My unconventional journey to living my dream.

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

I am a writer. It’s an uncomfortable sentence for me to say when I’m asked what I do for a living. Part of me still can’t believe it’s true, much less trying to convince other people. This is the career I’ve dreamed of having since I was eight years old. Believe me, I never imagined this would happen, especially not to me.

The truth is that I’m a high-school dropout. I only attended through eleventh grade, when my mother told me to turn in all my school books and get a job. It wasn’t completely her fault I dropped out. I’d been skipping classes every day due to my extreme anxiety. Trying to hide and control it was exhausting, and my solution was not to show up at all. Those were in the days before Prozac, back when nobody admitted to anxiety or depression. …

Finding compassion in the age of cancel culture

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Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

In her book, “Captive,” Catherine Oxenberg tells the story of how she saved her daughter, India, from the NXIVM cult. Its leader was Keith Raniere, who lived in Clifton Park, New York, and ran a sex-trafficking cult where his followers participated and recruited other women to do the same. Keith brainwashed the women slowly, some of them just girls, until they were left with no sense of self anymore. They were totally devoted to him at the expense of their families and friends and the life they once knew.

Ms. Oxenberg wrote that it took India years to recover from the cult once she’d gotten out. It wasn’t as easy as just forgetting about what happened to her. Every minute of her life had been scheduled by Keith Raniere for so long that she didn’t know how to manage on her own. Everything she believed in was tied to the cult and, once free, she had no idea who she was as a person. Her mind had been completely taken over, and she acted, as Oxenberg describes, like a “robot.” …

Keeping it together while the country is falling apart.

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Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

It’s hard to know how to feel in the days of COVID-19 and mob violence. We see the pandemic numbers of the infected and dead every time we turn on the news. The numbers keep going up so fast that nobody has time to process it. I feel numbed out yet heartbroken for those who died, but I can’t bring myself to cry yet. I’ve been fortunate that COVID-19 hasn’t touched most of my friends and family members. …

The one that lives in all of us

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Photo by Camille Minouflet on Unsplash

Dear Little G.,

I see you in your class at school. You’re near the corner, slightly away from the other kids. The loneliness on your face tells me how uncomfortable you are. You wish you could be at home with your mom and dad watching TV. I know you feel so different from other children. There just aren’t words for what it is yet.

Come sit by me. Tell me what makes you so sad. I know you don’t think you can trust anyone, but I promise you can trust me. …

How I’m putting my life back together

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Photo by Gabriel Nunes on Unsplash

My first official brush with mental illness happened on the day I gave birth to my first son. The delivery itself had been tough as my son’s shoulder popped out along with his head. I was left with a fourth-degree tear that my obstetrician needed to repair before I could leave the delivery room.

“Glenna, scoot down here!” my doctor demanded. “If you don’t, you’re going to bleed to death.”

I scooted back down. A kind nurse gave me a shot of Stadol so I wouldn’t mind the procedure. …

Remembering the women who helped shape my life

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Photo by Huha Inc. on Unsplash

As a kid, my favorite part about spending the night at friends’ houses was the challenge to make their mothers love me. I was determined to be the perfect young lady. Never once did I complain about the food or talk too much or disobey their rules. As a result, I was always invited to come back and be part of my friends’ families for a little while, but it was really the mothers who made me want to come over.

Their houses always smelled fantastic like they’d been baking all day. The mothers helped the children with homework. Everyone got along and actually seemed to like each other. I made sure I was funny and talkative and not shy like most of the time. I loved the way the families were relaxed, never walking on eggshells, just living in peace and harmony. …

Can anything be good in 2020?

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Photo by Jung Ho Park on Unsplash

Christmas has always been my jam. I love everything about it. From the Starbucks gingerbread lattes to the twinkling lights and eating candy canes while watching A Charlie Brown Christmas, I am here for ALL of it. Having a happy Christmas with the people that love me is all that matters in the month of December, but this year just feels different.

It’s hard to think of presents while there are people being evicted from their homes all over the country. Thinking of a big Christmas dinner is difficult when people are waiting in line for four hours for a box of food. I can’t envision my family around me when there are so many empty chairs of lost loved ones in the world. …

So much for fairytale endings.

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Photo by DJ Johnson on Unsplash

On a hot summer night in 1985, my then-boyfriend gave me a birthday present that I thought would change my life. He handed me a box with a red bow on top, and inside were tickets to the Prince concert in Miami for the Purple Rain tour. I nearly fainted at the sight.

It wasn’t just that I was obsessed with Prince himself. I also loved his style and his music and everything about him. Anytime my friends and I went to Blockbuster (an ancient video rental store), I always wanted to rent Purple Rain. The movie didn’t have a whole lot of plot, but the performances were so amazing that it didn’t matter. I started wearing long jackets and black boots everywhere I went. …

When I was a young girl, I loved a boy, but not the way he wanted.

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Photo by Anton Darius on Unsplash

The first thing I loved about this boy was his sense of humor. He was hilarious and quick-witted. His teasing was never mean but always good-natured. I could talk to him for hours about everything on my mind, and he always listened intently and wanted to know more. He thought I was hysterical, too, and that made me like him even more.

The boy protected me, not just physically but also my feelings. He was the first boy I knew who made sure he was on the outside when we were walking down the street. All the women in his family adored him because he protected them, too, but could also sit down and gossip with the best of them. I always heard laughter at his house, which made the absence in mine all too glaring. The boy showed me his invention of spaghetti sandwiches, which seemed brilliant in a humble sort of way. …

Getting healthy with the Ingalls family

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Photo Credit: Wonders in the Dark/

My first burst of anxiety normally hits around 9:00 a.m. every day. It’s the time where I have to start making decisions on how to manage my day. I find this an overwhelming process. Do I write in the morning or in the afternoon? When should I wash the dishes? What about my shower? Before I know it, my brain is racing and my heart is pounding. If I’m not careful, I’ll work myself into a panic attack where nothing gets done at all.

I didn’t go looking for the Little House On The Prairie show. It happened to pop up on my phone one day while scrolling. Of course, I loved the show growing up like most little kids. I remembered a few of the episodes by heart: the one where Laura loses her horse, Bunny, to Nellie Oleson, the one where the blind school burns down, even the one where Albert has leukemia and comes home to die in Walnut Grove. One would think the show would upset me with all the sad stories, but instead, every episode calms me down and fills up my heart. …


Glenna Gill

My memoir, “When I Was Lost,” is available now. Stay in touch with me at

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