Authenticity

Another Thorn, Another Rose (Mental Illness as a Blessing)

I fight against harm perpetrated both by the myth of the Strong Black Woman and the stigma my culture attaches to mental illness every day. Since 1619, America nurtures me to mute my emotions, my pain, and my fear.

Breaking

I’ve had my share of youthful indiscretions. (Mom, please exit here and look at some of my baby pictures instead.) Not least among these was that time in college when my roommate Marie and I finished finals early. The cumulative stress from the completed semester was palpable. So we let loose like any other restless […]

The Stories We Make Up

Mutual friends said we’d get along, this new friend of mine and I. They recognized our common interests and desire to go deep. Plus, we were both mired in the mess of transition, looking for new connections, longing for rootedness here. We chatted over coffee and discovered our mutual friends were right—we did hit it […]

5 Ways to Make it through Covid-19 Still Married

It’s easy to neglect our spouses during the crazy that is COVID-19. Join Ashley Hales as she suggests 5 ways to stay married. They’re gentle reminders to lovingly tend and care for your spouse and marriage. 

Couplehood & COVID-19 Perfect Together?

It’s been 3 weeks. Maybe it’s been 4. Living in the shadow of NYC where My Beloved and I have plied our trades for the majority of our careers, we are currently sheltered-in-place. The good news is we are both safe. The good news is we are fully engaged each day, so as not to […]

Autocorrect Me

“On plane with temporary wife.” This is the text my husband almost sent, seconds before takeoff and a 13-hour communication vacuum. He caught autocorrect just in time. Lucky for him, or he would have found his earthly belongings strewn across our driveway as a welcome home. Wi-Fi to Wife is not much of a semantic […]

Women, Existing and Singing

It’s day 9,348 of COVID-19 panic and last night, I read a story from Shar Walker* about her grandmother and a gospel song. Shar writes,  I can picture my grandmother swaying to the hum of a popular gospel song, “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” eyes closed and soft rocking. I knew she was drawing […]

A Beautiful Tapestry of Women Rising Together

You’d think she was a celebrity, the way I watched her from across the room. I tried to work up the nerve to speak to her but the taste of salt in the back of my throat gave me pause. I didn’t want to embarrass her and I didn’t want to cry. But I wanted […]

She is Valor

Tell me your brush with greatness. How often have we danced around this one—in ice-breakers, job interviews, admissions essays? Predictability aside, it’s an intriguing litmus test. This was the first speech I assigned students in my Public Speaking & Discussion course. Because, really, who doesn’t want to stand in front of a college classroom of […]

It’s Back. Period.

I used to curl up on the bathroom floor the day my period started. I wanted the cool hardness to counter my writhing body, and I’d lay there for hours, uninterested in books or television, until the pain calmed. The blood and the discomfort seemed unjust then, and now, for me, and especially for women […]

Epiphany: Learn to Do Less

Sabbath, rest, learning to do less requires trust. It requires faith that declares today is not all we have, this is not the end, and better-rested means better equipped.

Unrequited Horse 

I wanted a horse. I wanted a lot of things and I never reached for them. I wanted to study in Mexico for a semester (too much effort?). I wanted to switch majors and train orcas and dolphins at Sea World (this was before Blackfish). I wanted to win a debate trophy.  When I was […]