Dear Portia: Annoyed, Irritated and Bored at Church

Dear Portia, I am annoyed and irritated and bored at church. My husband loves it, but to me, our church feels like a big show: entertainment, choir performance, giveaways, and a superficial sermon. How do I look past the trappings and experience a deeper relationship with God? If other people love church so much am […]

Dear Portia: I Had Sex…and then We Broke Up. Now What?

Dear Portia, I grew up in the heart of evangelical purity culture. When I was 13, my parents took me out to dinner and gave me a promise ring. Throughout high school and college, I heard boys would ask me to compromise my sexual standards. I was ready to tell them no, but no one ever […]

Is Masturbation Okay? . . . and Other Thorny Questions

The Mudroom is excited to be joining the likes of The Rumpus, the Chicago Tribune, and the Washington Post. We’re starting our very own advice column, “Dear Portia.” Every month, we’ll cover questions related to our monthly theme. First up is sex, sexuality, and singleness. Do you have questions about your sex life, about singleness, […]

When Empathy Led Me Astray

In my premarital class, our pastor had everyone take a Myers-Briggs assessment. When my husband and I both got our results, we smiled at each other: we were just one letter apart. He was an INTP (introvert, intuition, thinking, perceiving), and I was an INFP (feeling). It made sense. Similar as our temperaments are, there’s a […]

Learning to Love the Unity of My Body and Mind

I got migraines regularly as a kid. The pain would start as a pinch above my left eyebrow, travel to the back of my neck, and soon send out sparks of light into my vision, nausea into my belly, and, if I didn’t retreat to a dark room soon enough, puke onto our white carpet. […]

I’m Thankful for my Grief About the Election

It would be so much easier to bear a Trump presidency if I hadn’t learned about structural racism. Easier if I’d avoided stories from my black and brown friends about micro-aggressions, ignored history, police violence, and daily grief. Easier to stay positive if I hadn’t figured out exactly how sexual assault happened in my high […]

When the Word “Holidays” Stresses You Out

You know what my idea of a holiday is? A normal day. Laundry, hanging with my kids, and, by 9:30 pm, watching a murder mystery with my husband while I eat raisin bran. Even better: doing all that in slippers. Normal days are easy. On a normal day, I have a routine. I know what’s […]

Social Justice Is Awkward

I wanna be Anne Lamott. And NOT JUST because she’s a kick-ass writer. No: I covet her social-justice-beatnik-political leftist-protesting mojo. Lamott grew up with parents heavily invested in social justice. Her father volunteered at prisons, her mother marched in protests. This crap comes naturally to her. JEALOUS. When Lamott had her own kid, one of her first acts […]

Memory and the Miracle of Love

Do you ever worry you are not creating enough good memories with the people you love? I do: I wonder if my time with my kids is rich enough, or special enough. Wonder if I am intentional enough in cultivating friendships and sustaining bonds with my husband. And yet, sometimes, I think we worry too […]