Some positive thoughts for the Fall 2020 semester

We are all well aware of the enormous losses associated with COVID-19. The following sentiment is in no way an attempt to downplay the devastation, but rather an attempt to remain hopeful and focused on the light that inevitably comes at the end of a long, dark tunnel.

By now you’re equally sick of hearing, “when things get back to normal” as you are “this is the new normal!”. I find a more realistic middle ground with, “this is what’s happening right now, and obviously I cannot predict the future, but I can adapt to the present”.

This is a great time to show how prospective employers how versatile you are

One major step…


I didn’t think coming out as non-binary would be a very big deal. Basically, I had been this way my whole life, and now there was a pronoun to describe my identity. It seemed pretty straightforward to me.

Nothing about me changed. The world around me changed. It grew and matured and started recognizing the nuance between gender and sex, between assignment and identity, and redeveloped the language to better describe the spectrum that we all exist on.

I was relieved to escape the slippery slope of the “I’m not like other girls” mentality and ill-fitting terms like “tomboy”. …


You were my family and community, my home. You were members of the same doomsday, fundamentalist cult I was.

photo credit: my partner ❤

I don’t need to name you. You know who you are. But for those who are confused, I would like to bring light to your faces — to talk to you and anyone interested about your decision to exclude me from your lives. To “shun” me.

Who are you? You are my mother, my brother, my step-father. You are also my ‘second family’, and my closest friends. You are the people that watched me grow up, or grew up along side me.

You were my family and community, my home. …


Photo credit: self, circa 2015, NYC

She was a 19 year old honors student and a Kinesiology major in the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She was raped and strangled to death in my university’s parking garage last weekend because she injured a man’s ego by ignoring his cat-calls.

I read her assailant’s name somewhere, but I don’t want to remember it. He is in custody, and has confessed to the horrible act. I know he won’t get the help he needs. The system has already failed him, and especially Ruth — he was released from prison last year…


photoshopped by me from free images/no attribution rescissory

I often write about things that piss me off; injustices I can’t ignore or causes I think need attention, or just things I wish people would think differently about. Today I’m not doing any of that (mostly). Instead, I’m going to tell you how your readership and interaction is affecting my life.

In previous stories, I’ve mentioned that I was back in college after a 13 year gap. That gap was filled with escaping a cult, surviving abusive relationships, self-discovery, and freeing myself of cult mentality — including the idea that education is a waste of time.

Now, I have…


Conditional love is not real love. I think if I were to write an escape manual for people who grew up in cults, I would start with that line.

❤my partner took this photo of me carrying my cat around on our deck❤

I think it’s important that people know how destructive and abusive many mainstream religions are, and that everyone be better aware of the dangers of extremist thinking in all applications. In my case, these realizations came after leaving the Jehovah’s Witnesses, but this type of control and manipulation can be found in many cults, and is an experience I have in common with many of my ex-Scientologist friends, ex-Mormon friends, etc.

What is equally important, if not more so, is that people know how stunningly gorgeous life on the other side of a highly controlling group can be.

Most of…


image credit: self

I had an ego death

I was born again

no god above

no devil within

I put down those childish things

untethered the lead from my collar

faith pacifies the weak

while logic soothes the scholar

I embraced the unflinching universe

gave way to unyielding forces

I watched entropy lead the apocalypse

racing toward the sun with all four horses

to the stars where our atoms were born

to the celestial kilns that forged us

our fate is becoming the elements

our fate is returning to dust


Photo manipulation credit: self, ‘post-it-note’ png courtesy of wikimedia commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Post-it-note-transparent.png

It’s not all the time, but once in a while someone will write or say “ragging on” in my presence. My first reaction is to ask them, “do you even know what ‘ragging on’ means?”. Never once has someone answered ‘yes’.

Colloquially, ‘ragging on’ means to scold or tease someone, usually for a prolonged period of time. Many people think of it as a more politically correct or gender sensitive alternative to the phrase ‘nagging on’ or ‘bitching’, but it’s not.

The origins of the terminology actually date back to before the rise in popularity and availability of sanitary products…


I’ve learned that vulnerability is a part of any healthy relationship, and it’s integral to building trust.

photo credit self, lake Michigan

I hate to admit that I have a problem with jealousy or fear of abandonment, and admitting I’ve struggled with both is downright embarrassing. The good news is, it’s (mostly) under control and it’s something I get better at managing every day.

I say managing because I don’t think it’s something that ever really goes away. I think it’s something you learn to accept as part of your emotional spectrum, but try not to let it motivate any of your actions. Jealousy is something you have to sit with. …


I have a brother I rarely talk about anymore. He was one of my closest friends growing up, but now I’m not welcome in his home. I don’t even know my nieces birthdays.

image credit self

My brother, Joey, is five and a half years older than me. That’s not his real name, but that’s what everyone called him growing up. He goes by something more formal now, I think.

Joey is brilliant, sensitive, and generous to a fault. Or, at least he was when we were younger. What he is now is frightening to me.

We grew up in a broken home that shifted beneath our feet in the wake of my mother’s impulsiveness. Our oldest brother was trying to escape from as far back as I can remember. I was six years old the…

Jenée

They/them. Pissin' off the good ole boys since 1985. Cult survivor, activist, and bioengineering student.

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