wrath, and then chosen as the January selection of 2020 by Oprah’s Book Club. People all over the world are buying American Dirt, reading it, and declaring it to be an “eye-opening” piece of literature.[…]

keychains

For The Kids Who Can’t Find Their Names on Keychains

One day, when I was little, I slid into my mother’s room and interrupted what was possibly a well earned nap. I told her I wanted a new name, a better name, something easy to pronounce
and where I didn’t have a nickname that people deliberately would say wrong.[…]

Permutations of Love

I. Lester is a beautiful Bernese mountain dog who stops traffic—literally. People pull their cars over to ask about him. He’s been in commercials. As a result of living in Los Angeles, he knows how to find the craft services table at any film shoot and charm a Teamster into giving him bacon; as a result of having been raised in New York City, he knows how to wait at the curb for car service. He has a big vocabulary and a well-trained owner (me). He used to be a solid 125 pounds, but he’s down to a skinny 105 as a result of degenerative myelopathy—canine ALS—with which he was diagnosed in August of 2018[…]

Beautiful by Viigo

Lyrics Reconstructed: A Grief Mixtape

I. August evenings
Bring solemn warnings
To remember to kiss the ones you love goodnight[…]

Finding Our Similarities

Americans weren’t talking to each other. At least, that’s what the news was constantly saying. It was January 2017. Trump had just been inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States, and our country had never felt so polarized.[…]

What’s In a Name?

Our first grandchild was born at home, in a warm tub of water that soothed my daughter-in-law so much that she brought forth her first child without any pain medication. As soon as we heard, my husband, Mario, hugged and kissed me. I held his face and whispered, “We’re grandparents! Our lives will never again be the same.”[…]

My Quest For Magnetism

I feel so adult sometimes. Like I’m nailing it. Kick ass, beautiful apartment in a seriously expensive, glamorous, desired city? Got it. Fully supporting myself while chasing my dreams of being a professional writer, and pursuing an education that is life changing? You already know.[…]

Fire-Swallowing, Love Letters, and Other Dances with Death

I’m stalling in a secluded corner of the library on a Saturday afternoon. It’s quiet over here in the useless books section, and no one can see me with my scatter of printer paper and G2 pilot pens, readying myself to do something impossible and crazy. Something that involves two letters and saying goodbye to the love of my life.[…]

Shields Up, Red Alert, Incoming Climate Change

Humans learn to trust one another because they discovered the universe is bigger than our solar system and they positively adapted to change. It’s not impossible; the Star Trek convention I attended was a taste of what could be: all creeds, all nations, all colors living and working together for the greater good.[…]

The Next New Normal

Her older sister argued the value of humans, our light and our darkness, the beauty of Shakespeare, the positive contributions of Buddha and jazz. The nine-year-old held her dog close, unmoved. “I just think the planet might be better off without us.”[…]

Double Vision

The mirror may be a simple tool of glass and metal, but its simplicity belies its true magic: reflection. That reflection has the power to project, distort, and reveal multiple realities. And it is only through reflection that I came to understand that power lies not only […]

Before and Beyond the Moon

I recently read an article about Itaru Sasaki, a citizen of Japan, whose cousin died in 2010. A designer by trade, Sasaki erected a glass-paneled phone booth on his hilltop garden, and placed a disconnected black rotary phone inside. Every time Sasaki missed his deceased cousin, he went to the phone booth and called him.[…]

Health Well Fit

But soon the frustration congealed around my ignorance starts to melt, giving way to hope. An education about my body and the proper care of it—one I’ve always wanted and never known how to access—has suddenly appeared before me in the shape of a big-hearted personal trainer.[…]

Admissions: Part II

It made me giddy to think that sixteen-year-old me was furious by the time I got home. I wish I could remember that drive, the transition from fear to fury. I wish I could see my face transform as the new me was born, the one who would insist on seeing only female doctors, and who would imagine the violence I’d perpetrate against anyone who touched me without my permission.[…]

