4 Things I Want You to Know about Mental Illness

What Mental Illness Is Empty. Sometimes I just feel empty. My body is heavy with exhaustion so that my arm flops down to the table. It’s not even that I’m sad. Just, empty. Void of emotion. And honestly, I don’t care. Yeah, that’s depression. Tight. Often I feel tight. All my muscles are tense and […]

Dear Portia: How Do You Stay Sane with a Mentally Ill Person?

Dear Portia, How do you deal with toxic or mentally ill people who have harmful behaviors and stay sane? You have no choice but to deal with them—they’re your family or your boss. How do you get them to seek the help they need? Or, to understand they have an issue? JP Dear JP, I […]

The Waging and the Waiting

This essay is an excerpt from the anthology Soul Bare: Stories of Redemption published by Inter Varsity Press in August 2016. In 1977, my mother left my brothers and me with sitters to go looking for an apartment and didn’t return for days. When she finally did, after what most people considered a “lost weekend,” my […]

The Sexually Pregnant Mind

I see the curves of my breast and they please. I see the round of my rump and it entices. I see the button of my belly & giggle at its cuteness.   I rub the bulging bump that sustains my daughter it is tight but lovely.   My legs are thick pillars supporting the […]

Forty Three Steps

I didn’t want to see it again. I was quite happy letting my husband be the one who would let in the occasional handyman, plumber, or real estate agent. But this time, there were no other options, so it was me walking the 43 steps to the third floor of the vintage building where we […]

Cleaning Up the Mess

“Now, what?” I asked myself a few months ago. After years, consisting of very long days, of  family struggles with mental and medical conditions, the season began to change. At first, I dared not believe it. So many times, there had been brief glimpses of light as we forged through the darkness. But those moments […]

For When I Am Yearning

There is a bridal portrait, 8 ½x11 in a crackled frame that sits atop my husband’s dresser in our bedroom. In it, I am twenty years old, blonde hair, shock white smile, blue eyes glistening at the hope of the future. My veil spills out all around me and though I am covered in a […]

I’m Ready to Lighten the Heck Up

My first time in any serious therapy, my counselor told me I was depressed. I laughed. It was kind of high-pitched, as if someone had twisted a treble knob too tight. “I’m not depressed,” I tittered. “I’m the happiest person I know! I’m happy all the time!” Thinking back to my cockeyed optimism, I wince, […]

Offering the Best to God

I recently found out that my uterus is filled with tumors – benign tumors, but tumors nonetheless. I am one of many women who suffer with fibroids, a condition that is extremely prevalent among women of color. I am currently waiting for my six month check up to have a repeat ultrasound that will help […]

I Switched Husbands

I got off the plane and in the car with 6 other women, perfect strangers. I was in Nebraska, a state I’d never been before nor expected to ever go. I was there as the keynote speaker for the women’s retreat, Jumping Tandem. Given the nature of my previous three years, keynoting was also unexpected. […]

Straining for the Light

For a long time the threat of a new year brought with it an onslaught of more darkness, more enervating melancholy, more long, gray days ahead to suffer through. It was nothing to celebrate.  At the end of one of those especially difficult years I met Alece Ronzino online. She too had experienced a year (or more!) like […]

Coloring In Christmas With My Favorite Things

  Raindrops on rooftops and polka dot mittens Bright lights that flicker and Big Momma’s kitchen Brown chorus angels whose robes look like wings These are a few of my favorite things. Buttermilk cornbread and crisp chicken drumsticks Hotels with stairwells and greens that are handpicked Wildflowers that spread in dry deserts I’ve seen These […]