I moved to Afghanistan in January of 2007, the first chance I got, fresh out of grad school. I studied public health and learned that every 28 minutes a woman in Afghanistan dies in childbirth. And doing something about that felt like the most important thing. I had recently left a career in the Air Force because I didn’t believe in war. And I didn’t want to be in the air. I wanted to be on the ground, with the people who needed our help.
I was passionate about purpose — and thought I had found mine. …
The first time I came home from Afghanistan, I had been warned that going to the grocery store might be overwhelming.
It was the Mayo that did me in.
I stood there in the fluorescent lights, staring at an entire shelf of clean, neatly organized mayonnaise choices. Frozen with indecision. Consternating over the vegan or maybe the avocado — or should I go with the classic Hellman’s? Swept away as if it actually mattered.
And I just didn’t understand, why do we need so much?
This week, as the Taliban took control of the Government in Kabul — I drove…
I’ve found myself responding to other writers about the word alcoholic a lot lately. So much so that I decided to consolidate my responses into this piece, and I welcome your comments.
If you identify as an alcoholic, I assume that’s because it helps you in ways I don’t (yet) understand — and I celebrate you. I celebrate everything that helps anyone live with more joy and greater health — and I know there isn’t only one way to do that. …
He called at 7 pm on March 12th. I had just put the kids in the bath. It was an odd time for my friend’s husband to call from the East Coast, so I answered with a pit in my stomach.
“Meg, do you have a minute to talk?”
“Ya, let me make sure Scott can cover the kids. What’s up?”
“We got the autopsy. She died of a toxic consumption of alcohol.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means her blood alcohol volume was 4.0 and she probably asphyxiated.”
The world shut down on March 13th, 2020, which made sense…
I was trying to get out of the backseat of my mom’s Volvo station wagon. My too-big L.L Bean backpack was stuck in the too-small opening between the door and the seat. The thick heat of our musty garage against my plaid uniform felt like stepping into a panic attack. I wanted to get out of there, but I was still struggling with my bag. And I must have been talking about something. I don’t remember what. …
“We are beings who are at the nexus of the dreams of our ancestors and the memory of our descendants”
— Dr. Angel Acosta
“Is there anything you want to talk about before…” and I hear the tears well up in her eyes. Quickly composing herself with her distinctly shallow, hard breath. My best friend from childhood said firmly, “Think about what you want to talk about because this is the last chance you will get.”
“I want to interview him for my book,” I said before we got off the phone.
My dad was anxious as he rounded us…
It’s not that I confused you with love — it’s that you were part of my experience of being loved.
When he came into my room to wake me up. And he hugged me, and I hugged him back and said, “I wish it could always be like this.” I was also saying, please don’t go. Stay sober, please. I feel scared when it’s not like this.
I can see that now.
Now I know it was the Beefeater dry gin leaving his body that called me a bitch. It wasn’t him, it was you.
I know he didn’t mind…
When I was 18, I ran up and down hills wearing heavy, stiff boots, singing songs, and carrying a 7-pound rubber rifle. I was in basic training, and they ran us until our legs stopped working — so we took turns carrying each other. We put our heads down and pushed the limp body in front of us by their web belt.
On my first day, I heard someone getting yelled at in the hallway. I ran and squeezed myself between the yelling faces, and my classmate.
The yelling faces were delighted at my loyalty and tried to hide their…
In my twenties, I always seemed to have a little extra space.
Even my bra used to wrinkle where it now flexes.
But now, there is just your little big belly.
Your belly that wakes up hungry for oranges.
Your belly that won’t stop asking until it is satisfied.
And thank God.
Because I ached for your belly.
For years, and years, and years.
And I think we all have aches.
I think these aches are our engines.
Mostly I think we are afraid to feel them. For fear, they will swallow us whole.
And I suppose they do swallow us…