My Parents Didn’t Have a Personal Library

The idea that good and great writing is somehow innate pushes those who had the potential but aren’t properly trained to the sidelines. Everyone has potential, nobody is ever just born being great at the arts.[…]

Purple Poodle Skirt

It means I have to willingly pull back the curtain and expose the ugly parts of me. The part that ugly cries in my car, the part that stokes my deepest darkest fears, the me I work hard not to let the world see. And maybe I just feel ugly in those moments, weak and bare revealing the parts I don’t want seen, because then I’d have to truly admit they’re mine. I’m supposed to turn a cheek to those hurtful moments, to prove how strong a woman I am in the face of pain.[…]

How J. Cole Taught Me To Love Minez

It could have been easy to forget that I got out of breath walking the few feet from my car to my job every day, or that I was already in the largest size clothing my local plus size store sold. Then I discovered J. Cole—”I hope one day you hear me…you ain’t never gon’ be happy til you love yourz.” I let his lyrics run on repeat in my mind instead of doing what I always do: quitting on myself.[…]

Mover’s Guide: How to pack up a house (and not lose your mind)

Moving can be daunting. Relocation anxiety is real, especially if you’re hoofing it alone. But, fear not, we’re here to help with a few simple steps. Let’s get started.[…]

Body Love: A Group Blog

Ten writers on what they love about their bodies.[…]

Remember Raw Oysters?

Often I wondered how food could let him forget himself and when I asked him, he said it was probably because they grew up together, in a three-story house on Brooklyn’s Avenue J, in the midst of the Great Depression. The circumstances of his upbringing didn’t allow him to think about what he wanted, to eat or to become, he had simply: to eat and to become.[…]

Orange is the New… Metamorphosis

At twenty, I should have been educated on how to avoid this road, but instead I dove into the forbidden territory, eyes as bright and wide as my eager grin, expecting my skull not to ricochet against the asphalt. When the rest of my graduating class was having the time of their lives, I was tangled so deep into this web that I became a cocoon of drugs, control, and misery. What kind of butterfly could possibly emerge out of that? […]

The Lottery

Moving to a better school district would mean leaving behind a community where seeing Black leaders, business owners, and even law enforcement, is commonplace for my child. And in the current political climate, it means exposing her to a much higher likelihood of overt racism, on top of the well-documented racial disparities that have long plagued Black students. […]

Open Your Mouth (Silence Won’t Save You)

Silence was a luxury I couldn’t afford as a little girl. It’s a luxury that no little Black girl can afford, really. I learned quickly that I either fought with my words or fought with my hands. Sometimes, if called for, I fought with both. Being loud was an act of reclamation, saying, “You’re going to look and listen to me. You’re going to hear […]

Five Myths: A Daughter’s Guide to Surviving (your mother’s) Stroke

The day your mother has a stroke, you have to admit you know almost nothing.It starts when you receive a text from your sister that lights up your phone in the darkness of a movie theater: Mom is in the hospital. […]

Looking Toward My Reflection

My words held up a mirror and exhibited the same qualities she’d always instilled in me, one last time. Two weeks later, she let go. She found that bravery I’d asked her to, our bravery. Her last lesson to me was how to love myself again […]

When You Have NPC Parents and No Cheat Codes

This whole situation was like trying to find all the hidden items of Zelda. Can’t you enjoy the game without discovering all the secrets? Not for me. To truly know myself, to be able to successfully walk through my life, I had to understand my parents’ programming.[…]

Admissions: Part 1

I was 16. It was fall of my senior year, and I was applying to colleges. But I knew where I wanted to go. For most of my life, I’d lived down the street from my dream school, an ivy-covered university that loomed large in my consciousness. My father was affiliated with it, and it played a central role in my family’s life—we went there for plays, exhibits, sports events. I’d even dressed up on Halloween as the school’s star football player when I was a kid. I was sure this university was my destiny […]

Julian

Shame defined my womanhood, then motherhood when I gave birth to my first son two years later. The vessel in me expanded and shrunk, carved and bubbled, carrying the scars, my past becoming my present: a hysterectomy.[…]