Dear Portia: Do I forgive my church family, or speak up?

Dear Portia, Several years ago, our family got involved in fostering children with significant medical needs. The nudge to do so came from the teachings of our church…to love God and to love people. But, the very church family who encouraged us to jump in did not throw the life-preserver we expected. Fostering got hard. […]

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, […]

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 […]

How I Went from Stinginess to Simplicity

The other day, my husband caught me darning my underwear. The pair had a hole near my hip. They’re a few years old, so I had thought about tossing them, but pulled out my needle and thread instead. This frugality runs in my blood. My mom grew up poor, her mother was a child of […]

When “Career” Is a Messy, Beautiful Chaos

When I was twenty, I got a Rotary scholarship to go study literature at the University of Buenos Aires for a year. At the time, I only knew was that UBA was a public university with an excellent reputation. Later, I’d encounter its chaos: professors who chain-smoked without ashtrays in class, roving political party members soliciting […]

Revelation is Not a Guarantee

For a three-month stretch when I was seven or eight, I tried to learn how to pray. When I couldn’t sleep, I’d pull a children’s prayer book down from the shelf and move it to the crack of light that shone in from the hallway. I opened it up to the Lord’s Prayer and read […]

Our Favorite Posts of 2015

Last week we gave you the most-viewed posts of 2015, according to the WordPress stats algorithm. This week we are getting a little more personal. These are the posts that we feel represent us individually more than any number of page views ever could. Maybe it’s the one that resonated the most, measured by the […]